No. 17 Oklahoma seeks first B12 win vs. Texas Tech

No. 17 Oklahoma seeks first B12 win vs. Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones recalls well his last trip to Lubbock, the most recent of the Sooners' three straight losses at Texas Tech.

``I remember it wasn't too fun,'' he said. ``We had cool uniforms and we looked good but just didn't play very good.''

He and his Sooners teammates, who wore all white uniforms and helmets in the 41-17 loss in 2009, could have another tough matchup in West Texas on Saturday. They will face a Texas Tech offense averaging 547 yards per game and a surprisingly stingy defense that's allowing just 167, best in the nation.

The Sooners (2-1, 0-1) are coming off a bye week after losing 24-19 to then-No. 15 Kansas State.

History is on their side: under coach Bob Stoops, Oklahoma has never lost back-to-back Big 12 games and is 18-0 after a regular-season loss going back to 2004.

The Sooners have additional incentive. Besides the three-game skid in Lubbock, they would love to avenge a 41-38 loss to Texas Tech last season that ended their 39-game home winning streak in Norman.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, in his first year back with his brother after being fired at Arizona after eight seasons, said Texas Tech's offense will be a big test.

``We're going to need all 11 guys to play well and play fast and be in the right spots,'' Mike Stoops said. ``If you're not, you're going to get exposed.''

The game will be a measuring stick for Texas Tech, which so far has beaten lesser opponents. After Oklahoma, the Red Raiders (4-0, 1-0) host No. 8 West Virginia, play at No. 15 TCU and No. 7 Kansas State, and come home against No. 11 Texas.

Unlike past years, Texas Tech's offense isn't all about the pass. Yes, quarterback Seth Doege is averaging 297 yards a game and has 15 touchdowns and 1,189 yards, but running backs Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens and SaDale Foster have a combined four TDS and 753 yards on 122 carries.

Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville knows there will be games, and this may be one of them, where the defense will give up touchdowns and the offense will need to make some big plays.

``We'll have to turn that switch on during the game and say, `We have to open it up more. We have to get the ball deep. Score on two or three plays instead of trying to get a ten play drive,''' he said.

Last year, Doege shredded Oklahoma's defense in the first half, throwing three of his four touchdowns before the break. He finished with 441 yards.

Stopping the run is paramount ``because everything is set up off of the run,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ``The times we've played them the best, we've defended the run the best. The times we haven't, the running game has hurt us as much as anything.''

Jones took the blame for the loss at Kansas State after fumbling inside his own 5-yard line to give the Wildcats a defensive touchdown and throwing an interception on another drive. After the loss, Bob Stoops said Jones at times tried to make too much happen.

``The worst thing a quarterback can do is press and try and force the issue, as opposed to letting it come to you, going through your reads and take what they give you and be smart about it,'' Stoops said. ``As much as anything, that's what we want him to do.''

Red Raiders defensive back Cornelius Douglas, who had two interceptions in last week's 24-13 win at Iowa State, said Jones is impressive.

"He's got a great arm, so whether he's playing off or on, he's still going to get the ball where he wants to get it,'' Douglas said.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. Packers

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. Packers

Here is what you need to know on Thursday, September 20, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers  

Talking points

At 1-1 with Aaron Rodgers coming to town, the Redskins are under pressure to win. The spotlight will shine brighter on these players on Sunday afternoon. 

—Against the Colts, QB Alex Smith didn’t lose the game but he didn’t do much to lift the team, either. In particular, the 0-2 in the red zone was damaging with both failures coming at key points in the game. That’s not all on Smith but when the running game is struggling like it was on Sunday he has to elevate the team. He didn’t. He will have to play better—much better—if the Redskins are going to outscore the Packers. 

—The talk of Hogs 2.0 has just got to stop until the Redskins’ offensive line strings together a bunch of good games in a row. They were both beaten physically and out schemed against the Colts. That’s why the running backs had two rushing yards at halftime and only 22 for the game. All this took place while the Colts sat back in a soft Cover 2 zone, a defense that you should be able to run against.

—While many fans are complaining about the output of Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, who is usually the volume receiver in the offense, has the same number of catches as Doctson (5) for fewer yards (48-40). Crowder didn’t play at all in the preseason and missed considerable camp practice time with an undisclosed injury. Perhaps he just needs some time to get going. With the Packers coming to town, the Redskins will have to put up a lot of points to win and now would be a great time for Crowder to have a big game. 

