Nationals

No. 7 Georgia wary of letdown against Ole Miss

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No. 7 Georgia wary of letdown against Ole Miss

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Tavarres King scoffs at the idea Georgia players could have difficulty playing with the same intensity in Saturday's game against Mississippi that they showed in last week's upset of then-No. 3 Florida.

The 17-9 win over the Gators gave No. 7 Georgia control of the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division. To earn a repeat trip to the SEC championship game, quarterback Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1) must beat Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) and then win at Auburn next week.

King, the senior receiver, says Georgia's control of its fate in the division is a precious prize and ample incentive against the Rebels.

King had a quick answer when asked if Georgia players had more motivation last week than against Ole Miss.

``Heck no,'' King said. ``It is ours. We know that. We want it to stay ours.''

The high-scoring Rebels, with their fast-paced, no-huddle offense, could be a dangerous opponent for even a properly motivated Georgia team.

Ole Miss will be playing to extend a two-game winning streak and qualify for a bowl in coach Hugh Freeze's first season.

The Rebels scored a combined 71 points in back-to-back wins over Auburn and Arkansas. Georgia also runs a no-huddle offense, but coach Mark Richt said Ole Miss, led by quarterback Bo Wallace, runs the offense at a faster pace.

``They just have a really good offensive package and a good scheme,'' Richt said. ``It's a challenging, balanced attack. They're very high tempo and you have to get lined up in a hurry when you play these guys. They'll sub some, but to go as fast as they go, they're doing it without doing a lot of subbing at times.

``Our biggest challenge is just going to be to line up and get ready because they've caught a lot of people not being ready and they've taken advantage of that.''

Georgia's defense re-emerged in the win over Florida after a string of shaky performances, including an ugly 35-7 loss to South Carolina. Players and coaches said the main problem on defense before the Florida game had been poor communication and difficulty having all players in the proper alignment.

There will be little time for communication on defense against the Rebels.

Freeze said running the no-huddle offense can be a gamble if the Rebels are stopped on three downs. Quick punts can put too much pressure on Mississippi's defense against a balanced Georgia offense.

Freeze said ``it is very tempting'' to make a full commitment to the high-tempo pace, but he said he has to remain aware of the risks.

``These games are so long,'' Freeze said. ``When you're playing teams like Georgia, who has those receivers and running backs, every time they touch it you hold your breath thinking they could score. I have a defensive staff that will hope you can slow this one down a little bit. It's a balancing act.''

Freeze said he will have only about 64 healthy players against Georgia.

``If we were a little deeper in the secondary and at defensive end, it would be even more tempting,'' he said. ``It's still tempting. It's not going to be effective all of the time, and you know when it's not effective you're going to be out there a span of about 40-45 seconds. Certainly Georgia has the type of players and coaches that are going to make it unsuccessful at times. ... I'm not confident that we're deep enough to go score 60 against Georgia to win a game.''

Wallace set career highs with 29 completions and 37 attempts and passed for 278 yards with a touchdown in the 30-27 win at Arkansas.

The Rebels, who are averaging 32.4 points, already have surpassed their 2011 totals for wins, total yards, points and yards passing.

Murray threw three interceptions as the Georgia offense struggled against Florida.

``Definitely some errors,'' Murray said. ``A lot of it had to do with my footwork. I wasn't balanced. That was something I prided myself on in the offseason and in camp on getting better on, and I might have taken a slight step backward in that category this past week.''

The Bulldogs haven't regained their momentum after scoring 40 or more points in their first five games.

The offense took a hit when leading receiver Michael Bennett was lost with a right knee injury early in October. Murray still has a deep group of receivers, especially with Malcolm Mitchell becoming more comfortable in his return to offense after opening the season at cornerback.

Mitchell had five catches for 74 yards, including Murray's only touchdown pass, against Florida.

Freshman tailback Todd Gurley, who ran for 118 yards and a touchdown against Florida, is on pace to top 1,000 yards.

``Once we get our passing back on track like it was at the start of the season, and have him running the way he does, I expect we'll hit on all cylinders and have those 40 and 50-point games like we did at the start of the season,'' Murray said.

Keith Marshall, another freshman, is the other half of the ``Gurshall'' duo.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

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