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No. 20 Michigan visiting Neb 1st time since 1911

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No. 20 Michigan visiting Neb 1st time since 1911

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Playing at night has been right for Nebraska at Memorial Stadium.

The Cornhuskers go into Saturday's meeting with No. 20 Michigan on a 10-game win streak in prime-time home games.

There figures to be some extra energy in the stadium for this one.

Nebraska will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its NCAA-record sellout streak. This will be the 323rd in a row.

And Michigan (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten), the only college program with 900 all-time victories, will be making its first visit to Lincoln since 1911.

``It's going to be loud, and we've got to be prepared for that,'' Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson said. ``We have to be prepared to execute the offense every time we get a chance to get the ball. We have to be road warriors.''

The Huskers (5-2, 2-1) fed off their crowd in their last home game, coming back from a 17-point deficit to beat Wisconsin.

They'll take any advantage they can get as they try to corral Robinson and find a way to dent the fast-improving defense of the Legends Division-leading Wolverines.

``I like night games,'' Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah said. ``I feel like the fans really make a difference in a game, especially when we're playing a big team like Michigan.''

The Wolverines have lost both their night games. The first was the season-opening 41-14 defeat to defending national champion and top-ranked Alabama in Arlington, Texas. The other was 13-6 at Notre Dame, a game in which Robinson was intercepted four times.

``I think they're used to playing at night,'' Michigan coach Brady Hoke said of his players. ``I don't perceive that being a problem.''

Hoke, who brought his Ball State team to Memorial Stadium in 2007, described the Huskers' fans as ``emphatic.''

Loud is another way to put it, especially at night.

The din discombobulated Wisconsin on Sept. 29.

``I hope it's just as crazy as that night,'' cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste said.

Nebraska is 36-5 under the lights in Lincoln since the first night game was played there in 1986. Nebraska has won 28 of those games by at least 13 points.

Michigan, with a win, would put two games between itself and second-place Nebraska. The Wolverines finish the regular season with a visit to Minnesota, home games with Northwestern and Iowa and a trip to arch-rival Ohio State.

A win by Nebraska would move it into a tie atop the division and own the tiebreaker over Michigan. The Huskers end with a trip to Michigan State, home games against Penn State and Minnesota and a visit to Iowa.

The Huskers preserved their title hopes alive last week by rallying from 12 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Northwestern.

``You can't afford to lose,'' safety P.J. Smith said. ``That's what our mentality was the other night. Everyone was saying let's go out and win this game no matter what. We're going to have ups and downs but just keeping riding the wave. We can't slip up.''

Michigan, coming off a 12-10 victory over Michigan State, has won three straight since losing at Notre Dame. Hoke said he used the bye week that followed to chart the rest of the season.

``Every game's a championship game,'' he said, ``and this falls into that category.''

The game will be the second in college football history featuring a pair of quarterbacks with 5,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing in their careers.

Robinson and Taylor Martinez are among just 18 quarterbacks in NCAA history to reach those totals. The only previous such meeting pitted Texas' Vince Young against Missouri's Brad Smith in 2005.

Robinson accounted for four touchdowns and Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for a career-high 138 yards in a 45-17 win over turnover-plagued Nebraska last year.

The Huskers bring in the Big Ten's top offense, at 512 yards a game. Michigan's defense is second in the Big Ten, allowing 286 yards. More impressive, the Wolverines have allowed no more than 13 points in five straight games.

``Watching them on film and watching what they've done so far this year, this will be a big test for us,'' Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. ``Going on the road and playing an offense like this, we'll kind of see where we're at.''

Same goes for Nebraska's offense, which has put up big numbers despite being turnover-prone. The Huskers' 13 lost fumbles are most in the nation.

``I feel like I'll find out a lot about our offense, not just myself,'' said Abdullah, who probably will start in place of the injured Rex Burkhead. ``We've shown some good statistical numbers this year. We've been pretty consistent other than a lot of turnovers. I just want to see our offense go to the next level and play that perfect, clean game.''

Hoke, the Wolverines' second-year coach, remembers his Ball State Cardinals putting a fright into the Bill Callahan-coached Huskers five years ago.

Nebraska survived when Hoke's kicker hooked a 55-yard field-goal try wide left in the final seconds after one of his receiver's flubbed what would have been a sure touchdown.

