Nationals

Penn State's O'Brien wins Bear Bryant Award

Penn State's O'Brien wins Bear Bryant Award

HOUSTON (AP) Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said he didn't think he stood a chance of winning Thursday night.

Then again, that's what many said about his first season at the helm of a program in tatters.

O'Brien won the 2012 Paul ``Bear'' Bryant College Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night, beating out five other finalists.

O'Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.

``It means so much to the kids and everyone else who stuck with us,'' O'Brien said. ``This was a program award. But we've got a long way to go to get Penn State back to what it once was.''

The man he replaced last January, the late Joe Paterno, was the first Bryant Award winner in 1986.

O'Brien won his third national coach of the year award after previously winning the Maxwell Club and AT&T ESPN awards last month. Penn State's season began with an 0-2 record before the Nittany Lions won eight of 10.

In July, the NCAA sanctioned Penn State with a four-year postseason ban and loss of 40 scholarships over a four-year period. O'Brien said winning the award was a testament to those who remained with the program.

``It's not going to be easy,'' O'Brien said. ``This first year was a good start that gave us a good foundation, and hopefully, we can come out of the sanctions in decent shape.''

Other finalists for the award were Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Kansas State's Bill Snyder, Stanford's David Shaw and Vanderbilt's James Franklin.

Snyder, Sumlin and Shaw were each finalists at the end of last season.

O'Brien said he thought Sumlin, who led Texas A&M to an 11-2 season in the school's first season in the SEC, would be the winner. Instead, Sumlin was denied for his third time as a Bryant Award finalist.

``I'm a big fan of `All My Children,''' Sumlin said with a grin in a speech shortly before O'Brien was announced the winner. ``I'll be very proud to be Susan Lucci. You can invite me back every year because it must mean we're doing something right.''

Former Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards was the ceremony's other honoree, receiving the Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Edwards retired in 2000 with 257 victories, 22 bowl appearances and one national championship in 1984.

The awards were given in conjunction with the American Heart Association.

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

The Nationals face the Rockies at Coors Field for the first half of this work week. Here are three things to watch for:

  1. Can the Nationals stay above .500? Stephen Strasburg’s impressive start along with Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers and two RBI kept Washington from being swept by the lowly Marlins.

  2. Who will produce with Anthony Rendon out? While the Nats 3B was sidelined with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s outing against the Marlins, Howie Kendrick started in his place. Kendrick went 1-for-3 vs Miami with one RBI and one strikeout. In terms of replacing Rendon’s hitting prowess, Victor Robles has started a streak of his own. The youngster is hot on a seven game hit streak, including a bunt over the infield Sunday.

  3. Will the Nationals ever sure up their end game? Yesterday’s ninth inning was on the brink of disaster. Kyle Barraclough allowed back-to-back walks, then Sean Doolittle loaded the bases. Luckily for the Nats, crisis averted.

Download the MyTeams app (https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/myteams-nbc-sports ) for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

Friday saw the Toronto Maple Leafs pull ahead 3-2 and the Colorado Avalanche eliminate the favored Calgary Flames. Saturday provided another elimination game and two teams pulled ahead 3-2 in their series.

Here are the results from Saturday.

St. Louis Blues eliminate Winnipeg Jets with 3-2 win

The Blues return to the second round of the playoffs after they were eliminated in the first round last season.

The Blues rally started 23 seconds into the game, when Jaden Schwartz put home a Brayden Schenn rebound.

Schwartz followed with two more goals, completing the hat trick. It's the second natural hat trick in a playoff series clinching game since Geoff Courtnall in 1992.

The Blues await the winner of the Nashville-Dallas series.

Dallas Stars pull ahead of Nashville Predators in 5-3 victory

The Stars were able to steal one from the Predators at Bridgestone Arena thanks to Jason Dickinson and Alexander Radulov's two goal performances.

Tyler Seguin added a goal of his own to pull the Stars ahead 4-2 at the end of the second period, and Ben Bishop recorded 30 saves.

The Stars have a chance to close the series at home Monday night.

Washington Capitals take upperhand on Carolina Hurricanes with 6-0 shutout

After dropping Game 4 in Carolina 2-1, the Caps exploded for six goals against the Hurricanes in a 6-0 win.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the opening two goals. He leads the Capitals in playoff goals with five and had a four point night.

The Caps also got production from their bottom six with Brett Connolly's goal and Nic Dowd's converted penalty shot. It's the first penalty shot a Caps player has successfully made in the playoffs.

Braden Holtby's shutout gave him seven in the playoffs, surpassing Olaf Kolzig's six for the franchise lead. The Caps have a chance to win the series in Carolina Monday night.

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