Redskins

Nation's top 2 all-purpose outings come in losses

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Nation's top 2 all-purpose outings come in losses

The top two all-purpose performances in the nation were turned in on the same weekend - both in losses.

Tavon Austin of West Virginia piled up a Big 12-record 572 yards in a 50-49 defeat to Oklahoma and Tobais Palmer of North Carolina State amassed an Atlantic Coast Conference-record 496 in a 62-48 loss to Clemson.

Austin moved from slot receiver to running back to strengthen a Mountaineer ground game held under 100 yards three straight games. Safe to say, he did his job. Austin ran for a school-record 344 yards, bettering the 337 by Kay-Jay Harris against East Carolina in 2004.

His 572 all-purpose yards were 6 short of the FBS record set by Utah State's Emmett White against New Mexico State in 2000.

Austin also became the first player in West Virginia history to score a touchdown four different ways in one season. He's done it receiving, rushing and on kick and punt returns.

His all-purpose average went from 193.3 yards a game to 231.2, ranking him second in the nation behind Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews (241.3 ypg).

North Carolina State's Palmer had 277 yards on kickoff returns and caught seven passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

Palmer went into the game with an average of 113.4 all-purpose yards. His big game increased that figure to 148.2, 22nd-best in the nation.

STANFORD GROUND GOBBLER: A week after he became the first player in school history to record back-to-back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Stanford senior Stepfan Taylor ran for 161 yards in the Cardinal's 17-14 overtime win over Oregon. Taylor tied Toby Gerhart on the Cardinal's all-time list with his 20th 100-yard game. Taylor needs 8 yards to reach 4,000 yards in his career.

RECORD-SETTING KICKER: Florida State's Dustin Hopkins became the NCAA career record holder in points by kicking when he booted a 26-yard field goal against Maryland. Hopkins now has accounted for 448 points, nine more than previous record-holder Kyle Brotzman of Boise State (2007-10).

MR. TOUCHDOWN: Temple's Montel Harris more than doubled his season total for touchdowns and matched the nation's season high for TDs in a game by getting into the end zone seven times against Army. Stefphon Jefferson of Nevada scored seven touchdowns against Hawaii on Sept. 22. Before Saturday, Harris had a total of five touchdowns in his first nine games. His 355 yards rushing was the second-best performance in the nation this season, behind Ka'Deem Carey's 366-yard outing for Arizona against Colorado last week.

TOUGH AGAINST RUN: Florida International's defense turned in the best performance of the week against the run. Florida Atlantic netted minus-12 yards on 19 carries against the Panthers, who beat the Owls 34-24. FIU set a school record with the stingy run defense a week after allowing South Alabama to rush for 188 yards. The Panthers are 54th nationally against the run, allowing 153 yards a game.

SHIP-SHAPE QB: Zach Zulli passed for 469 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score to key Shippensburg's 58-20 win over Bloomsburg in the first round of the Division II playoffs. Shippensburg totaled 673 yards, 507 through the air, in its first playoff win since 1991.

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

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USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

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NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.