Nationals

No. 15 Clemson expects tough game vs Georgia Tech

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No. 15 Clemson expects tough game vs Georgia Tech

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) It would take several more stunning upsets for No. 15 Clemson and coach Dabo Swinney to look past struggling Georgia Tech.

Swinney said the Tigers (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be focused and ready for the Yellow Jackets (2-3, 1-2) on Saturday, no matter how bad Georgia Tech looked in last week's 49-28 home loss to Middle Tennessee.

``We've had some knock down, drags out with these guys but we haven't won much as of late,'' Swinney said. ``It's a huge game for us.''

Georgia Tech has been a thorn in Swinney's side from almost the moment he got the job midway through the 2008 season.

The Yellow Jackets spoiled Swinney's head coaching debut four years ago at Death Valley. They beat Clemson twice the next season, including the ACC title game. And last season, Georgia Tech ended the Tigers' 8-0 start and national title hopes with a 31-17 victory in Atlanta.

``Oh man,'' Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd said. ``That was an awful loss.''

The game certainly seems like a mismatch with the Yellow Jackets having lost two straight. Middle Tennessee of the Sun Belt Conference ran for 264 yards and Georgia Tech ranks in the bottom half of the ACC in giving up nearly 400 yards a game on offense.

``This is a team that I know they're coming off a tough loss to Middle Tennessee, but they've had two overtime losses at Virginia Tech and then against Miami,'' Swinney said. ``I think everybody knows the kind of team that Georgia Tech is and the kind of coaching staff that they have. We're going to have to play a great game.''

Clemson has had several of those this year, at least on offense. The Tigers surpassed 500 yards of offense for the third time in five games last week, putting up 576 yards in a 45-28 victory over Boston College.

It's the defense that has kept Swinney guessing this year. The Tigers allowed 420 yards to Boston College, although it tightened things up in the second half to take control.

Clemson's defenders, though, have rarely looked good against Georgia Tech's triple-option schemes. Yellow Jackets quarterback Tevin Washington accounted for 176 yards and a touchdown in the victory, continually running past and through tacklers.

Washington's on a tear again this season with 11 touchdowns, although it's largely been overlooked in Georgia Tech's slow start.

``We've got to bounce back from a really disappointing game on Saturday,'' Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. ``We get thrown right back into the fire against a quality opponent in Clemson.''

Swinney has stepped up the team's tackling at practices this week. The Tigers have had trouble with missed tackles, opening the way for too many big plays this season.

Clemson was stung for 667 yards in a loss to No. 3 Florida State two weeks ago. This past Saturday, Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig threw touchdown passes of 42 and 31 yards and tailback Andre Williams had a 30-yard scoring run.

Tigers defensive end Malliciah Goodman said Georgia Tech's offense is one of the most difficult to prepare for all year because Clemson doesn't see the option attack much. Clemson's run into problems when defenders try to do too much instead of playing their assignments.

And Clemson can't worry about payback for the Yellow Jackets starting the team's late-season slide - the Tigers lost three of four to close the regular season - or things will break down again.

``We just have to stay focused, don't think about getting anybody back,'' Goodman said. ``Don't get too emotional with it. You know your job. Go do your job.''

The Tigers will have star receiver Sammy Watkins back for Satruday's game and eager to make an impact. Watkins missed the Boston College trip because an abdominal virus, the third game he's missed this season. Once again, receiver DeAndre Hopkins filled the void with a record-setting performance.

Hopkins caught a school-record 13 passes in Clemson's opening victory over Auburn. He tied a Clemson record the next week with three touchdowns against Ball State. Last Saturday, Hopkins had 11 receptions for a school record 197 yards against Boston College.

Clemson's quarterback Boyd said Watkins ready to play. ``He looks healthy and full speed,'' he said. ``Should be fun to get him out there.''

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

For a long time, Major League Baseball had the best, most exciting trade deadline among the four major sports. In recent seasons, that excitement has been eclipsed by the popularity of the NBA, but baseball still stands ahead of football and hockey in terms of in-season movement.

In an effort to shake things up a bit, baseball’s trade deadline underwent some changes in the offseason.

Notably, while July 31 has always been deadline day, in past years it was a bit of a misnomer. July 31 was technically just the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in years past. The month of August has always allowed trades to be made as long as players pass through waivers. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can either pull him back, let him go for nothing, or negotiate a deal with his claiming team only.

