No. 10 Tigers travel to face Blue Devils

No. 10 Tigers travel to face Blue Devils

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Clemson entered the season hoping to win a second straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship. Time is running out for the 10th-ranked Tigers to make up lost ground in their division race.

Heading into Saturday night's trip to Duke, the Tigers (7-1, 4-1 ACC) haven't lost since falling 49-37 at Florida State on Sept. 22. They've won every game by at least 14 points and have had no trouble putting up big scoring totals even with star receiver Sammy Watkins having a quiet sophomore season.

But with the ninth-ranked Seminoles (8-1, 5-1) sitting just ahead of Clemson and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, Clemson can't afford to stumble against the Blue Devils (6-3, 3-2).

``It's more just playing to a standard,'' quarterback Tajh Boyd said. ``There's so much out there for us to gain and we don't want to let it pass us by in any sense. Every goal we had coming into the season is still attainable.''

The Tigers are coming off a 42-13 win at Wake Forest in which they racked up 534 total yards. That included a breakout game for Watkins, an freshman all-American who had missed three games because of suspension and illness.

Watkins had a school-record 202 yards receiving and his first touchdown catch of the season. Boyd threw for a school-record 428 yards with five touchdown passes.

Coach Dabo Swinney wants his players focused on improving their consistency instead of worrying about repeating the late-season fade from last year.

``As I tell our guys all the time, it's about Clemson,'' Swinney said. ``That's what we've talked about all year. It's about our preparation, our focus, our attention to details, how we play the game and execute our plan to win. That has not changed. I'm excited about this last road game. I think it's a great opportunity for us to finish strong.''

The game is just as critical for the Blue Devils, who find themselves in the unusual position of playing meaningful games in November. Duke has already secured bowl eligibility for the first time since 1994 and still is tied atop the ACC's Coastal Division standings despite last weekend's ugly 48-7 loss at FSU.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said his team was disappointed by its performance against the Seminoles, but not discouraged or embarrassed.

``We left everything we needed to leave in Tallahassee for one thing,'' he said. ``We've made corrections that we felt were necessary and the rest of it was left there and didn't come with us. ... This team is hungry. Anybody that thinks `You've hit the sixth win and are all cool' has really not watched this team.''

The Blue Devils are also 5-0 at Wallace Wade Stadium this year, tying a school record for home wins in a season. That included a comeback win in their last home game against rival North Carolina on a last-second touchdown pass in front of a packed stadium, a rare sight in Durham after years filled with struggle.

When Cutcliffe took over here in 2008, Duke hadn't won a home game in nearly three years.

``Being able to win in front of your home crowd is important not only for your fan base but for your program with recruiting, to get people behind you,'' senior quarterback Sean Renfree said. ``Our record so far has gotten people talking about football here. I wouldn't be surprised if we had a packed game this weekend and as good of an atmosphere as we had against Carolina.''

Duke's biggest concern will be to slow the Tigers' passing game in an offense that ranks second in the ACC with a 41-point average. DeAndre Hopkins has made up for Watkins' slow start and is closing in on 1,000 yards receiving to go with 10 TD catches.

The Blue Devils boast a secondary that includes three players who have been named ACC defensive back of the week this season.

The Blue Devils are hoping the FSU loss has prepared them for this week.

``It is difficult, but I think it's good to have them back to back,'' Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell said. ``You get the two fastest teams in the ACC. We went against Florida State and we might've gotten a little surprised by their speed, but now we're ready for Clemson's speed.''


AP Sports Writer Pete Iacobelli in Clemson, S.C., contributed to this report.

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

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


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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!