No. 18 Texas Tech more than ready for TCU now

No. 18 Texas Tech more than ready for TCU now

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Texas Tech is more than ready to play TCU this time.

Conference foes again with TCU in its first Big 12 season, the 18th-ranked Red Raiders couldn't again delay a meeting with their former Southwest Conference rival.

Two years ago, Texas Tech moved up the date of its game with Texas for a television network broadcast and pushed back to another season its scheduled game against TCU. When a ninth Big 12 game was added last year, before the Horned Frogs were part of the league, TCU was the non-conference game dropped by the Red Raiders.

``It wasn't that their team didn't want to play us,'' Frogs coach Gary Patterson said this week. ``Their coach said because they were new and they were young that they would be better to schedule a different way, and that's how I took it. ... I didn't take it any sense (other) than he was trying to build his program and trying to get himself in a situation to get six wins.''

Now the Red Raiders (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) are downright defensive - on the field.

Texas Tech has the Big 12's top defense and is coming off a 49-14 victory over then-No. 5 West Virginia and big-play quarterback Geno Smith, a Heisman Trophy front-runner.

Saturday's game will be the first time since 1995 that TCU (5-1, 2-1) play as conference rivals in a series that dates back to 1926. They have played only twice since that last SWC season, both winning at home - Tech 70-35 in 2004 after overcoming a 21-0 deficit, and TCU 12-3 two years later.

After being one of the nation's worst defenses a year ago, the Red Raiders are fourth among FBS teams allowing only 243 total yards a game.

They are also trying to avoid the kind of letdown they had after last year's big upset at third-ranked Oklahoma. They followed that win with five consecutive losses and had their first losing season since 1992.

``I hope we learn from last year because we pretty much around the same part of the season did the same thing,'' Tuberville said. ``We did something nobody else thought we could do and we didn't win another game. ... We're a better team than we were last year, but we're also a target.''

Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege said he and his teammates aren't caught up in whatever schedule changes were made in the past that pushed back any games against TCU.

``Maybe for like the administrators and people that put stuff together for that, but for us players, I think it's just the fact that they're another Texas school,'' Doege said. ``We have a lot of guys that are from Texas, that it's just one of those pride things that you want to be the best team in Texas.''

As for avoiding a repeat for what happened at the end of last season after beating Oklahoma, Doege remembers ``being on such a high and going to such a low'' and how that makes the Red Raiders realize this game is bigger than the last one.

TCU, a longtime defensive stalwart, leads the nation with 14 interceptions and 20 takeaways. The Frogs top the Big 12 allowing only 14.5 points and 96 yards rushing a game, categories in which Texas Tech is second.

The Horned Frogs are coming off a 49-21 win at Baylor, which had six turnovers but did have two touchdown passes longer than 70 yards.

TCU redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin completed 22 of 30 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns, plus ran for a score in a turnover-free performance against Baylor. That came after his hurried starting debut replacing Casey Pachall a week earlier, when Boykin had three interceptions in a home loss to Iowa State.

But Boykin and the Frogs are going from facing the Big 12's worst defense to the best one.

``It's apples and oranges, there's a big difference between the schematics of Tech's offense and defense, and Baylor's offense and defense,'' Patterson said. ``Obviously, they put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks. We have our hands full, but it's not just on Trevone's shoulders.''

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Nationals players believe extended safety netting is a ‘no-brainer’

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Nationals players believe extended safety netting is a ‘no-brainer’

WASHINGTON -- Visuals can change everything.

It’s happened across sports in different fashion. An issue is discussed or dismissed until a troubling incident is brought to life via video in front of everyone’s eyes.

That breaking point on extended netting arrived for Major League Baseball after Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. pulled a line drive into the stands May 29. The ball struck a four-year-old girl. But, it was Almora’s reaction, as much as anything, which made the reality so stark. He was stunned and moved to tears. The player’s reaction amplified the incident to a level which forced something to be done.

Steps will be taken at Nationals Park to prevent such an incident. The team announced Thursday it will extend the protective netting up the foul line during the All-Star break. It will end just short of the foul poles. Washington has a good window to complete the work because it goes on the road following the All-Star break. The Nationals’ final pre-break home game is July 7. They don’t return to Nationals Park until July 22.

