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No. 7 Georgia takes lead in SEC East division race

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No. 7 Georgia takes lead in SEC East division race

ATLANTA (AP) When it comes to Georgia's consecutive wins against Florida, Mark Richt is more focused on the implications for this year's race in the Southeastern Conference than any historical significance.

In fact, the coach seemed surprised Sunday when asked what it meant that his Bulldogs had beaten the Gators in two straight years for the first time since 1988-89.

``I just don't look at it that way,'' Richt said after a long pause. ``I just look at it as we play them once a year. One shot a year to get them. I always think about when we get to that game it has the type of meaning that it did have. You hope you're still in the race when you get to that game because it is deep enough into the season that you want it to be meaningful in the Eastern Division race for your team.''

Saturday's 17-9 win over the Gators certainly was an important victory for Georgia, which can win the division and earn its second straight trip to the conference championship game if it beats Mississippi and Auburn the next two weeks. The Bulldogs host Ole Miss on Saturday.

Richt said his players also are focused on a return to the SEC championship game in Atlanta. He said linebacker Jarvis Jones' thoughts turned to Ole Miss soon after he had 13 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries against Florida.

``Jarvis Jones said this victory really doesn't mean anything unless we keep winning,'' Richt said. ``Of course he's talking about the race to the Eastern Division. We know we've got to win. We know we've got to continue to play like we did this last game to really give us our best chance.''

Georgia (7-1, 5-1) moved up five spots Sunday to No. 7 in The Associated Press Top 25.

The Bulldogs trailed South Carolina and Florida in the Eastern Division after their 35-7 loss to the Gamecocks on Oct. 6. South Carolina's losses to LSU and Florida gave Georgia renewed hope.

Led by Jones, Georgia's defense forced six turnovers as the Bulldogs overcame three interceptions by Aaron Murray and 14 penalties for 132 yards. The defense responded to a challenge from senior safety Shawn Williams, who said the unit was playing soft.

``When I watched the film, it's a lot of guys playing physical, a lot of guys playing hard, playing really hard,'' Richt said. ``You could see the whole group hustling, gang-tackling. There were some great individual plays and they were kind of feeding off each other. It was exciting to watch as it happened and it was actually fun to watch the film.''

Georgia held the Gators without a touchdown for the first time since 1988 - Vince Dooley's final season as coach.

The Bulldogs dominated the rivalry under Dooley, but Saturday's win was only Georgia's fifth in the last 23 meetings. That's why Georgia fans celebrated the back-to-back victories, even if Richt maintained his tunnel vision.

``It's always going to be meaningful because it's a great rivalry game and it does mean a lot to our players and coaches and fan base, but I really don't think much about streaks and all that,'' he said.

Richt savored the win with his players on the field long after the game.

``It was awesome,'' Murray said. ``Everyone was going crazy. I felt like we were out there for 20 or 30 minutes. There isn't a better feeling.''

The focus then shifted to Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2), which has won two straight.

``We haven't won the East yet,'' Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo. ``We still have two more games left.''

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 19, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass rushers are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ pass rush productivity metric, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this we looked at the best teamsreceivers,running backs, and quarterbacks

1. Calais Campbell, Jaguars—If he gets a sack against the Redskins in Week 15, many fans will once again rue draft day in 2008 when the Redskins took both WR Devin Thomas and TE Fred Davis in the second round while Campbell was still on the board. He has been a consistent pass rusher since coming into the league, averaging eight sacks a season. Campbell is coming off of a career-high 14.5. 

2. Demarcus Lawrence, Cowboys—He had nine career sacks going into last year and then he broke out in a big way with 14.5. He got three sacks against the Redskins last year and has five in six career games. He actually ranked ahead of Campbell in the PFF pass rush metric, but I put Campbell ahead of him because we’re not sure if Lawrence is a great pass rusher or if he just peaked in his contract year. 

3. Chandler Jones, Cardinals—He posted double-digit sacks in four of the last five years including a league-leading 17 last season. His 2017 performance earned him first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. Jones does more than get sacks. He has 16 career forced fumbles; only five players have forced more since he came into the league in 2012.

4. J.J. Watt, Texans—Injuries have limited him to eight games over the past two seasons. Even if the missed time has him beneath his peak years of 2012-2015, when he was first-team All-Pro every year and defensive player of the year three times, he will be difficult to deal with. 

5. Brian Orakpo, Titans—His career with the Redskins was a mixed bag, with two Pro Bowls and two seasons with double-digit sacks. After Orakpo missed 23 games from 2012-2015, the Redskins didn’t make him a competitive contract offer and he left to sign with the Titans. He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons in Tennessee and has averaged eight sacks per season. 

Best of the rest: Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars; Clay Matthews, Packers; Vic Beasley, Falcons; Jason Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers; Cam Jordan, Saints

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

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Timeline 

Redskins six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was born on this date in 1988.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 7
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 21
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 44

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 52 days. 

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books. 

Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs. 

The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993. 

"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. 

Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.

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