No. 23 Michigan hopes to beat Iowa in home finale


No. 23 Michigan hopes to beat Iowa in home finale

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan's football program has 23 seniors who will go out as winners, a far cry from their first season.

``I wish I had been under this coaching staff for four years,'' Wolverines defensive tackle Will Campbell said.

Campbell came to campus during the Rich Rodriguez era and is finishing up under Brady Hoke. He and the other fourth-year players were one game under .500 during their first two seasons, but have gone a combined 18-5 this year and last.

The 23rd-ranked Wolverines (7-3, 5-1 Big Ten) hope to send the seniors out with a win against Iowa (4-6, 2-4) in their home finale Saturday.

Denard Robinson might not be on the field for a snap. The senior quarterback hasn't played for two-plus games because of nerve damage in his right elbow.

Hoke said he won't jeopardize his health just to let him play in his Big House finale.

``It won't have anything to do with it,'' Hoke said.

In relief of Robinson, junior Devin Gardner has played well. Gardner has thrown for 520 yards with four passing touchdowns and has three scores on the ground in two starts.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said his team has had to get ready for both Robinson and Gardner.

``It's two different preparations,'' he said. ``And, both of them are tough preparations.''

Robinson hasn't been available for interviews for weeks, but his teammates say he has stayed upbeat despite being stuck on the sideline toward the end of his spectacular career.

``He's a source of encouragement,'' guard Patrick Omahmeh said. ``Whatever he can do for the team, it is what he's going to do. Everybody wants to go out the way they dream when you came to Michigan, but we can't always get that.''

Michigan's fifth-year seniors saw a school-record nine losses up close in 2008 during Rodriguez's debut season. They have benefited from a coaching change that has worked out well for college football's winningest program. The Wolverines won 11 games last year and have a chance to win 10 games this year.

``We always knew we had good athletes and a lot of credit for that goes to coach Rod,'' senior safety Jordan Kovacs said. ``But coach Hoke has taken advantage of our talent and has run with it.''

Michigan, though, is desperately seeking the end to an eight-year drought without a Big Ten title.

To get into the conference championship game, the Wolverines need to beat Iowa and rival Ohio State and then hope Nebraska loses at home to Minnesota on Saturday or at Iowa next week.

Iowa has another scenario in mind.

After losing four straight for the first time since 2007 - the last time the Hawkeyes didn't end a season in a bowl game - they need to close the season with upsets against the Wolverines and Cornhuskers to be eligible for the postseason.

``I know our players are probably more disappointed and frustrated than anybody,'' Ferentz said.

Ferentz, though, said he's not fearing the possibility of ending the season with a six-game losing streak or worrying about the lasting impact this year has had on his proud program.

``I'll think about that stuff after the season,'' he said. ``Right now, we're just trying to beat Michigan.''

Lately, the Hawkeyes have been pretty good at that. They've won three straight for the first time in 100-plus year history of the series and five of the last eight games against the Wolverines.

Ferentz doesn't sound concerned about Michigan's motivation to send its seniors out with a win in their last game at the Big House.

``I'm sure it's a special thing, just like it will be here the week after,'' he said. ``But I think that wears off pretty quickly once the game gets going.''


Follow Larry Lage on Twitter:

Quick Links

Caps announce preseason schedule to kick off a busy week


Caps announce preseason schedule to kick off a busy week

The Stanley Cup champion Caps will open their seven-game exhibition schedule on Sept. 16 season against the Bruins at TD Garden, the team announced.  

Washington will face Boston, Carolina and St. Louis twice apiece—once on the road, once at home—and the 

Canadiens one time. The game against the Habs will be played at Videotron Arena in Quebec City.

NBC Sports Washington’s preseason broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the preseason entire slate:

Date                    Opponent           Location                      Time
Sun., Sept. 16      at Boston          TD Garden                  1 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 18    vs. Boston         Capital One Arena     7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 20  at Montreal      Quebec City, Que.      7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 21        at Carolina        PNC Arena                  7:30 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 25    at St. Louis        Enterprise Center      7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 28        vs. Carolina       Capital One Arena    7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 30      vs. St. Louis      Capital One Arena     3 p.m.

Monday's announcement kicked off a busy week for the Caps.

On Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin will pick up his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Nicklas Backstrom will also be on hand for media interviews; key members of the Cup-winning team are typically in attendance.

On Friday and Saturday in Dallas, Washington will make selections in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th rounds of the 2018 Entry Draft at American Airlines Center. (Their fifth-round pick was dealt to Minnesota in the Tyler Graovac deal.)

Next Monday, many of the organization’s prospects, including this year’s picks, will report to Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the start of development camp. The schedule and roster will be announced this week.


Quick Links

Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams drop slightly but still near top in MLB All-Star Game votes


Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams drop slightly but still near top in MLB All-Star Game votes

The MLB All-Star Game is at Nationals Park and is now less than a month away, so let's check in on how D.C.'s top players and fan favorites are doing in the voting. 

After the first National League All-Star Game ballot update last week, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams were the three Nationals among the top players receiving votes. And while that's still the case, they've all dropped one position since last week. Perhaps because of the Nats' recent slump?

Opening as the No. 1 outfielder, Harper is now No. 2 in the voting with 1,002,696 tallies, behind Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis with 1,173,653 votes. They are, however, the only two outfielders with more than a million votes and 2-of-5 overall in the voting. 

Adams — who was 14th among outfielders last week — slid one spot to No. 15 with 237,165 votes.

Last week, Turner was the No. 4 shortstop on the ballot, but he has since dropped to No. 4 with 279,071 votes. He's behind San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford, Braves' Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs' Addison Russell and Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story — who was the one to jump Turner this time around. 

If you're a Nats fan who doesn't like these results, don't worry. You can keep voting until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and you can vote up to five times every 24 hours. Read more about how to vote for your favorite players in the MLB All-Star Game HERE

The 2018 NL-AL matchup is in Washington, D.C. on July 17.