“As players, it's something that we've pushed for and advocated for years now,” Sean Doolittle said. “I think as you see exit velocities that have continued to increase and these new stadiums that are bringing fans closer and closer to the action, you're seeing balls go into the stands at really, really high speeds. It's really scary. Max broke his nose the other day on a BP pitch that was probably 50 mph and these balls are going into the seats over 100 mph.

“So, I think, hopefully, It's a way to keep fans safe while bringing them closer to the action. As somebody that watches the vast majority of games from behind a screen or chain-linked fence, I can promise you get used to it really, really quickly. It doesn't hinder your view at all. You think the most expensive seats in the stands, they're right behind home plate. People look through a net. I promise you-you can still see the game and after five minutes you don't even notice that it's there.”

Ryan Zimmerman called it a “no-brainer.” Trea Turner wants fans to be paying more attention, in addition to the netting.

“You only have to pay attention to small snippets of the game,” Turner told NBC Sports Washington. “I just want people to pay attention. You can’t block everybody off from a foul pop that goes over the net, that can still hit people. You’re not going to foolproof it.”

Netting in Nationals Park will be thinner than the current netting, according to the team. It will also have sections which can be raised pregame in order to allow players to interact with fans.

The Almora incident was referenced in a letter from Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner announcing the extension. The Nationals were also witnesses to an Eloy Jiménez foul ball in Chicago which struck a young fan in Chicago on June 11.

“Jiménez hit a line drive really hard foul and I saw a girl looking towards me -- I don’t know what she was looking at but was kind of looking in the outfield direction, hit her in the side of the face,” Turner said. “I heard it hit her. What sticks in my head is when I heard the ball hit her. Not good.”

Washington becomes the second team to announce a planned extension. The White Sox were the first.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters in Seattle on June 5 he didn’t expect league-wide changes in netting this season. Manfred cited a range of reasons from ballpark framework to fan objections. In 2015, the commissioner’s office recommended teams extend netting to the end of the dugouts. Three years later, that task was completed. The next steps have slowly begun.


Women's World Cup 2019: Round of 16 bracket is set as USA soccer readies for knockout round


Women's World Cup 2019: Round of 16 bracket is set as USA soccer readies for knockout round

LE HAVRE, France (AP) -- The defending champion U.S. national team faced its toughest test of the Women's World Cup and remained dominant Thursday night, beating Sweden 2-0 to serve up a measure of revenge against the team that stunned the confident Americans in the last Olympics.

Lindsey Horan scored within the first three minutes, the fastest goal of this tournament. The United States went up 2-0 on an own goal by Jonna Andersson in the 50th minute that gave the Americans a tournament-record 18 goals in the group stage. The U.S. did not concede a goal in its first three matches.

Already assured a spot in the round of 16 before the game, the United States finished atop of group F and will head to Reims to face Spain on Monday, June 24th. Sweden will play Group E runners-up Canada in Paris. The U.S. currently has 9 points 

The meeting was the first tournament game between the two teams since the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics. The Swedes bunkered in on defense and advanced on penalties after a 1-1 draw, handing the United States its earliest-ever exit from the Olympic tournament. Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo called the Swedes "cowards" for the defensive stand.

Round-of-16 Schedule

Saturday, June 22

Germany vs. Nigeria, 11:30 a.m. ET

Norway vs. Australia, 3:00 p.m. ET

Sunday, June 23

England vs. Cameroon, 11:30 a.m. ET

France vs. Brazil, 3:00 p.m. ET

Monday, June 24

Spain vs. United States, Noon ET

Sweden vs. Canada, 3:00 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 25

Italy vs. China, Noon ET

Netherlands vs Japan, 3:00 p.m. ET


Thursday, June 27 

TBD vs, TBD, 3:00 p.m. ET

Friday, June 28

TBD vs TBD, 3:00 p.m. ET

Saturday, June 29

TBD vs TBD, 9:00 a.m. ET

TBD vs TBD, 12:30 p.m. ET


Tuesday, July 2

TBD vs TBD, 3:00 p.m. ET 

Wednesday, July 3

TBD vs TBD, 3:00 p.m. ET

Third-place game

Saturday, July 6 

TBD vs TBD, 11:00 a.m. ET


Sunday, July 7

TBD vs TBD, 11:00 a.m. ET