Purdue looking for some way to break out of slump


Purdue looking for some way to break out of slump

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Purdue came into the 2012 season hoping to return to the national stage.

After back-to-back blowout losses at home, the Boilermakers would settle for simply proving this quest isn't hopeless at the midway point.

``Definitely not the way we'd like it (the record) to be, but this is when you find out where you are,'' quarterback Caleb TerBush said Tuesday. ``Look, we're only 3-3 right now, but it's not the end of the world. We've got six more games to play. We've just got to put points on the board and keep points off the board.''

Two weeks ago, the Boilermakers (3-3, 0-2 Big Ten) seemed perfectly positioned to make good on those preseason promises.

They were off to a 3-1 start, their best in five years, and a favorable schedule meant they would start league play against demoralized Michigan and struggling Wisconsin in West Lafayette. Winning either game, or both, would have sent a clear signal that Purdue was back.

Instead, the Boilermakers were victimized by too many mistakes.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson rushed for 235 yards in a 44-13 victory on Oct. 6, and last weekend, Montee Ball ran for 247 yards and three scores as unranked Wisconsin drubbed the Boilermakers 38-14 in a steady rain.

Coach Danny Hope thinks he can change gears by spending practice this week by focusing on the defensive fundamentals of better tackling, better gap play and better alignments.

The offense hasn't been much better, though. Purdue has managed only three touchdowns in the last six halves and has averaged a measly 3.4 yards per carry in the two losses.

That's certainly not the way the Boilermakers thought they would head to Columbus, Ohio, and that's something they intend to change in their biggest test of the season against the seventh-ranked Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0).

``I'd say we're definitely motivated right now,'' TerBush said. ``It was kind of another wake-up call last week. We came back and looked at the film Sunday, and we didn't like it, but we have to move on.''

Purdue has other problems, too, notably in the training room.

Top receiver O.J. Ross is listed as questionable with a turf toe. Kickoff returner Raheem Mostert could miss up to four weeks with a strained knee. Cornerback Ricardo Allen has been hobbled by two sore ankles, backup quarterback Robert Marve continues to play with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, running back Ralph Bolden returned from ACL surgery against Wisconsin and is still trying to round into top form, and defensive tackle Bruce Gaston hopes to play his second straight game with a bad hamstring.

Outsiders also have started to question Purdue's continuing quarterback saga. On Tuesday, Hope acknowledged he may have yanked TerBush too early against Wisconsin, a mistake he doesn't expect to make again in Columbus, Ohio.

``Obviously, Caleb TerBush will start and we'll let him stay in the game for a sustained amount of time,'' he said. ``Then we'll make a determination about whether to rotate or alternate quarterbacks.''

The most worrisome part may be going up against an angry group of Buckeyes, who have plenty to prove after losing 26-23 at Purdue last season and barely escaping with a 52-49 victory at Indiana last weekend.

``I'm sure they'll be ready,'' TerBush said. ``I'm sure they're not too happy about getting beat last year. I guarantee that.''

What can be done to help the troubled Boilermakers get out of this funk?

``On Sunday, we spent a lot of time in the locker room together and a lot of guys took a good, hard look at their performance,'' Hope said Tuesday. ``Each and every one of us has to look at ourselves and get it done. I think that's been addressed.''

These sorts of losing streaks are hardly unprecedented at Purdue, which has lost three straight games in seven of the last 10 seasons.

But the blowouts are a rarity. No Purdue team has lost three straight games by 21 or more points since 199, when the Boilermakers lost four in a row by 25 or more.

Hope's team has no intention of joining that club this week - or this year.

``Winning is never easy, and the last three years have never been easy,'' Hope said. ``This is big-time football. This is Big Ten football and this is no place for the faint-hearted. This is Purdue football and you have to be tough, and we take a lot of pride in that.''

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.


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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs


Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.