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Notre Dame line prepares for physical Stanford

Notre Dame line prepares for physical Stanford

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame's offensive linemen want to prove something against No. 17 Stanford after being pushed around by the Cardinal the past two seasons.

Stanford (4-1) held the Irish to a total of 101 yards rushing in those two meetings, winning both games by two touchdowns or more. The Fighting Irish (5-0) are ranked No. 7 now, off to their best start in a decade, and are eager to show times have changed.

Left tackle Zack Martin sees the game against the Cardinal as an opportunity.

``We've watched the tape against us the last two years and everyone they've played, and they've just beaten them up upfront,'' Martin said. ``It's an opportunity for us to go out and prove to everyone we're a tough, physical line that can be consistent and not get pushed around. That's what we're shooting for.''

The Irish have been inconsistent in the run game this season. They rushed for 293 yards against Navy in the season opener and for 376 yards against Miami on Saturday, their best total in 12 years. But the Midshipmen were undersized and the Hurricanes have one of the nation's worst rushing defenses.

The Irish managed just 52 yards rushing against Purdue, 122 against Michigan State and 94 against Michigan, numbers that aren't going to sway anyone into thinking the Irish are a dominant running team. But the Irish have come up with big runs when they've needed them.

Coach Brian Kelly said the Irish were making some fundamental mistakes along the line and tailback Cierre Wood wasn't being patient enough to let the play develop. He believes the Irish are correcting some of those problems and are ready to go against a Stanford squad that ranks sixth in the nation in rushing defense, giving up 77.2 yards a game and just 2.66 yards a carry.

``I think we're stronger physically across the board. We're a mature football team. We have veterans on defense. From an offensive line standpoint, we can handle ourselves better,'' Kelly said.

The Irish use three running backs: Wood, Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III. Riddick has the most carries, Wood is averaging the most yards a game (71), and Atkinson is averaging the most yards a carry (9.3). Three backs allow the Irish to keep a fresh player on the field, but it also makes it hard for a ball carrier to find a rhythm.

The Irish changed their blocking schemes this season, going from a line that blocked gaps to a team that blocks zones, meaning linemen are responsible for blocking an area, not a particular player.

``It's all about working together, working with the guy next to you,'' Martin said.

Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner said the change in philosophy is evident on film.

``They are much more physical and downhill than a year ago. They come off the ball and want to hit people,'' he said.

The Irish added another dimension last week when they allowed quarterback Everett Golson to run the ball more often, as he carried six times for 51 yards. Kelly said he was hesitant to let Golson take a bigger role in the run game because he was worried about turnovers.

Kelly is now counting on Golson to be able to recognize when he should run.

``He doesn't have to run every down, but when we're trying to block effectively and we've got to leave a guy unblocked, he's got to be able to make the right reads and take it or give it out given what he sees,'' he said.

The Irish linemen say playing against Stanford should give them a good indication of how far they have advanced.

``They're a really intense team, really physical,'' left guard Chris Watt said. ``So being able to match that intensity is going to be really important in terms of our success out there on Saturday.''

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Orioles make home run history Tuesday night in more ways than one

Orioles make home run history Tuesday night in more ways than one

The Orioles pitching staff has struggled with the long ball all season long, and it culminated in a couple of historic moments at the ballpark.

First, it was Gary Sanchez joining his teammate Gleyber Torres in torturing Orioles pitchers this season, launching his eighth home run of the year against the O’s alone. 

Torres reached that mark earlier in the series, making them the first pair to reach eight home runs in the same season against the Orioles since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. 

Anytime you’re the first to do something since literally Ruth and Gehrig, two of the greatest home run hitters in the history of the sport, you’re clearly doing something right (or wrong, if you’re an Orioles fan).

What’s especially concerning for the Orioles is how quickly Torres and Sanchez reached this mark, needing less than two months to accomplish what no one else had in an entire season for the last 88 years.

The other piece of history made also came with shocking speed in 2019.

In April, the Orioles became the first franchise to allow at least 50 home runs before May 1. The unfortunate thing for them is they reached the mark with a week and a half to spare.

That trend has continued into May, and the pitching staff now has another claim to fame.

In the sixth inning, the Yankees crushed their third bomb of the evening, bringing the Orioles home runs allowed total to 100 on the season. Per ESPN, the previous fastest team to allow that many was the 2000 Royals, who needed 57 games to make history.

The Orioles did it in just 48. They aren’t just setting records; they’re obliterating them.

With the way the season has gone so far, it’s not hard to imagine the Orioles setting a few more benchmarks for futility in 2019.

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

Juan Soto did something Tuesday night at Citi Field that made the whole broadcaster's jinx theory come to life. 

During Soto's 2nd inning at-bat, former MLB first baseman, five-time All-Star, 1979 co-NL MVP, two-time World Series champion, and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez went out on a limb to describe the 20-year-old phenom. 

He is not a home run hitter even though he had nice power here last year.

So, in a rather timely fashion, the lefty launched a moonshot, 410-foot solo home run to right field for Washington's first run of the game. 

In fairness, Hernandez was just trying to explain that Soto isn't a home run hitter because of the type of swing he demonstrates, one that typically produces more line drives than long-balls. 

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