Orioles

No. 23 Texas Tech tries to erase worst loss ever

No. 23 Texas Tech tries to erase worst loss ever

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Tommy Tuberville's attempt to build No. 23 Texas Tech back into a regular Big 12 contender and a player on the national stage reaches a checkpoint Saturday at Oklahoma State.

The Red Raiders (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) hit rock bottom during Tuberville's second season with a 66-6 blowout loss to the Cowboys, the most lopsided defeat in the program's history.

NFL-bound quarterback Brandon Weeden shredded the Tech defense and endured a biting wind far better than counterpart Seth Doege, who enters this weekend's game as the nation's fourth-leading passer - and with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

``It was an embarrassment, I think, for the entire program,'' Doege said. ``I mean, they were probably the better football team last year, but there was no reason that it should have been that lopsided. ... I probably played one of my worst games I've ever played, and the defense didn't play a very good game either. It was just all around. It was just a terrible football game by us.''

This time around, both teams are neck-and-neck in the Big 12 standings, posturing for a better postseason destination after locking up bowl eligibility early. Oklahoma State (6-3, 4-2) has fallen out of contention for a second straight conference championship despite finding ways to win with three different starting quarterbacks this season.

While Weeden and fellow first-round NFL draft pick Justin Blackmon are gone, there are plenty of holdovers who remember everything about what receiver Charlie Moore called ``the massacre.''

``It was one of those things when everything went right for us and everything went wrong for them. The chance of that happening again is a million to one,'' Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young said.

``They're going to be up for us. If I were in that situation, I'd keep that picture on my desk every day.''

For Tech, the memories are horrendous. The Red Raiders turned it over three times in the first half, including a fumble on a kickoff that Josh Stewart picked up for a touchdown and a 35-0 lead in the first quarter.

``I try to wash that out of my mind,'' Texas Tech safety D.J. Johnson said. ``That was a tough one, man. I've never in my wildest dreams even - or nightmares even - imagined getting beat like that. ... We remember what happened last year, and we definitely want to make sure that that doesn't occur again. If possible, we want to reverse it, and make it occur the other way.''

While giving the Red Raiders all kinds of credit for improving - coach Mike Gundy called them ``completely different'' - the Cowboys would like nothing more than a repeat performance.

``From the get-go, it just got out of hand. It was just one of those games. We blew them out, but at the same time we got ahead of them so quick we just took them out of the game. That's always the goal,'' Moore said. ``Hopefully we can do that this week. That would be awesome.''

``We'd love that,'' defensive end Ryan Robinson added, ``especially to help our seniors go out with a bang.''

It should be more difficult this time, with Texas Tech's defense giving up the fewest yards of any Big 12 team. Oklahoma State counters with the conference's highest-scoring offense.

``They were embarrassed last year and when you're embarrassed you'll work even harder so we know they'll come in and give us their best game,'' OSU defensive end Cooper Bassett said. ``They're going to be a bunch of ticked off guys coming in here.''

The Red Raiders will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak in the series and win in Stillwater for the first time since 2001, before the stadium was named after Boone Pickens and renovated. For seniors like Johnson and Doege, there's a desire to keep from getting swept throughout their career by the Cowboys - even more so after last season.

``We're a totally different football team than we were last year,'' Doege said. ``I don't think we'll lay an egg like that ever again.''

In a recurring theme for Oklahoma State, there's some mystery as to who will start at quarterback. Clint Chelf got the call last week against West Virginia, leading the Cowboys to victory with starter Wes Lunt and backup J.W. Walsh both hurt.

As the only one who's remained healthy all season, he could be the favorite to start again.

``He's kind of on fire right now but he's being real humble, he's working hard and watching extra film,'' Moore said. ``Hopefully, he'll put up some big numbers again this week.''

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Orioles' past and future intersect during jam-packed day at Camden Yards

Orioles' past and future intersect during jam-packed day at Camden Yards

If you were looking for a moment in Tuesday’s game that exemplified the proverbial passing of the torch in Baltimore, it came early.

