Capitals

No. 22 La. Tech seeks offensive rebound vs. UTSA

No. 22 La. Tech seeks offensive rebound vs. UTSA

RUSTON, La. (AP) Off to one of the best starts in school history, No. 22 Louisiana Tech is starting to dream about perhaps even getting the school's first bid to one of the BCS bowls.

To do so the Bulldogs - holding their highest ranking every -must stay on the path toward their second-straight Western Athletic Conference title. They need to remain perfect in league play, and the next step toward those goals comes this Saturday when they host Texas-San Antonio.

The Bulldogs (7-1, 2-0 WAC) boasted the nation's top-scoring offense prior to last week's game against New Mexico State, when they scored a season-low 28 points in the victory over the Aggies. Louisiana Tech still ranks second nationally in scoring, now averaging 52.6 points.

``It was good for us to be challenged that way,'' Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes said of his team's relative offensive stumbles last week. ``We probably had a little bit of the sense that we could just roll the ball out there and score 50, 60 points. I think that the game proved that we could not. We dropped really two touchdown passes, missed three field goals and stopped at the 1-yard line. So, if you do those things, you typically get beat.

``We have to play better on offense. That will be something we have to improve on this week and continue to get better on defense.''

Dykes said he expects vigorous resistance from UTSA in the first meeting between the two schools - even though the Roadrunners (5-3, 1-2), now in only their second season as a football program, are more than four-touchdown underdogs.

``They are actually a good football team,'' Dykes said. ``You can see them improving. I think what has happened is they played a pretty favorable schedule early and gained a little confidence. I really think they did a smart thing scheduling and got some confidence, and then they played some of the better teams in the WAC.''

Looking to snap a three-game losing streak after starting the season off 5-0, things are not going to get any easier for UTSA and coach Larry Coker.

``Losing is tough and it will wear on you,'' Coker said. ``We have had great individual performance, but now we need to have a great team performance. We are doing some good things, but we have to make sure not to give up the big plays on defense. We also need to run the football.''

The Roadrunners will try to pull off the upset with redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Polite making only his third career start.

``Ryan had a pretty decent game'' last week, Coker said. ``But we need to help him out with the running game. ...We really have no margin for error, and we can't keep spotting teams points. We can't keep putting our defense in a hole.''

Louisiana tech, by contrast, has a strong running game led by Kenneth Dixon, who has 864 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing this season.

And the Bulldogs have no issues with a lack of experience under center, with senior quarterback Colby Cameron having one of the top seasons of any quarterback in the country.

On the watch list of virtually every quarterback award this season, Cameron has completed 225 of 319 passes for 2,598 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has yet to throw an interception, which Coker noted, ``is amazing considering how much they throw the ball.''

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

usatsi_10850115.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

payne-allen_otas_tandler.png
NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 25, 62 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Trades, misses and mistakes explain Redskins' dead cap—This post does a good job of outlining where the Redskins’ dead cap came from. It should be noted that dead cap is a part of the cost of doing business in the NFL and the Redskins have done fairly well managing it this year. Only about a dozen teams have less dead cap on the books than the Redskins $5.2 million. 

Tandler's Take—The best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2018 Redskins—I received some comments saying that my worst-case scenario, a 6-10 finish, is not low enough. Since we’re talking about events that won’t begin to happen for about three and a half months, I can’t really argue with them. But it’s just hard for me to see them dropping more than a game from last year when they were hit harder with injuries than any other team in the NFL. 

Pre-OTAs Redskins player one-liners, defense—An extension for Matt Ioannidis seemed preposterous a year ago, now it seems like a good idea. How many sacks for Lanier? When will Ryan Anderson get his first sack? Plus offensive player one-liners here

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp—You can’t tell everything from OTAs, but you can tell some things. Taking another look at this post, I gave a good, detailed look at the session, but I didn’t really mention the overall feel, which was fun and energetic. 

Tweet of the week

Certainly, Derrius Guice is the fan favorite of the rookie class. But the great reaction to this tweet shows that there is plenty of love for Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, last year’s top pick. 

In 2016, the starting defensive line consisted of Ricky Jean Francois, Chris Baker, and  Ziggy Hood. The top reserve was Cullen Jenkins. They all had their good qualities and made some plays. But Baker was the youngster of the group and he turned 30 during the season. It clearly was a group on the decline. 

Two years later, the picture is quite different. Payne and Allen lead a younger group that will get better over the next few years. Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Tim Settle, and Stacy McGee should round out the group. McGee is by far the senior member of the group at age 28. None of the others have celebrated his 25thbirthday yet. 

Fans should perhaps temper their optimism with the knowledge that potential doesn’t always develop into performance. But unlike years past there is something to look forward to. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 18
—Training camp starts (7/26) 62
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 76

The Redskins last played a game 145 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 107 days. 

In case you missed it

[embed] <iframe src="https://art19.com/shows/redskin-talk/episodes/97f8d46f-bc10-4563-8bc5-a4e3cfd2f98e/embed?theme=light-custom" style="width: 100%; height: 200px; border: 0 none;" scrolling="no"></iframe> {/embed]