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No. 10 Clemson roughs up Duke 56-20

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No. 10 Clemson roughs up Duke 56-20

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Tajh Boyd threw for 344 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes for the second straight week to help No. 10 Clemson beat Duke 56-20 on Saturday night.

DeAndre Hopkins caught three of those TD tosses in the opening quarter for the Tigers (8-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who scored 42 points by halftime and rolled to their fifth straight win - all by at least 14 points. Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant also had first-half touchdown catches, helping Clemson rack up nearly 500 yards by halftime and 718 for the game.

The win moved Clemson into a tie with No. 9 Florida State atop the ACC's Atlantic Division, though the Seminoles beat the Tigers in September for the head-to-head tiebreaker in the division race to reach the ACC championship game.

The loss dropped Duke (6-4, 3-3) a game behind Miami for the Coastal Division lead.

Duke is already bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 and entered the week tied atop the Coastal with Miami and North Carolina, though the Tar Heels are ineligible for the division crown due to NCAA sanctions. That success had put the long-struggling Duke program in the unusual position of playing meaningful games in November, though some of that momentum has ebbed after a brutal two-game stretch.

First came last week's 48-7 loss at FSU. Then came Saturday night, with the Blue Devils managing more offensive success but finding no way to slow Boyd or the Clemson receivers sprinting downfield for big gains.

It was Duke's first loss in six games at Wallace Wade Stadium this season.

Boyd threw for a school-record 428 yards with five touchdown passes in an easy win at Wake Forest last week, then added another five TD passes by halftime against Duke. He also ran for a 21-yard score to give Clemson a 42-17 halftime lead, setting up the Tigers for a stress-free second half.

The Tigers played almost the entire game without Andre Ellington, the ACC's second-leading rusher. Ellington suffered an unspecified leg injury on a 26-yard carry on the game's first offensive play and didn't return. But it didn't matter with the Clemson passing attack humming so well.

Boyd hit Hopkins for a 5-yard touchdown 2 1/2 minutes in, then connected with him again over the middle for a 58-yard TD on a ball that slipped by the outstretched arm of top Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell for a 14-3 lead midway through the first.

Boyd and Hopkins connected again minutes later, this time for 45 yards out in a sign that Duke's secondary - featuring three players that had been named ACC defensive back of the week - was in for a long night. Boyd found Watkins for a 30-yard touchdown for a 28-10 lead with 16 seconds left in the first quarter, then found Bryant for a 41-yard TD midway through the second.

Boyd left the game late in the third quarter. Hopkins finished with four catches for 128 yards, reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the season while also setting the program record with his 22nd career touchdown catch.

Sean Renfree threw for 240 yards and a 77-yard scoring pass to Jamison Crowder for the Blue Devils, while Brandon Connette also had a touchdown pass..

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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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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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