In the top of the third inning, past Oriole superstar Manny Machado crushed his 100th career Camden Yards home run. It was especially fitting that the ball traveled far enough (455 feet, to be exact) to land in the *visitor* bullpen.

In the middle of the fourth inning, future Oriole superstar (fingers crossed) Adley Rutschman was introduced to a sea of adoring fans wearing orange and black, a sight the former Oregon State Beaver is all too familiar with.

It was hard to tell which player received the louder ovation. The fact that both players, neither of whom was playing for the Orioles Tuesday night, elicited such receptions highlights the crossroads this franchise finds itself at.

Manager Brandon Hyde spoke to this effect pregame.

“Obviously when the game starts I’m going to try to win the game and go with the guys we have,” Hyde told reporters. “I’m also looking at the big picture. I think everybody is really aware of where we are organizationally. It’s the start of the process we laid out months ago. Anytime we get extremely talented guys in our organization, it’s bright, and it feels good, and there’s excitement. And I totally understand it and I feel that too.”

Fans could be forgiven for forgetting there was even a game to be played Tuesday evening, with the excitement surrounding Rutschman’s introduction and the long-building buzz for Machado’s return coinciding on the same day. That can be true of the state of the franchise overall right now.

It’s easy to talk about top draft picks and high-level prospects in the minors, but there are games going on every night for the big league club as well. But with another historic season taking place on the field, it’s much more appealing to look elsewhere.

Adley Rutschman provides a level of hope fans can’t get from the Major League roster, and Hyde recognizes that.

“We’re just looking to get talent, guys that can be impact players,” Hyde explained. “You don’t want to label a guy or put too much pressure on someone, but obviously he’s done a lot of really good things at the amateur level and we’re really excited to have him in our organization. So there’s a lot of excitement.”

The Orioles manager came to Baltimore from a Chicago Cubs franchise known for developing high-end talent.

“I was the farm director when we drafted Bryant, obviously saw Almora and Baez and all those guys,” Hyde answered when asked how Rutschman compares. “He’s along those lines of being a real mature kid, looking forward to go play, you can tell he’s really excited and we’re obviously looking forward to getting him going and watching him play.”

Of course, it’s not just former Cubs prospects who have provided a template for success Rutschman can follow. Somebody a little closer to home just so happened to be sitting in the third base dugout Tuesday night.

“Just soak it all in, enjoy it all," Manny Machado told the media to laughter when asked what advice he would give Rutschman. "You know I wasn’t a number one overall pick, so it’s different. I mean just enjoy yourself. It’s an opportunity that he worked for his entire life to get to that situation, he finally got drafted by a ballclub...the only advice I can give is to continue to have fun, just enjoy yourself every moment of the way and just keep working as hard as you possibly can to reach your goals. Just because you got picked, one of those goals is scratched off, but there’s so many more to be accomplished. Just keep working as hard as you can to be the best person you can be, the best ballplayer you can be, and everything else will just take care of itself.”

It’s a mature response from a matured player, one who not too long ago found himself in the same position as Rutschman: top prospect for a franchise desperate to field a winner.

Trying to build that winner is GM Mike Elias, who emphasized just how critical bringing in a player like Rutschman is.

“This was the biggest decision this organization is going to make this year, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome,” Elias said Tuesday. “We’re looking for building blocks and found a big piece of that with Adley.”

It’s going to be a few years until Rutschman is able to truly take over the mantle of face of the Orioles. As Hyde reminded the media, “it’s still so far away.”

For now, Rutschman will have to settle for face of the rebuild, a position Machado was all-too-familiar with. 

But even an elongated timeline couldn’t keep Tuesday from feeling like a milestone in the history of the franchise, at the intersection of it’s past, present and future. It was a figurative passing of the torch, if not a literal one.

It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Fans at the park felt that as they welcomed back Manny Machado with open arms.

And if their warm reception for Adley Rutschman is any indication, they are more than ready to love again.

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

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Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.

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