Capitals

No. 22 Cowboys get behind 'Choo Choo' Chelf at QB

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No. 22 Cowboys get behind 'Choo Choo' Chelf at QB

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) No matter who's at quarterback, the offense has chugged right along this season for No. 22 Oklahoma State.

The engineer these days is Clint ``Choo Choo'' Chelf, the third-stringer who has gone from practically unknown to cult hero in a matter of weeks.

Once forgotten at the bottom of the depth chart, Chelf was thrust into the starter's role after Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh both got hurt. After back-to-back wins in the first two starts of his career, Chelf is the starter after coach Mike Gundy spent the past two months trying to keep it a secret who'd take the snaps from game to game.

``Whatever train he's driving, I'm getting on,'' Gundy said Monday.

The ``Choo Choo'' Chelf concept was sparked by a profanity-laced Internet post that was jokingly attributed to him leading up to Oklahoma State's game against West Virginia two weeks ago. With uncertainty over whether Lunt would be able to play, the possibility arose that Chelf would finally get a real chance after backing up first-round NFL draft pick Brandon Weeden the past two seasons.

A Chelf-related hashtag trended on Twitter as he threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Mountaineers, and center Evan Epstein only encouraged it after the game with his tweet: ``All Aboard!''

``I think it's hilarious,'' Chelf said. ``I think it's great any time they can take something and run with it. It just happens to be about me, I guess. I think it's funny.''

Making it all the more comical is that the boisterous, all-caps expletive rant couldn't be more different from Chelf's actual mild-mannered, unassuming personality. When asked if he was looking forward to starting in the Bedlam game, Chelf answered simply: ``Absolutely.''

No bragging about Oklahoma State's potential to win back-to-back games in the series. No trash talk.

``He's not a guy that's going to be running in there head-butting guys like a train ... pumping his fist,'' defensive end Cooper Bassett said. ``He's more like a quiet competitor, and he'll celebrate with his teammates, but he very rarely tries to get the attention on himself, which is the sign of a great leader and a great competitor.''

Gundy said part of his rationale in naming Chelf the starter at this point is the groundswell of support for him not just in public, but on the team.

``I think the guys are behind him,'' Gundy said.

Chelf's story is one of perseverance. His only chances to play over the past couple seasons were in garbage time, taking meaningless snaps after Weeden and the first-teamers had victory well in hand.

He finished third in the three-way competition with the freshman Lunt and redshirt freshman Walsh in the spring, and there didn't seem to be a light at the end of his tunnel. Yet the junior didn't quit or transfer somewhere else where he'd be more assured of playing time.

``For me, I don't really feel like it's any type of feel-good story. There's a lot of stories around college football that are a lot more exciting and better than mine,'' Chelf said. ``I just was a player that got beat out and stuck with it and got a chance. I'm happy that it happened.''

Chelf grew up in a divided household in Enid, about an hour's drive west of the Oklahoma State campus in north-central Oklahoma. His mother's family supported the Sooners, his dad's side the Cowboys and he attended games at both stadiums.

As he was getting recruited by OSU in high school, he really started to pick sides. His older brother, Colton, also walked on as a wide receiver for the Cowboys.

Now, he'll be the one in the spotlight when Bedlam rolls around.

``Any time that you can get on a stage like that and perform well, you want to do it. There's a lot of times when I said, `I hope that can be me some day,''' Chelf said.

With all the sudden attention, Chelf said he's not the big man on campus - perhaps because he's nearing graduation and only has one class a day, with the rest online. With social media, though, his stardom is well-known.

``I saw it on Twitter and it just kind of blew up after that,'' receiver Isaiah Anderson said. ``I've seen people with conductor hats on and train whistles. It's ridiculous, but I'm happy that he's kind of getting out there like that, and I'm pretty sure he's enjoying it too.''

At practice, his teammates will yell ``choo choo'' at him and Bassett even caught himself celebrating a Cowboys touchdown pass by pumping his fist as though he were pulling on a train whistle.

``It's really taken off. It's only about a week old, but he's already got shirts made for him,'' guard Lane Taylor said. ``It's crazy. I've never seen anything take off like this before.''

Bizarre as it may be, the Cowboys just hope Chelf doesn't get derailed any time soon.

``If that makes him play better, then I'm all for it because he's done a great job being known as the Clint Chelf `Choo Choo' Train,'' Bassett said. ``So, we'll ride that train the rest of the season and hopefully it'll carry us to a few more wins.''

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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USA TODAY Sports

Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.