Capitals

Orange Bowl ends difficult season for FSU's Manuel

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Orange Bowl ends difficult season for FSU's Manuel

MIAMI (AP) When quarterback EJ Manuel takes the Orange Bowl field Tuesday for his final game at Florida State, his mother will be home in Virginia, recovering from her final round of chemotherapy to treat breast cancer.

The turn of the calendar marks the end of an emotional year for the family. Jackie Manuel was diagnosed shortly before the season, and for EJ, trying to win games became a welcome diversion rather than his primary concern.

More than ever, football also became something to celebrate. Many of EJ's relatives - his mom included - will gather at his grandmother's house in Virginia Beach to whoop it up as they watch the No. 13-ranked Seminoles play No. 16 Northern Illinois.

And for a few hours, at least, he'll try not to worry about his mother.

``I'll be locked in on my last game as a collegiate player,'' Manuel said. ``My mom wants that. This is what you work for. I'm not going to allow our team to fall short.''

The Seminoles (11-2) have followed Manuel's lead all season. He endured his worst game last month against Florida, committing four turnovers in a 37-26 loss. He reached the end zone only once in the Seminoles' other defeat, a 17-16 loss to North Carolina State. But in Florida State's victories, he threw 20 touchdown passes with only six interceptions.

The Florida game took place on Parents' Day in Tallahassee, and Jackie Manuel made the 12-hour drive to attend. Watching Mom and Dad walk onto the field before the game, EJ was overcome with emotion.

``For her to come down and support me for my last home game at Florida State meant the world to me,'' he said. ``That's why I couldn't really hold back. I was definitely tearing up. I was like, `EJ, stop crying.' But I couldn't hold it back.''

He declined to blame the heart-tugging occasion for the way he played, however.

``It just happened to be one of those days,'' he said.

Regardless, Manuel won admiration from his teammates and coaches for the way he has performed this season.

``It has been a tough year for him,'' offensive coordinator James Coley said. ``Whenever you see someone near and dear to you struggling with an illness, especially at a young age, it's tough. But he persevered through it.''

In more ways than one, this has not been the senior year Manuel anticipated. The Seminoles expected to wind up in Miami, but in the BCS championship game on Jan. 7, not in the Orange Bowl against a Northern Illinois team derided by some as an unworthy opponent.

However, Manuel said he's happy with his season. After all, he threw for 3,101 yards to lead an offense that averaged 7.01 yards per play, which tied for first in the nation. He helped the Seminoles earn their first BCS bowl berth in seven years.

``I wish we could have been here a week later for the national championship,'' Manuel said. ``But it didn't work out that way. We won our conference and had a great season, and I'm proud of the things I've accomplished here at Florida State.''

Northern Illinois defensive end Sean Progar, who has 8 1/2 sacks this season, said the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Manuel will challenge the Huskies like no other quarterback they've faced.

``He'll definitely be the best, just because of everything he can do, throwing and running,'' Progar said. ``He's a big guy. He's not going to go down lightly. He's going to look to throw first, but he will scramble, and he's good at it.''

Manuel has a chance to become only the second quarterback to go 4-0 in bowl games, joining West Virginia's Pat White. A year ago he led Florida State to an 18-14 victory in the Champs Bowl over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who haven't lost since. He ranks third among Seminoles QBs with 24 career victories.

``His legacy will be that he's a winner,'' Coley said. ``He's a competitor, he's a fighter, and his teammates love the guy. They'll run through a wall for him.''

They also respect the way he has coped with his mom's illness. Only recently did he begin to discuss the matter publicly, and he has done so with grace and candor.

``He's a guy you want to be like,'' receiver Rodney Smith said.

Manuel and his family are encouraged about the prognosis for his mother, who turned 49 Thursday. She has responded well to chemotherapy and will undergo surgery in about a month.

``Once something like this happens to somebody you're close to, it hits home,'' Manuel said. ``It opened my eyes to a lot of things. But she's doing well. That is the thing that has helped me out the most.''

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Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Coming off of the adrenaline-pumping 5-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals (32-19-7) will face off against the Anaheim Ducks (22-27-9) Sunday evening. The Capitals hope to maintain their energy with a win over the Ducks, the second-worst team in the Pacific Division.
 
The Ducks broke a seven-game losing streak (which began towards the end of January) to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, but lost again to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The Ducks are seventh in the Pacific Division, only slightly above the Los Angeles Kings.


Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday night, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at DUCKS HOW TO WATCH


What: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks, Game 59 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
When: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at DUCKS TV SCHEDULE


8 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
8:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
9 PM: Capitals at Ducks
11:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
12 AM: Caps Overtime Live


CAPITALS at DUCKS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
No injuries to report.

Ducks: 
Ryan Miller -- knee injury as of Feb. 15. 
Nick Ritchie -- illness as of Feb. 15.
Chad Johnson -- head injury as of Feb. 13. 
John Gibson -- back, neck and head injuries as of Feb. 8. 
Patrick Eaves -- flu-like symptoms as of Feb. 7. 
Ondrej Kase -- torn labrum in his right shoulder as of Jan. 18. 

CAPITALS at DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovechkin is the leading goal scorer in the NHL. In the Caps’ last game against the Sharks, the team captain contributed one goal and one assist in the team’s blowout 5-1 win.

T.J. Oshie, F, Capitals (18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points): Oshie scored his 500th career point in his second goal against the Sharks on Thursday. He’s been a key player on the ice this February, scoring three goals and contributing with five assists. 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS SERIES HISTORY


Number of all-time Meetings: 36
All-Time Series Record: Ducks lead 18-17-1
Last Meeting: Ducks win 6-5 (12/2/18)

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: 

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Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Another day, another favorite in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

It’s not a completely new team this time around, but former baseball executive and current analyst Jim Bowden feels pretty confident in the Philadelphia Phillies landing the services of the star outfielder.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden shared on CBS Sports HQ. “And he could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”

Bowden appeared on the program to help react to the most recent betting odds on Harper, specifically those that have the San Francisco Giants as the clear favorites. Bowden disagrees with that projection, especially considering the length of the offers involved. 

It’s clear the Giants are hoping to sign Harper to a short term deal, but the former Nationals general manager is convinced the outfielder will end up getting a significantly longer deal.

10 years, $300 million is of course the terms of the deal the Nationals reportedly offered Harper months ago as the offseason was getting underway, so if he’s been holding out for a better contract then the Phillies may be forced to top it.

One point Bowden made during the interview was how badly Harper wants to win “right now.” The Giants, Padres, and White Sox don’t appear ready to truly compete for another few seasons, which is why he so emphatically endorses Philadelphia or Washington as the ultimate destination. 

The Phillies and Nats look like the only two competitors who can feasibly win the World Series as early as 2019, and if that’s truly important to Harper, it helps weed out the competition.

Of course, as with the litany of Bryce Harper rumors we’ve heard all winter long, this comes with a baseball-sized grain of salt. 

Various teams have taken turns atop the leaderboard when it comes to guessing where Harper will end up, and while the Phillies are probably the most consistent favorite of the offseason, there’s obviously a reason why they and/or Harper have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. 

The fit seems clear, and the money is there, but for now, Harper is still unemployed, which means every team still has an opportunity to wow him with an offer. It wouldn’t too be surprising if he ultimately ends up in Philadelphia, and if Jim Bowden is to be believed, that news could be coming sooner rather than later.

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