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PSU's McGloin, Mauti prep for draft in own way

PSU's McGloin, Mauti prep for draft in own way

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Matt McGloin went Hollywood. Michael Mauti went home to Louisiana.

Miles from the campus they called home for five years, the two Penn State stars have taken different routes to prepare for their shots at the NFL. After helping to lead the Nittany Lions to a surprising 8-4 season, they began to focus on the next level ... in their own way.

``The weather is great,'' said McGloin, a Scranton, Pa., native, joked about training in southern California. ``A lot better than the 6-degree weather back home.''

There was little time to party or hit the beach, though. McGloin, a quarterback who had a six-day-a-week workout schedule, is scheduled to play in the ``Texas vs. The Nation'' all-star game Saturday in Allen, Texas.

``Just landed. Can't wait to start playing ball again,'' McGloin posted on Twitter this week. It would be his first action since the emotional 24-21 win over Wisconsin in the season finale Nov. 24.

Mauti, a linebacker, has been training back in Louisiana. A stellar senior season ended early after Mauti had to miss the finale with a left knee injury. Previous injuries - one to each knee - cut short two seasons in Mauti's career.

He declined to give more specifics on his knee, other than saying that things were going well while training for the NFL Combine. He's already tried to make a good impression with the personal touch of sending hand-written notes to all 32 NFL general managers.

``Feedback,'' he said, ``has been positive so far.''

The stoic Mauti embraced a high-profile leadership role during the challenging 2012 season, working with fellow seniors Michael Zordich and Jordan Hill to help keep most of the team together after the NCAA handed down strict sanctions in July. Mauti will be known as one of the best leaders in the history of the program, but he sought a change of scenery after the draining season.

Mauti was a known commodity when he arrived at Penn State in 2008, becoming a key reserve and special teams player in a freshman year that foreshadowed his future contributions to the program.

The rags-to-riches story of McGloin - Mauti's freshman year roommate - is now well known throughout Pennsylvania. McGloin climbed from a walk-on under former coach Joe Paterno to record-setting starting quarterback in the spiced-up passing attack in 2012 under first-year coach Bill O'Brien, the former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.

A year for McGloin that included school records for career touchdown passes and single-season passing yards ended with the senior winning the Burlsworth Trophy, an award given to the top college player who started his career as a walk-on.

``I've run New England's offense for a year,'' said McGloin, as if running off bullet points from his resume. ``I've been around an NFL practice, day in and day out.''

After the surprising success of his senior year, the confident quarterback headed to Los Angeles for offseason workouts. He said the workout facility also hosted notable prospects like Alabama offensive lineman Chance Warmack and Oregon running back Kenjon Barner.

McGloin was focusing on combine drills like 40-yard dash starts and the broad jump. Throwing mechanics were important areas of concentration, too.

``Finishing throws,'' McGloin said, ``being more balanced and doing a lot with my core and legs for throwing than using my arm.''

He might have a longshot chance at getting drafted, though analysts have predicted McGloin could sign on as a free agent.

Of course, McGloin has already proven he can overcome long odds to succeed at quarterback.

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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.