Capitals

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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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler