Nationals

No. 19 Rutgers stays unbeaten, beats Temple 35-10

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No. 19 Rutgers stays unbeaten, beats Temple 35-10

PHILADELPHIA (AP) For 30 minutes, Temple had the big boys on the ropes. Then things quickly fell apart.

Gary Nova threw four touchdown passes in the second half to lead No. 19 Rutgers to a 35-10 comeback victory over Temple on Saturday.

Jawan Jamison had 114 yards rushing and 81 receiving, Nova threw for 232 yards, and the Scarlet Knights (7-0, 4-0 Big East) rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit in their first game against Temple (3-3, 2-1) since the Owls were kicked out of the conference in 2004.

``It's one of the worst third quarters I've seen in a long time,'' Temple coach Steve Addazio said. ``You take a game in which we had complete and utter control in the first half and came out in the third quarter and just totally blew the third quarter out. To their credit, in the third quarter I felt like they played like a big-time team.

``I'm guessing we didn't help ourselves too much but give that team credit. They had to come alive and make some plays, and they made plays in the third quarter.''

Held to just 110 total yards in the first half, the Scarlet Knights scored on their first four possessions in the second and racked up 271 yards in the last 30 minutes.

Nova connected with Tim Wright on a 32-yard TD pass to cap a 75-yard drive and cut Temple's lead to 10-7.

Jamison then caught a short pass over the middle, broke a tackle, juked a defender, and ran into the end zone for a 32-yard TD catch that gave Rutgers a 14-10 edge.

``We just have the ability to fight,'' Jamison said. ``We play together and punch adversity in the face.''

Nova completed a pair of third-down passes to keep the 89-yard drive going, hitting Wright for 15 yards, and Mark Harrison for 23.

Logan Ryan intercepted Chris Coyer's pass on Temple's ensuing possession and returned it 17 yards to the Owls 49. That set up Nova's 5-yard TD pass to Harrison that put Rutgers up 21-10.

Nova rolled to his right and threw back across his body to Harrison, who slid across the end zone to make the catch.

``We just executed better in the second half,'' Nova said. ``We did what we're supposed to do.''

After Leonte Carroo blocked a punt to give Rutgers the ball at Temple's 26, Nova hit D.C. Jefferson on a 10-yard TD pass for a 28-10 lead.

Then Rutgers' defense joined in. Khaseem Green returned a fumble 20 yards for a TD that made it 35-10.

``We knew that was their best punch,'' Ryan said. ``Ten points is not enough to win a game. We just had to play our game. We have a target on our backs in the conference. We earned it and we expect every team's best.''

The Scarlet Knights are 7-0 for the second time in six seasons - and the fifth time since being credited with playing the first college football game 143 years ago.

The Owls were bidding for their first upset of a Top 25 team since 1998.

``We looked like we just ran out of gas,'' Addazio said.

Facing the nation's second-ranked rushing defense - Rutgers came in allowing just 60.8 yards on the ground - Temple had 74 yards in the first quarter alone.

Coyer tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Cody Booth to give Temple a 7-0 lead late in the first. Coyer had two open receivers in the right corner of the end zone. The pass sailed over the head of running back Kenny Harper, who jumped and tipped it back. Booth slid in behind him and made a diving catch.

Brandon McManus booted a career-best 68-yard punt to the Scarlet Knights 6 late in the first half. He then kicked a 49-yard field goal to put Temple up 10-0.

A crowd of 35,145 was the third-largest for Temple at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. There were plenty of red-clad Scarlet Knights' fans who made the trip down the New Jersey Turnpike.

Rutgers went three-and-out on its first two series, and Nova lost a fumble on the third. Nova's streak of 165 passes without an interception ended on the final play of the first half when Tavon Young picked off his deep throw.

Temple played without safety Vaughn Carraway, who was suspended by the Big East for a flagrant foul during last week's win at Connecticut.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper's 2018 Home Run Derby win by the numbers

Bryce Harper is the 2018 Home Run Derby champion.

In his home ballpark, Harper put on a show Washington won't soon forget.

He ran through a division foe in the first round in Freddie Freeman, took out a strong, hefty lefty in the semifinals in Max Muncy and then hit nine home runs in 47 seconds in the final minute of the final round when it seemed like he had no chance. On the second swing of his 30 seconds of extra time, Harper launched a bomb to deep center field to win.

And while winning the Home Run Derby in his own ballpark is an impressive feat on its own, the numbers behind his victory make it all the more impressive.

3.

He is just the third hometown winner of the Home Run Derby in the history of the event. Todd Frazier did it most recently in 2016 in Cincinnati, and Ryne Sandberg won at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1990.

13.

Harper won each of the first two rounds with 13 homers. He didn't need his full time in either of the first two rounds.

446 & 441.

Harper's first two home runs of his first-round matchup against Freeman traveled farther than any of the Braves' superstar's dingers.


10.

In the semifinals, Harper only hit three homers in the first minute, but then blasted 10 in his next 11 swings. That's called efficiency.


5.

In the first round, Harper hit five of the 10 longest home runs of anybody in the field.


45.

Harper hit 45 bombs en route to claiming the title. Here's a visual representation of all of them.

