Redskins

No. 6 NC State beats Miami (Ohio) 97-59 in opener

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No. 6 NC State beats Miami (Ohio) 97-59 in opener

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Richard Howell had 16 points and 10 rebounds to help No. 6 North Carolina State beat Miami (Ohio) 97-59 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Lorenzo Brown added 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Wolfpack, who scored the game's first 10 points and led by 19 at halftime en route to an easy win that kicked off a season of high expectations. N.C. State did nothing to diminish fan excitement that had built since being named the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference favorite for the first time in nearly four decades, shooting 61 percent and leading by 43 points for its 19th straight season-opening victory.

Allen Roberts scored 16 points for Miami, which shot 22 percent in the first half and finished at 32 percent in the first game under new coach John Cooper.

N.C. State's veterans took charge in this one. While Howell and Brown had big games, preseason ACC player of the year C.J. Leslie added 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. In fact, the trio was outscoring the RedHawks entire team until midway through the second half.

Freshman guard Rodney Purvis earned the start and finished with 16 points, while senior Scott Wood added 10.

The No. 6 ranking marked a stunningly fast rise for the Wolfpack under second-year coach Mark Gottfried, who inherited a program that hadn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2006. Gottfried led N.C. State to 24 wins - its best total in 24 years - and took eventual finalist Kansas to the final seconds in a loss in last year's NCAA round of 16, ending a 24-win season that stood as the program's best since 1988.

He said his players would have to learn how to play with the pressure of higher expectations this year, from his four returning starters to the touted three-man recruiting class of Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis. They all responded, constantly getting out in transition for easy baskets and a 31-8 edge in fast break points - including when Lewis threw a behind-the-back pass to Warren on the break for a second-half layup as the Wolfpack turned it into a romp.

N.C. State jumped out to a 10-0 lead, ending the spurt with a 3-pointer from Wood. Then the Wolfpack broke off a 12-2 runs ending with Brown finding a trailing Howell for a transition layup that sent N.C. State into the locker room with a 41-22 lead.

The RedHawks got no closer than 16 in the first minute after the break.

It was the first sellout for a Wolfpack season opener since 1999 against Georgia, which was also the first game in the PNC Arena.

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Instant analysis: 5 field goals lift Redskins past Jets

Instant analysis: 5 field goals lift Redskins past Jets

LANDOVER, MD — Here is my instant analysis of the Redskins’ 15-13 preseason win over the New York Jets.

— Alex Smith started the game and so did most of the other players who are expected to start Week 1. Rob Kelley was at running back, Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson lined up at receiver, and the offensive line was intact — with the exception of Geron Christian playing left tackle. Vernon Davis was the tight end. 

— Smith moved the team efficiently on the first drive, completing four of six passes for 48 yards. He converted one third-and-9 by finding Doctson in a big soft spot in the Jets’ zone for 11 yards. On third-and-goal at the 4, he threw a pass a little behind Trey Quinn; it was catchable but not easy and Quinn couldn’t handle it. A field goal made it 3-0. After that 11-play, 71-yard drive, Smith and most of the rest of the offensive starters left the game. 

— Ten of the 11 regular defenders started the game, the exception being Matt Ioannidis. In his first series in a Redskins uniform, Daron Payne stopped the drive with a sack on third down. After that three-and-out, they weren’t as effective against Sam Darnold on their second possession. The rookie was sharp leading a 12-play, 42-yard field goal drive. 

— The first time Samaje Perine touched the ball, he ran for 30 yards off left tackle, following a nice block from J.P. Holtz, a tight end who was lined up at fullback. Since they released the only fullback on the roster last week, TE as FB is likely to be the plan. Perine then left the game with an ankle injury. He did not return. 

— There were some special teams gaffes in the first half. Dustin Hopkins hit the right upright on a 35-yard field goal try but it went through. On the ensuing kickoff, though, the kick went out of bounds. Later on, Byron Marshall put the ball on the ground on a kickoff return but replay showed it that he was down. So there was one costly miscue and two near-misses. 

— The Redskins backup defensive unit was back on its heels in a second-quarter drive with most of the Jets’ offensive starters in. They ended the drive when Danny Johnson make a good tackle to force a third and one. The Jets went for it and Darnold’s pass was tipped by Deshazor Everett and intercepted by Troy Apke. Tim Settle dominated in the middle, usually matched up against former Redskins center Spencer Long. 

— It was bad news, then good news for rookie WR Cam Sims in the second quarter. First he had a pass in his hands for a first down in the red zone but the ball popped out without him being touched and the pass was picked off. On the Redskins’ next possession he made a nice catch between two defenders for a 27-yard gain on third-and-10. Later in the drive he made a leaping catch in the end zone, but a penalty negated the TD. He has been inconsistent in practice in Richmond and is carrying over. 

— The Redskins had some red zone woes in the first half. The had three shots from there and settled for field goals every time. They also had the situation where Sims had the pass in his hands in the red zone before it popped out for an interception. 

— Long shot Martez Carter got his name on the board with a runs of nine and then 30 yards, showing blazing speed around the corner on both runs. He remains a long shot but speed like that will get you some attention. 

— Third QB Kevin Hogan was able to lead a scoring drive on his first possession but it was done mostly via Carter’s runs and the first application of the new helmet rule in a Redskins’ game this preseason, a flag that went against the Jets. The next two possessions he went two for three for seven yards and the Redskins went three and out both times. 

— The Jets kicked a late field goal to take a 13-12 lead. Hogan had a chance to bring them back and got them into Jets territory. Then Cam Sims made a 20-yard grab to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt. Hopkins hit it as time ran out to give the home team a 15-13 lead. 

— The win doesn’t mean anything but it’s always more fun to win than to lose. 

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

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Washington Nationals announce the addition of a bullpen cart

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USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals announce the addition of a bullpen cart

Sean Doolittle has gotten his wish - the Washington Nationals will now have a bullpen cart for the remainder of the 2018 season. 

In a release on Thursday, the Nationals announced that they will unveil a the WGL Energy Bullpen Cart on their upcoming Friday night game against the Miami Marlins. The cart will be at all remaining home games at Nationals Park.

Both the Nationals’ pitchers and opponents will be able to utilize the cart to enter a game as a reliever. The cart will transport the relief pitcher from the bullpen to their dugout instead of the traditional long trout out to the mound. 

Players are not required to use the vehicle if they do not want to. 

Earlier this season, Doolittle was the first National ever to use the bullpen cart at Chase Field, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Afterward, he noted that although he had less time, he was not out of breath and “loved it.”

In addition to the Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals are the third active team to have a bullpen cart. Per the release, this is the first season that the bullpen cart has been used in MLB since 1995.

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