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No. 25 Bulldogs, Rebels set for Egg Bowl rivalry

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No. 25 Bulldogs, Rebels set for Egg Bowl rivalry

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) There's much at stake in this year's Egg Bowl.

No. 25 Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) is trying to win four in a row in the rivalry for the first time since the 1940s when the teams meet on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi (5-6, 2-5) is one victory away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009.

Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said what makes the rivalry so special is there aren't many areas of the Magnolia State that are dominated by one of the two fan bases. Instead, there are Bulldogs and Rebels sprinkled together in almost every city.

There's no avoiding the other group.

``It's a neighbor-to-neighbor (rivalry), which makes it an even bigger game,'' Mullen said.

First-year Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze is well of aware of the demographics.

He grew up outside of Senatobia, Miss., which is about a 45-minute drive from Oxford, and his personal experience with the rivalry is longstanding.

And he badly wants the Golden Egg to make a return to Oxford.

``I actually have family members that are on the other side,'' Freeze said. ``I have great respect for some coaches down there, also. I won't get into the name calling. We have great respect for them. We want to beat them as bad as they want to beat us. I understand the impact it has on the program, our fans and the people of this state. We're going to go about it the right way and try to beat them that badly on Saturday.''

Ole Miss might love a lopsided win, but oddsmakers see the game as a close one, giving the Rebels a slight edge.

Mississippi State recovered from a three-game losing streak last weekend by beating Arkansas 45-14 in Starkville. The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Tyler Russell, who has thrown for 2,503 yards and 21 touchdowns and already owns several single-season passing records.

The Rebels will counter with an undersized but speedy defense that is second in the SEC with 31 sacks. Linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is the poster child, a 5-foot-11, 203-pound redshirt freshman who leads the Rebels with 12 tackles for a loss.

``They have a really good defense,'' Russell said. ``We have to go play. I feel like if we do the things we need to do, we will take care of business. If not, we won't.''

The issue for Ole Miss has been playing four good quarters. The Rebels have had a late lead against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and LSU this season, but let all three games get away.

There are certainly valid excuses for the late breakdowns. Ole Miss is young in several spots and doesn't have much depth.

But players say those shortcomings shouldn't matter, especially when it comes to the Egg Bowl and earning a chance at the postseason.

``We're definitely ready,'' Ole Miss offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray said. ``We have a lot of coaches that played for the university, so they have the same passion ... It's a little more intense, but it's still calm. You don't want to be overemotional.''

Even though he's from the northeast, Mullen has always been passionate about the rivalry during his four years in Mississippi. He's seen firsthand how it can hit close to home.

His neighbor in Starkville is an Ole Miss fan. And when Mullen's 3-year-old went to visit his friends next door last week, Canon Mullen was rooting for ``The School Up North.''

Albeit against LSU.

Canon and the neighbor's children were all watching SEC football like a lot of kids in this state and several were rooting for the Rebels to beat the Tigers.

``Since we lost to LSU the week before, he was not real high on LSU at that point,'' Mullen said with a grin. ``He wouldn't mind seeing them lose.''

But that'll change Saturday. Now it's the Rebels who are the enemy.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.comd/davidbrandtAP

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon, or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

Check out the latest news and notes on the Baltimore Orioles

Player Updates:

Even in a loss, the night belonged to OF Anthony Santander who went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple and two runs scored. Santander tripled and scored during the Orioles' five-run rally in the third inning. He then tagged Rick Porcello for a solo shot in the fifth that pulled the Orioles to within 10 runs at 16-6. It was the first four-hit game of the young outfielder's career. 

SP Thomas Eshelman had a rough day on the mound giving up nine runs (five earned) on six hits over 3 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander also issued three walks while striking out three. He struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark in this one, giving up home runs to Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts before departing in the fourth. 

Due to Pedro Severino's illness, the Orioles optioned C Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk. He has played in 16 games for the O's this year with a .233 batting average, zero homers and three RBI in 47 plate appearances.

Injuries:

C Pedro Severino: Illness, Day-to-day

SP Dylan Bundy: Knee, 10-day Injured List

RP Josh Rogers: Elbow, 10-day Injured List

OF DJ Stewart: Ankle, 10-day Injured List

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-day Injured List

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-day Injured List

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-day Injured List

Coming Up:

Sunday 7/21: Orioles vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Monday 7/22: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Tuesday 7/23: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Source: Rotoworld

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