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Oklahoma State turns attention to Baylor

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Oklahoma State turns attention to Baylor

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) To a man, Oklahoma State football players insisted Monday they were focused on the Cowboys' next opponent, Baylor. That doesn't mean it has been easy to put aside the disappointment of two days earlier.

Oklahoma State never trailed Oklahoma until the final play of overtime, losing 51-48 on Saturday in the annual Bedlam game. Then, as the Cowboys exited Owen Field, they witnessed a raucous celebration by the Sooners and their fans, the type of outburst usually reserved for a win in a big bowl game or over longtime rival Texas.

``They should have been celebrating,'' running back Joseph Randle said. ``You should celebrate when you get lucky. We feel like they got lucky and, you know, they won the game and we lost, so they deserved to celebrate that win.''

Randle said the way the Sooners celebrated ``means that they felt like they should have lost coming into the game. You know, regardless of rankings and all of that different stuff, they didn't think they was going to come in there and just blow us out. I guarantee you that. We felt like we was going to blow them out, honestly. I felt like, `This was going to be easy.' But it is what it is. We lost. They won. Congratulations.''

Instead of the usual Sunday routine, coach Mike Gundy allowed his players to watch comedy clips of their choice ``and they laughed for a long time'' before settling in to view game film and start prepping for the game at Baylor (6-5, 3-5 Big 12).

``The good thing about college football is you have to get right back at it, whether you feel like it or not,'' Gundy said. ``Our team came over last night and spent some time together and spirits were good by the time they left the facility.''

Oklahoma State (7-4, 5-3) will play its eighth game in as many weeks and Gundy said his players - and coaches - needed the mental break. He said losing to Oklahoma was harder on him and the coaching staff than it was on the players.

``It starts with us,'' Gundy said. ``I'm not even scared to say that that was the first thing that we discussed in our staff meeting yesterday, was that we have to get over it first, and then we have to make sure the players understand, which they do . that if they don't practice well tomorrow, it takes about 30 percent of our chance away from winning on Saturday.''

That doesn't mean it's easy.

``I never get over it,'' Gundy said. ``I'm going to wake up three years from now talking about, or thinking about, this game. Just like I do the Holiday Bowl, just like I did the Cotton Bowl, just like the Texas game from this year. That never really goes away.''

For their part, players said they need to play well against Baylor, which has won three of its last four games. During the past two weeks, the Bears knocked off then-No. 2 Kansas State 52-24, then beat Texas Tech 52-45 in overtime.

Behind quarterback Nick Florence, Baylor averages 575.5 yards per game of offense, tops in the Big 12. Oklahoma State is second at 547.9 yards per game. But while the Cowboys are fifth in total defense, Baylor is last in the conference in that category, surrendering an average of 509.7 yards per game.

Oklahoma State has won six straight and 15 of its last 16 games against Baylor, including a 59-24 romp last year, during which the Cowboys controlled the Bears' eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, and jumped to a 42-0 lead. Oklahoma State held Griffin without a touchdown pass.

``The challenges with Baylor are going to be the same as it's been the last few weeks,'' linebacker Shaun Lewis said. ``We've been playing some of the top offenses in the country the past month, and the expectation is the same. We want to limit the run game and make them one-dimensional. We know coach is going to come up with a great game plan this week.''

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

1. Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

2. T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

3. Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

4. Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

5. Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.