``Got beat 41-40,'' Hoke said. ``Dropped the ball on the 5-yard line.''

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Lumberjack Caps enjoy off day...throwing axes

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@ForgedAxeWhis

Lumberjack Caps enjoy off day...throwing axes

The reigning Stanley Cup champions seemingly have boat loads of team fun while on the road. 

A day after cruising past the Vancouver Canucks (5-2, win) at their place, the team enjoyed a little friendly competition inside an...axe throwing arena. 

Forged Axe Throwing is an indoor facility in the countryside of Whistler, British Columbia. 

Dressed as lumberjacks, the Caps dove right into their team-building activity. 

Andre Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom went head-to-head for Swedish bragging rights. 

To no one's surprise, Alex Ovechkin is as much of a goal-scorer as he is an axe-thrower. 

But it was T.J. Oshie who walked away with the Forged Axe Throwing title on this day. 

Needless to say, Tuesday wasn't your average off day for a National Hockey League team. But as reigning champs, everyday is atypical. 

 

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Wizards and Warriors have an eventful history for two teams that don't play each other often

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USA Today Sports

Wizards and Warriors have an eventful history for two teams that don't play each other often

For two teams that only play each other twice a season and have no regional ties, the Wizards and Warriors have an underrated history between them. There have been thrilling games, memorable moments and a good deal of bad blood between the players.

As far as game results, Golden State has held the upper hand. That sounds about right, given the Warriors have won three of the last four championships. Since John Wall entered the league, the Warriors are 13-2 against Washington.

Before the Wizards take on the Warriors in the Bay Area on Wednesday night (10 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington), take a look back at some of the most consequential games between the teams...

March 23, 2013 - Klay vs. John

A lot of people forget about this one. Back in March of 2013, long before the Warriors became a dynasty, Wall was ejected for a confrontation with Klay Thompson at Oracle Arena.

While they were each chasing a loose ball, Thompson shoved Wall to the ground with his shoulder and Wall took offense. Before the ball was inbounded for the next play, Wall went up to Thompson and confronted him with a healthy amount of trash-talk.

The refs saw it and sent Wall to the showers. The Wizards ended up losing the game.

Feb. 28, 2017 - Durant gets hurt in his return to D.C.

Kevin Durant made the surprising decision to join the Warriors in the summer of 2016 and few fanbases were more shocked than those of the Wizards, who had long seen their franchise as a logical landing spot for the hometown star. Durant didn't make his return to Washington with his new team until February of that season, and his homecoming didn't last long.

Just 1:33 into his night, Durant suffered a knee injury when teammate Zaza Pachulia fell into him in a game against the Wizards. The injury initially appeared to be very serious, though Durant was able to return just over a month later.

One of the worst parts about it all was that Pachulia clearly flopped unnecessarily on the play. Another reason to hate flopping.

April 2, 2017 - Jennings vs. JaVale

Neither of these guys are still on the teams at play, but this was a good one. Late in the 2016-17 season, the Wizards were getting blown out by the Warriors when center JaVale McGee decided to shoot a three from the corner.

Wizards guard Brandon Jennings thought that crossed the line of good sportsmanship. Golden State was up big and there is an unwritten rule in basketball not to run up the score at the very end.

So, Jennings pushed McGee to the ground and afterwards both had a series of entertaining quotes about the matter. A league-wide debate about unwritten rules also broke out in the ensuing days.

Among the things said in the aftermath, Jennings pointed out how he could have done more.

"Thank God he didn't go to the rack," Jennings said. "It probably would have been worse for him... I'm old school. Like I said, he better be glad he shot that three and didn't go to the rack."

Oct. 27, 2018 - Draymond vs. Brad

Wizards fans should remember this well because it was the most recent spat between the teams. On Oct. 27 of last year, Bradley Beal and Draymond Green were both ejected for a fight at Oracle. It started after a missed shot with the Wizards on offense as both players were jockeying for position to grab the rebound.

They got tangled and ended up falling out of bounds into the stands in a tussle. Many players joined in on the fun.

Amazingly, neither Beal or Green were suspended. Others weren't as lucky, including Markieff Morris and Carrick Felix who stepped onto the court when they were supposed to remain on the bench. 

None of this is to suggest the Wizards and Warriors will be at each other's throats on Wednesday night, but history suggests it should be an entertaining game.

 

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