—It’s hard to rattle Aaron Rodgers but like any quarterback, he doesn’t like immediate pressure in his face. It’s time for first-round picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne to step up. Or, rather, they need to step forward and disrupt Rodgers if he tries to get rid of the ball quickly. We need to see either Payne registering his first career sack or Allen get his the second of his career and his first in a year (first was Week 3). Or, preferably, both. 

—The entire defensive backfield will be under pressure against Rodgers, tight end Jimmy Graham and receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. To pick one, I’ll go with Montae Nicholson. He hasn’t played poorly in the first two games. Some have blamed him for Andrew Luck’s two TD passes but one was just a perfect throw and one was a pick that worked to perfection. Regardless, he is supposed to be an impact play guy and he doesn’t have any big hits or takeaways through two games and a game-changing play from him would help. 

Injuries of note

Did not practice: S Troy Apke (hamstring), LB Zach Brown (oblique), G Shawn Lauvao (calf), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder)
Limited: Brandon Scherff (knee), Trent Williams (knee)

The agenda

Today: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Upcoming: Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 3; Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 18; Cowboys @ Redskins 31

In case you missed it

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


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Orioles avoid three-game sweep with 2-1 win over Blue Jays

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Orioles avoid three-game sweep with 2-1 win over Blue Jays

One night after setting a dubious record for losses, the Baltimore Orioles were ready to savor a rare win against a division rival.

Rookie DJ Stewart hit his first major league home run and Baltimore used five pitchers to avoid a three-game sweep by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Wednesday night.

The Orioles bounced back one night after taking their 108th loss of the season, the most since moving to Baltimore in 1954. They remained three away from the franchise mark set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns.

"I was thinking about it tonight how many times I walked down that long hall to get here after a great win, trying to temper the enthusiasm," manager Buck Showalter said. "I still feel elated after we win a game and then I think about all the good things that went on, especially defensively tonight."

Jimmy Yacabonis started for Baltimore and threw four scoreless innings, followed by Mike Wright (4-2), who blanked the Blue Jays over two innings. Miguel Castro allowed a solo homer to Billy McKinney in the eighth that cut the lead to 2-1 before Tanner Scott managed the final out of the inning.

Mychal Givens picked up his eighth save for Baltimore.

Stewart, who was promoted Sept. 11 from Triple-A Norfolk, gave the Orioles the lead when he led off the third with a towering shot off Estrada that caromed off the right-field foul pole. He also had a double in the seventh and scored an insurance run on a single by Cedric Mullins off Tim Mayza.

"I've felt comfortable every at-bat pretty much," Stewart said. "I think there was one at bat I kind of went up there chasing a little bit, just trying to get that hit. I felt comfortable for the most part, but whenever you see one fall for the first time, it's a little bit of a relief that not only are you feeling well but you're seeing the results also. It was definitely big for me."

Toronto won the season series 14-5.

"Any chance you have to try and sweep a team is a big one," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We have had a pretty tough year ourselves so you try to build and win as many games as you can."

The Blue Jays' Marco Estrada (7-13) bounced back from his previous outing when he tied a career-high by allowing eight runs against the Yankees. He was charged with one run and four hits with five strikeouts and one walk over six innings.

"It was a good outing. I made a lot of good pitches," Estrada said. "One got away from me and the kid hit it out, Congrats to him. Weren't too many hard hit balls."

The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the fourth against Yacabonis, who was making his fifth career start. However, he escaped the jam when Kendrys Morales hit a fly ball to Adam Jones, who threw out McKinney trying to score from third. It was Jones' 99th career assist and first in right field.


Blue Jays C Russell Martin has not played since Sept. 3. Manager John Gibbons wants to give Luke Maile and rookie Danny Jansen an extended look behind the plate.


Orioles: Rookie C Chance Sisco will not travel with the team to New York. He took a foul ball off his mask Sunday against the White Sox and is still waiting to be cleared from concussion protocol.


Blue Jays: Sam Gaviglio will start the opener Thursday in Tampa Bay. He has gone 1-8 since July 20 and lost both games against the Rays this season.

Orioles: Rookie Yefry Ramirez (1-6, 5.50 ERA) will make his 11th start Friday in New York. He tied a career high with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings Saturday against the White Sox.