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Rice playing Air Force in 10th Armed Forces Bowl

Rice playing Air Force in 10th Armed Forces Bowl

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - The Armed Forces Bowl is going back to its first home for its 10th game, featuring two teams that used to be coached by Ken Hatfield.

Air Force (6-6) is playing in the Armed Forces Bowl for the fourth time, and will face Rice (6-6) on Dec. 29 at TCU's completely redone stadium.

After being played the last two years on the SMU campus, the Armed Forces Bowl is returning to Fort Worth. The stadium on the TCU campus has undergone a $164 million rebuild since the bowl - which debuted in 2003 - was last played there in 2009.

``They do such a super job of creating different opportunities and experiences for your guys that it actually seems like quite a while since we have been there,'' Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. ``So we are excited. Great food; great, great hospitality and I look forward to playing in a terrific venue with the upgrades that have been made there too.''

Air Force accepted an invitation to return to Fort Worth right after getting its sixth victory, a 21-7 win over Hawaii on Nov. 16. It is their school-record sixth consecutive season with a bowl game.

The only team other than Air Force and three-time participant Houston with multiple Armed Force Bowl appearances is Tulsa with two. Rice is in the bowl for the first time.

The Falcons lost to California in 2007, then split consecutive matchups against Houston, losing in 2008 before a 47-20 win in 2009. Both losses were by six points.

Rice got its spot in the Armed Forces Bowl when Tulsa won the Conference USA championship game on Saturday, sending the Golden Hurricane to the Liberty Bowl as the league's representative. That put the Owls in Fort Worth instead of the New Orleans Bowl.

The Owls have a four-game winning streak, averaging 41 points a game in that stretch, and won five of their last six games. This is their third bowl game since a postseason drought from 1961 to 2006.

``We were a good football team. We were competitive in every game,'' coach David Bailiff said. ``Very resilient group of young men that showed up, even when we back ourselves into the corner and knew we had to win out to become bowl eligible.''

Hatfield's first head coaching job was at Air Force from 1979-83, and he won bowl games each of his last two seasons. He then went to Arkansas and Clemson, then was at Rice from 1994-2005.

Bailiff was asked who was going to win to have Hatfield as an honorary coach.

``We want him to be there and it wouldn't even matter really what sideline he's on,'' the current Rice coach said. ``He's just one of the greatest guys that's ever been in the business, and you know, we are just hopeful that he can come to the game.''

Calhoun had similar flattering things to say about Hatfield, and credited him with doing ``an awful lot to rejuvenate'' the Air Force program with those two bowl victories three decades ago.

Before taking over in 2007 as head coach at Air Force, where he was a quarterback and started his coaching career in the late 1980s, Calhoun was offensive coordinator for one season with the NFL's Texans in Houston - home of Rice.

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

Bryce Harper homered, Max Scherzer struck out seven in six innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Sunday.

Anthony Rendon also had two hits and drove in two runs for Washington, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and helping the Nationals earn a split of the series after Saturday's game was rained out. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each had three hits.

Two days after a heated exchange with teammate Stephen Strasburg during Friday's 8-5 loss, Scherzer (13-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in his third straight win. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched six or more innings in his last 19 starts.

Kelvin Herrera got five outs for his first save with Washington.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 55 minutes by rain, and another downpour stopped play for almost 100 minutes between the sixth and seventh innings.

Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (7-6) gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Harper singled in Eaton to give Washington a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Matt Adams added another RBI single in the seventh, and Harper added a solo drive in the eighth for his 24th homer.

Scherzer was staked to an early 3-0 lead and then got some help from his defense.

Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the third with a drive off the wall in center, but he was thrown out by Harper while trying for a double. With a runner on first in the fifth, Freddie Freeman's blast to right was chased down by Eaton on the warning track.

Then in the seventh, Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall in center to rob Dansby Swanson of extra bases with one runner on.

Washington got off to a fast start with three runs in the first. Rendon drove in Eaton and Harper with a triple down the right-field line, and then scored on Soto's groundout.

Swanson drove in Atlanta's runs with a groundout in the second and a single in the fourth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: All-Star 2B Ozzie Albies, who left Friday's game with right hamstring tightness, got the day off.

Nationals: RHP Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) experienced extended soreness after throwing off the mound Friday. An MRI Saturday revealed a stress reaction, comparable to a bone bruise, in the bridge of his foot and he is wearing a walking boot. ... RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) was reinstated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51 ERA) pitches the opener of a two-game series in Miami on Monday. He already has beaten the Marlins twice this season, allowing one run in 12 innings.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72 ERA) opens a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday night. He is 2-4 with a 4.93 ERA in nine career starts versus the Brewers.