That's also how many dollars cheaper Nats tickets will be... oops!


2.

That's John Wall's number and this is him celebrating his fellow D.C. sports superstar's victory.


19,058.

Bryce Harper hit an absurd 19,058 feet of home runs during the 2018 Home Run Derby. That's more than the 5k you ran last year.

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With All-Star Game in Washington, Bryce Harper looks back on baseball life, ahead to uncertain future

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USA Today Sports Images

With All-Star Game in Washington, Bryce Harper looks back on baseball life, ahead to uncertain future

It's quite possible that, despite nearly a decade of being in the spotlight, gracing the cover of magazines and operating as a transcendent star in the sport of baseball, Bryce Harper's attention-drawing powers reached their apex this week in Washington as the 2018 All-Star Game took center stage at Nationals Park.

Harper has played in plenty showcase games before, he's participated in the Home Run Derby, he was the first overall pick in 2010. But this time the Midsummer Classic is in his professional baseball hometown and he is the primary ambassador for both the team and league. 

Oh, and this is also a pretty big year for his future. The 25-year-old is just months away from being one of the most sought after free agents in the history of the sport and perhaps soon the highest paid.

Harper took it all in stride on Monday as he held court in a club level ballroom at Nationals Park on South Capitol St. He knew the questions about his future were coming and he had answers for every single one of them.

Some of those questions included:

Do you ever have guys on other teams try to recruit you?

Has it ever crossed your mind how odd it would be to play somewhere else?

Do you have a relationship with [Yankees star] Aaron Judge?

One reporter didn't even finish his question before Harper sniffed it out.

When you shaved your beard [on June 19]... 

Harper: ..."it was because the Yankees were in town, right. You got it," he said sarcastically. "My beard was getting too long. My wife wanted me to trim it and it was a good idea."

Harper has by most accounts become closed off in recent years. His personality has been withdrawn. He famously began his first spring training press conference earlier this year with a written statement and a warning that any questions about his free agent future would result in him walking out of the room.

At least for a day, Harper was his old and congenial self. Though, he did explain why his personality has changed with the media in recent years.

"I think I've gotten older. I'm not going to say the same things at 16 that I do at 25," he said. "There were things that people did in college that they don't want people to know about. There are things that I've said in the media at 16 or 17 that I guess I was real about. I can't take them back and I don't want to."

Harper has been able to operate throughout the first half of the season while saying very little of substance to the media. The fact his batting average has dipped to just .214 has given him extra reason to put up walls.

As Harper addressed the media, he didn't offer any trademark one-liners, but he did get introspective about his life as a baseball player and his role as the face of the Washington Nationals.

He spoke glowingly about the franchise and the city, about how much he enjoys seeing the same faces every day, from his teammates to those in the front office to stadium employees and security guards. He shared his appreciation for the fans and area kids who look up to him.

The All-Star Game taking place in D.C. offered Harper a chance to reminisce. As Harper looked ahead to the Home Run Derby, he rattled off the most memorable homers he has seen at Nationals Park. 

He mentioned Jayson Werth's walkoff homer in Game 4 of the 2012 NL Division Series. He brought up the time Michael Morse hit one to the top of the Red Porch in left-center and the many times Adam Dunn cleared the third deck in right field.

Harper was asked about his the pressure of playing host and the duress of struggling in a contract year. He told a story from his days at the College of Southern Nevada that put it all into perspective.

"I got absolutely dominated for two weeks prior to our season opening before fall ball. I'm sitting there at 16 years old, I just got back from Team USA," he recalled.

"I got punched out like nine or 10 times in probably a matter of about 12 at-bats against my own team... I sat down and was like 'you know what, I don't want to do this. I want to go back to high school. I want to enjoy those moments and do that.' But I knew that I couldn't do that. I sat down and they said 'you can't come back, you tested out.' I said 'okay, you've gotta cowboy up.' I needed to do what I needed to do. A week later, we started our fall ball season and I went deep in my first at-bat at Cashman Field. The rest is history, I guess you could say."

If Harper had indeed been able to go back to high school, his draft status would have changed. He never would have been drafted first overall by the Nationals in 2010.

Harper feels the pressure of playing in junior college ball with his draft status on the line, playing against guys who were four or five years older than him, was the toughest thing he has done in baseball. It prepared him for all of these moments, just like the media scrutiny did over the years.

"It was only what, [eight] years ago? It's those moments that make you who you are," he said. "I'm 25 years and old and I play this game of baseball every day. What pressure do I have to feel?... It's the game that I love to play. I'm getting chills [right now]. There's nothing greater than running out there wearing No. 34 and being Bryce Harper and loving the game that I play."

Harper remained patient and upbeat for the over 30 minutes that he addressed the media. He was soaking it all in and trying to embrace the attention he was receiving.

But it was one of those questions from above that provided a dose of reality to set in. When asked if it would be strange to play for another team, he reminded the reporters present of what could very well happen this winter.

"It's always a possibility [I leave]. I think that everybody knew that at the beginning of the year, that this could possibly be my last year in D.C. Everybody knows that. There's no elephant in the room. Everybody knows that it's a possibility, but I'm not really focused on that," he said.

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