Capitals

No. 17 Mississippi State shakes off 1st loss

201210272120768014761-p2.jpeg

No. 17 Mississippi State shakes off 1st loss

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Mississippi State's showdown with top-ranked Alabama didn't go so well for the Bulldogs.

Now coach Dan Mullen is trying to make sure a bad day against the Crimson Tide doesn't turn into a bad month.

``You always define yourself in November,'' Mullen said. ``And we've put ourselves in great position during the month of November. Now this is what separates a good season from a great season and a great season from a championship season.''

The end of October wasn't much fun. Mississippi State's undefeated season ended in a lopsided 38-7 loss to an Alabama team that was better in every facet of the game.

But the No. 17 Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1 SEC) don't have much time to sulk. Mullen says his team must learn from their mistakes and get ready for No. 16 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) on Saturday.

Mississippi State's coaches said tape from the Alabama loss revealed a mix of positive and negative news. The good is that the Bulldogs were talented enough to move the ball on offense and make stops on defense when everyone was handling their assignment.

The bad news is there were a bunch of missed assignments.

``We have to be a better football team this week than we were last week,'' Mullen said. ``Throughout the season you have to continually improve, the only way you do that is through how you prepare and how you practice. That comes down to your work ethic on a daily basis.''

The Aggies come into the game with the SEC's most prolific offense, averaging 45.5 points and 542.9 yards per game. They gained 671 yards in last week's 63-21 victory over Auburn and have scored at least 58 points in four out of eight games.

And Texas A&M's offensive scheme is a complete 180 from the Crimson Tide's straight-forward, ball-control approach.

The Bulldogs have to figure out a way to at least slow down Texas A&M's freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, who averages 277 passing yards per game and leads the SEC with 99.1 rushing yards per game. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more in the Auburn win.

Mississippi State blew several defensive assignments against Alabama - especially in the passing game - which was a big reason the Bulldogs fell into a 24-0 halftime hole. If it happens against Texas A&M, it could be another long game.

Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said he's confident the Bulldogs' veteran defense, which is led by linebacker Cameron Lawrence and cornerback Johnthan Banks, will bounce back quickly.

``We're second right now in the league, and we've got a chance to be 8-1 if we go out and play at a higher level and execute at a higher level,'' Wilson said. ``I don't think we put as much into (one loss) as maybe the outside world. We've got to go play better. We've got to go fix our issues. We do that and we'll be ready to go.''

Mississippi State's offense had some good moments against the Tide - like a 97-yard drive in the third quarter. The problem was the drive ended with quarterback Tyler Russell throwing an interception.

The oh-so-close theme was repeated often throughout the night.

The Alabama loss didn't just hurt Mississippi State's ego. The Crimson Tide put several hard hits on Russell and others - like linebacker Benardrick McKinney, offensive tackles Blaine Clausell and Charles Siddoway - missed part of the game due to various injuries.

But Mullen didn't expect any of them to miss the Texas A&M game.

``This time of year everybody is bumped and bruised and everybody has a boot on,'' Mullen said. ``Everybody has tape and ice all over their bodies but that happens in the Southeastern Conference.''

-----

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Quick Links

Capitals Draft Tracker

usatsi_10905403.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

3rd round, 93rd overall: 

4th round, 124th overall: 

6th round, 186th overall: 

7th round, 217th overall: 

Quick Links

Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

usatsi_10905587.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.

The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.

Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.

Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."

Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."

Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."

Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.

The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.

Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.

Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.

Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.

Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.

Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.

Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.

Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings

The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.