Murray pulling for Florida to help Georgia

Murray pulling for Florida to help Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Aaron Murray isn't asking Georgia fans to wear Florida's orange and blue on Saturday. He's not expecting to see Bulldogs fans doing the Gator chomp.

All the same, the quarterback said Georgia fans can cheer for Florida against South Carolina on Saturday, if only for that one day.

``I definitely am,'' Murray said.

Murray realizes No. 13 Georgia, which plays at Kentucky on Saturday night, needs help in the Southeastern Conference East Division race. Florida can provide that help.

Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) trails Florida and South Carolina in the division. The Bulldogs could move to the top of the East if Florida tops South Carolina while Georgia beats Kentucky and beats Florida next week.

Go Gators? Murray smiled at the suggestion.

``I think everyone has a free pass as a Georgia fan to root for them,'' Murray said. ``I'm not saying deck out in Florida gear but definitely we would be a little happier if they came out with a victory on Saturday.''

Georgia was off last week after its lopsided 35-7 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 6. The loss robbed Georgia of its ability to control its fate in the division.

``It definitely stinks we're not in the driver's seat right now and we definitely have a lot of work to do,'' Murray said. ``We have to make sure we win the remainder of our games. If we lose even one more, we have no shot of getting to Atlanta.''

The Bulldogs' hopes in the division were lifted when South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) lost to LSU last week. The Gamecocks would win a tie-breaker with Georgia if each team finishes with one conference loss.

Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC) is left as the only undefeated team in the East. Georgia plays Florida next week in Jacksonville. With a win next week, Georgia would win a tie-breaker with the Gators.

Coach Mark Richt has reminded his players the Bulldogs can still win the division.

Richt uses the 2011 season as a history lesson for his team. Georgia started last season 0-2, including a loss to South Carolina. It closed the regular season with 10 straight wins to advance to the SEC championship game, where it lost to LSU.

``We know we've got to play as if we do control our own destiny,'' Richt said Wednesday. ``If anything does break for us to put it back in our hands, we better be ready for that opportunity. We were there last year. We know what it felt like. We just knew we had to keep grinding and play hard. We had to keep winning. That's all we're trying to do right now.''

Richt doesn't want his team, which is favored by 27 1/2 points against Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC), looking ahead to the Florida game.

``We need to beat Kentucky right now,'' Richt said. ``That's really all I'm worried about right now, and then the next week we'll worry about that game.''

After playing Kentucky and Florida, Georgia closes its SEC schedule with games against Mississippi and Auburn.

When asked if his team is good enough to win the remainder of its conference games, Richt said ``We're a pretty good team, and we thought we could beat anyone we play when the season began, so that hasn't changed.''

Notes: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones may miss the game with a sprained right ankle. Jones, who leads the team with 5 1/2 sacks, was held out Wednesday for the third straight day. Freshman Jordan Jenkins could make his second start. He filled in against Florida Atlantic when Jones was held out with a groin injury. Jenkins has 3 sacks.

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John Carlson once again an All-Star snub


John Carlson once again an All-Star snub

The Capitals' Stanley Cup run may be even more remarkable than we thought considering there were zero all-stars on Washington's roster apparently.

As part of Wednesday's NHL Awards, the First and Second-Team All-Star rosters were released and not a single Capital made either team.

Here is a look at both teams:

In the interest of full disclosure, the All-Star Teams are voted on by members of the Pro Hockey Writers Association of which I am a member. I did not, however, have a vote for the All-Star rosters.

The first thought most Caps fans will have when looking at these teams is what about Alex Ovechkin?

I'm actually OK with Taylor Hall and Claude Giroux getting the nods at left wing.

Hall won the Hart Trophy for what he was able to accomplish in New Jersey in leading a team that looked like a trash heap before the season to a playoff berth. Compare the Devils' roster to the Caps' and there's no question Hall had a lot less to work with than Ovechkin and tallied 93 points as compared to Ovechkin's 87. Giroux finished second in the NHL with 102 points, one of only three players this season to finish in the triple digits. He very narrowly beat out Ovechkin for Second Team honors.

It was a coin flip and Ovechkin lost. That's not what Caps fans should be crying foul over. The fact that John Carlson was not among the four defensive all-stars is a far more egregious omission for which there is no excuse.

After inexplicably being excluded from the NHL All-Star Game in January, Carlson was snubbed once again as he came in fifth in the voting.

Just what does Carlson have to do to get some recognition?

No defenseman in the entire NHL had more points than Carlson's 68 this season. That's not just because of increased minutes as Carlson finished 13th among defensemen in ice time per game.

But being a good defenseman is not about the offensive stats.

That's right. Now go ahead and show me which of the four who finished ahead of Carlson was partnered with a rookie for most of the season. I'll wait.

The answer is none of them.

It's very easy now to look at the Capitals as a team that had all the pieces in place and managed to put it all together at the right time to go on a Cup run, but that's not what happened this season. Carlson was very heavily relied upon by the Capitals during the regular season when the blue line was an obvious weakness, especially after an injury forced Matt Niskanen out of the lineup for 14 games. Carlson was averaging nearly 30 minutes per game in Niskanen's absence. Carlson also spent the majority of the season with his primary partner being a rookie in Christian Djoos.

Charlie McAvoy was a rookie too. Does that mean Zdeno Chara should have been named an all-star?

A player like McAvoy is very much the exception, not the rule. Djoos has a bright future ahead of him, but his career is not yet at the same level as a player like McAvoy.

With all due respect to the voters, it seems like not enough attention was paid to what the Capitals asked of Carlson this season. His strong play on both ends of the ice made up for a weak defense that was only bolstered by a late trade for Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks just prior to the trade deadline.

If you looked at Carlson's stats and saw just an offensive specialist who was not strong enough in his own end to warrant an all-star spot, then you were not paying close enough attention to the role he played in Washington this season.


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Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

"It was nice," Trumbo said. "I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us."

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight."

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

"It happens. You can't do anything about the rain," manager Dave Martinez said. "You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

"One pitch. That was the whole game," Gonzalez lamented. "That was it."

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .