Nationals

Northwestern-Penn State Preview Capsule

Northwestern-Penn State Preview Capsule

No. 24 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at Penn State (3-2, 1-0), Noon (ESPN)

Line: Penn State by 2 1/2.

Series Record: Penn State leads 12-3.

WHAT'S AT STAKE:

Back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2008, Northwestern is trying for its first 6-0 start since 1962. Beat a streaking Penn State team on the road and the Wildcats might need to be taken more seriously as a Legends Division title contender. Penn State is trying for its fourth straight win under new coach Bill O'Brien. A homecoming weekend victory against Northwestern's tricky offense would give O'Brien's Lions a confidence boost heading into their bye week.

KEY MATCHUP:

Northwestern front seven vs. Penn State running game. The Wildcats can move the ball. That's a given. Defense is another story. Northwestern is last in the Big Ten against the pass but first against the run, albeit against some questionable competition. With their running game finding its stride behind bruising 6-foot-1 sophomore Zach Zwinak, the Nittany Lions might try to play keep-away from the Wildcats' exhausting offense with their own long, sustained drives.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Northwestern: QB Kain Colter. The ``slash'' is back for the Northwestern offense. After playing strictly quarterback over the season's first four games, Colter returned to the quarterback-receiver role he played in 2011 in last week's 44-29 win over Indiana. The result? Nearly 300 all-purpose yards and four rushing touchdowns. Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof and his players will have to keep close watch on where Colter is lined up at all times.

Penn State: OLBs Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti. Northwestern's spread offense forces defenders to make open-field stops in space. The athletic Hodges and the fiery, heady Mauti are two of the top linebackers in the Big Ten and play nearly every down. They'll be counted on to keep up with Colter and again spark Penn State's opportunistic defense (11 turnovers).

FACTS & FIGURES

The unstoppable force meets the immovable object: Northwestern leads the Big Ten in red zone offense with a 92 percent conversion rate (13 touchdowns); Penn State leads the league in red zone defense (61 percent, six touchdowns). ... The Wildcats had a school-record 704 yards of total offense last week against the Hoosiers. ... Northwestern had first-half leads over Penn State in the teams' previous three meetings before being turned away late by the NIittany Lions. ... Penn State has outscored opponents 49-0 in the first quarter this season and 76-9 in the first half. ... QB Matt McGloin leads the Big Ten in passing (243 yards per game). He's also scored on four quarterback sneaks to lead the team in rushing touchdowns.

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3

ATLANTA -- Josh Donaldson's bases-loaded single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night after Luke Jackson allowed a tying, two-run homer to Victor Robles in the top half.

Ronald Acuna Jr., who had three hits, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Rodney (0-3) and took second on Dansby Swanson's single. Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches, loading the bases.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in left fielder Juan Soto as a fifth infielder, including three on the left side against the right-handed hitting Donaldson.

Donaldson hit a 2-0 pitch over Robles to center-field warning track, and the Braves boosted their NL East lead to 6 games over the second-place Nationals. Atlanta had lost its previous five home games against Washington.

Robles' homer went 446 feet to left, giving Jackson his seventh blown save in 24 chances.

Julio Teheran gave up one hit through five scoreless innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters before pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra singled with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rendon chased Teheran with a two-out RBI single.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin couldn't win on his 30th birthday while paired with catcher Yan Gomes, who turned 32. Corbin and Gomes became only the second pitcher-catcher tandem to start together on their birthdays since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago Cubs pitcher Dave Hillman and catcher Jim Fanning did it against Pittsburgh on Sept. 14, 1957.

Corbin allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out Ozzie Albies with the bases loaded in the first and fanned Albies to end the fifth with two out.

Albies hit a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Austin Riley's double. Freeman was 2 for 20 in his career against Corbin before his RBI single in the fifth.

Acuna's RBI double against Tanner Rainey gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer, on the 10-day IL since July 10 with an injury originally announced as a mid-back strain, was given a cortisone shot on Tuesday to address inflammation in the bursa sac under his right shoulder blade. Scherzer still has some discomfort and must throw a bullpen session before cleared to pitch in a game. With Scherzer unavailable, RHP Austin Voth is expected to start in Sunday night's series finale.

Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut Saturday. RHP Wes Parsons also was recalled from Gwinnett. RHPs Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint were optioned to Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.71) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Braves, his former team.

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (10-1, 2.24) will try to win his sixth straight decision on Saturday night. The 21-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to be selected an All-Star.

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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