This obviously made for much more limited movement in August, but it was always an option. 

Not anymore. Now? July 31 the *only* deadline.

The August revocable waivers trade deadline was always a bit convoluted, and it never made much sense to have more than one deadline. So it’s logical to think the powers that be would want to simplify things for the league.

Reportedly, Major League Baseball is hoping the change will not only help simplify in-season moves, but also help jumpstart offseason activity. The thinking is if teams have even just one fewer option to improve their roster midseason, then contenders will be forced to get aggressive in the offseason.

It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition, but one forthcoming change does seem pretty obvious. The singular trade deadline should make for a much more active July.

Both buyers and sellers have to commit to a direction earlier in the season now. Last year, for example, the Nationals executed their mini-firesale in mid-August, once it had become clear they were not going to compete for the postseason. At the end of the July they were still undecided, which is why they held onto Bryce Harper.

Considering how long it can take major deals to come together, teams have to essentially decide by the All-Star break if they are in or out on competing for October. It will be especially difficult for teams to read the writing on the wall when they are hovering around .500.

As of this writing, there are 10 teams within six games of .500 in either direction, and that doesn’t include organizations like the Red Sox, Nationals and Athletics who have quality records but are way behind runaway division leaders. Will they want to trade away controllable assets for a shot at a one-game Wild Card berth?

General Managers who can forecast their team’s likelihood of competing, and respond accordingly, will be rewarded under the new system. Orioles GM Mike Elias already began his team’s sell-off, trading Andrew Cashner away weeks before the end of July. By contrast, in 2018 both Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman were moved by the Orioles with under an hour to go on deadline day.

It’s hard to perfectly predict all the ways rule changes can affect a sport, but in the case of the singular trade deadline, it’s obvious that teams are now required to commit earlier, with fewer games of information from which to work.

That’s exciting for a sport that could use some more player movement-related excitement.

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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we gave you some spots around Nationals Park too.

With summer 2019 halfway through and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around the ballpark that forever changed baseball. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Always packed, it's the number one go-to bar for Orioles fans before and after the games 
  • A dozen beers on tap, both local and national brands
  • Great deals throughout baseball season

Sliders Bar and Grille, 504 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another bar adjacent to Camden Yards
  • Less crowded than Pickles, but just as good when it comes to snacks and drinks
  • Bottle, canned, and draft beer options
  • Gameday specials built around the Orioles season

Abbey Burger Bistro, 1041 Marshall St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • A bit further (about a mile walk) but well worth it
  • Famous for, you guessed it, their wide selection of crafted hamburgers
  • Endorsed by Oriole legend Adam Jones, who even created a burger for their menu
  • Also make spiked milkshakes for adults looking to cool off with a tasty treat

The Yard, 110 S Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Inside the Marriott Inner Harbor 
  • Quieter, less-crowded option compared to more popular pregame locations
  • Crab-based breakfast options for fans looking for an early start

Camden Pub, 647 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Two blocks from Camden Yards
  • Special discounts with game tickets
  • Variety of food options, including well-known wings

Quigley's Half Irish Pub, 633 Portland St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Federal Hill location, a block away from the stadium
  • Another less-crowded option, with standard bar fare
  • Just as likely to host baseball fans and neighborhood regulars alike

Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards 
  • Dozens of beer options, plus signature cocktails and wine choices aplenty
  • Well-known nightlife spot for postgame celebrations

Seafood Options:

L.P. Steamers, 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Have to drive instead of walk (9 minutes by car)
  • Considered a go-to spot for Maryland-style seafood 
  • Mentioned specifically by Manny Machado upon his return to Baltimore

Phillips Seafood, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minute walk to Camden Yards, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor
  • Huge letters outside the building a part of the local skyline
  • Famous for their crabcakes, but serve all kinds of seafood and non-seafood options

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another slightly further, pricier option for local seafood
  • Beautiful view right on the water
  • Live patio entertainment
  • Happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday

Postgame Dessert Options:

Insomnia Cookies, Federal Hill, 1059 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • 20-minute walk from the stadium
  • Wide variety of deluxe cookie options, plus brownies, ice cream, cake and dessert sandwiches
  • Open until 3 a.m. every night

Polar Roll Creamery, 600 E Pratt St Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minutes from Camden Yards, on the Inner Harbor 
  • Rolled ice cream
  • Watch yourserver roll the ice cream in front of you

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