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Spartans hoping for faster start against Iowa

Spartans hoping for faster start against Iowa

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) When Michigan State beat Iowa last season, the Spartans led 31-7 at halftime.

That kind of fast start has been nowhere to be found lately.

Michigan State hasn't led after two quarters in more than a month, but the Spartans will try to reverse that trend Saturday when they host the Hawkeyes in a crucial matchup in the Big Ten's Legends Division. Iowa is one of two teams in the division that hasn't dropped a conference game yet.

Michigan State rallied from an early deficit to beat Indiana last weekend, but it was a struggle. The Spartans trailed 17-0 after one quarter before winning 31-27.

``What is in the past is past. We'll try to change things up - all I can tell you is we'll try to change things up,'' Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ``I thought our football team was ready to play. I think Indiana had something to do with that - snapped the ball every 12 seconds. We got gassed. When you get gassed, things are not going to happen and we became disoriented.''

That wasn't the only game in which Michigan State (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) looked out of sorts early. The Spartans trailed 14-3 at halftime in a loss to Notre Dame last month, and a week after that, they were losing 7-3 to Eastern Michigan after two quarters before coming back to win 23-7.

The season began in East Lansing with Rose Bowl aspirations, but it's hard to get a sense of where Michigan State stands in a jumbled league race that's still taking shape.

``Everywhere in America right now, every college football team feels a sense of urgency,'' Dantonio said. ``We've always felt a sense of urgency. If we were 6-0 or 5-1, there would still be a sense of urgency. If you look, somebody's gaining on you, and that's sort of the way it is. You know you need to stay ahead of everything.''

The Iowa game hasn't been all that close either of the last two seasons. In 2010, the Hawkeyes won 37-6, handing Michigan State its only loss of that regular season. Last year, Michigan State jumped way ahead early and won 37-21.

Iowa (3-2, 1-0) opened conference play with a 31-13 win over Minnesota two weekends ago. The Hawkeyes are coming off an open date and are tied with Michigan atop the division - but they also lost last month to Central Michigan, a team Michigan State throttled 41-7.

Spartans running back Le'Veon Bell has run for 776 yards on 171 attempts - he's just 11 carries shy of last season's total.

``He's a very big guy and a powerful guy, yet he's mentally talented,'' Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. ``If you break down at all and somebody misses a gap to break down that kind of thing, he can really hurt you, and he can run with some speed too.''

Iowa may have found its own impressive running back in Mark Weisman, whose 217-yard performance was overshadowed in the loss to Central Michigan. He ran for 156 yards in the first half alone against Minnesota, and he'll have some help on Saturday since the starter he replaced, Damon Bullock, is back after missing nearly three games with a head injury.

Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg has completed 58.5 percent of his passes.

The Spartans are expected to be without tight end Dion Sims because of a sprained ankle, and Michigan State's receivers have struggled at times.

``It's no secret that injuries happen. It's no secret that sometimes people lose their spots and people get shuffled around,'' quarterback Andrew Maxwell said. ``You never hope for these things to happen or plan on these things happening, but everybody has been a part of the season where these things have happened and you have to adjust.''

Michigan State freshman Aaron Burbridge caught eight passes for 134 yards against Indiana in an increased role.

``Just like they got outplayed in the first half, they flipped it around in the second half and did what they needed to do to be successful,'' Ferentz said. ``And the other scary element of the deal is they had a freshman receiver step up and do some good things. Got to be a good feeling for them, I think.''

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

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USA TODAY Sports

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

 

TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE

 

  • Heads up! This year, Minor League Baseball fans might notice new digital screens and displays at their favorite stadiums. Together with ISM Connect, over 25 MiLB teams will be adding new smart displays to their ballparks. But beyond delivering unique stories and creative ads to fans during each game, these displays are also equipped with smart cameras to measure audience engagement. These smart cameras will help keep ads and content fresh. The cameras record anonymous interactions – how long someone watches the screen or their age range – not individual images of specific people. By measuring foot traffic and engagement, MiLB teams and ad sponsors can better understand who their fans are, what resonates with them, and how they’re experiencing each game. The result is a better, more engaging experience for fans, and a better way for teams and partners to learn how to best serve their loyal audience.
  • The Boston Marathon passes $200 million in economic impact, and welcomes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to its field. This year’s Boston Marathon, held Monday April 15 and carried on NBCSports Network, will be the 123rd running of the race that winds its way 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to the finish line at Copley Square. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, starting in 1897 after the successful debut of the marathon at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Boston Marathon is traditionally held on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April. The Boston Red Sox also have a traditional home game on Patriots Day with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch against the Orioles this year. Boston is among the six largest marathons, along with Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. A special prize purse is given to runners who accumulate the most points in the majors. Here’s a bit of trivia: Just five national sporting events were held during the two World Wars, and the Boston Marathon was one. The others? The Kentucky Derby, Penn Relays, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
  • La Liga, Spanish soccer’s top-flight league, has been named the eighth biggest brand domestically, according to a report by valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. The report places La Liga above major Spanish brands such as the insurance provider Mapfre and telecommunications company Movistar. Using its brand strength score metric, a figure based on calculations regarding emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, Brand Finance gave La Liga a score of 80.7 out of 100. Fashion retailer Zara topped the Brand Finance list overall, with the likes of Santander and Iberdrola also featuring inside its top ten. The new 2019 report marks the first time a sports league has appeared in Brand Finance’s top ten, highlighting the continued growth of La Liga. Brand Finance values the league body at $548 million. Based on monetary value along it occupies 50th place on the list, a considerable drop. However, taking into account the value of participating league clubs – which includes the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – La Liga’s overall value jumps to $4.5 billion, which would place it sixth on that list.

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans! 

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