Surprising Blue Devils visit No. 11 Florida State

Surprising Blue Devils visit No. 11 Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Although Florida State and Duke (yes, Duke) are already bowl qualified, both need wins to keep alive their Atlantic Coast Conference championship hopes.

The 11th-ranked Seminoles (7-1, 4-1 ACC) can ill afford another slip-up Saturday while keeping pace in the ACC's Atlantic Division while Duke (6-2, 3-1) sits on top of the Coastal Division.

``We can't relax on any team,'' sophomore cornerback Nick Waisome said. ``We're just going to have to fight every week now.''

Florida State doesn't control its destiny while Duke does if it wins out. The Blue Devils still have Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami remaining.

Florida State must win the rest of its games and hope North Carolina State stumbles. N.C. State clings to its advantage in the division on the strength of a 17-16 win over the Seminoles in Raleigh, N.C. earlier this month. Florida State's last two ACC games are on the road next month against Virginia Tech and Maryland.

But Duke has never beaten Florida State in 17 tries and the last time the Blue Devils showed up in Tallahassee riding this high, they left embarrassed. The Blue Devils came into the 1994 game at Tallahassee undefeated and ranked 13th nationally but weren't any match for coach Bobby Bowden's Seminoles, who rolled to a 38-6 halftime lead on the way to a 59-20 victory in an offensive explosion of 653 yards.

And the Blue Devils aren't supposed to challenge this year either, coming into Saturday's game as a four-touchdown underdog.

``We're playing the most physical team we've seen, we're playing the fastest team we've seen,'' Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. ``They may be the most complete team in the country.''

Cutcliffe said he hopes his team benefits from the experience of last year's game against the Seminoles, who won 41-16 in Durham, N.C.

``That helped,'' Cutcliffe said. ``They know they have to prepare to even have a chance in a game like this.''

And while bowl eligible for the first time since the '94 season, that's no longer the goal Duke players have in mind.

``We have that big ol' monkey off our back,'' Duke linebacker David Helton said. ``Every game is a big playoff for our ultimate standing at the end and our ability to win the ACC championship - which is a big goal right now.''

A Duke loss would really muddle the Coastal Division, leaving four schools with at least two losses heading into the final month of the season.

Being bowl eligible has become old hat at Florida State, already qualified for a postseason trip for the 31st straight year as the Seminoles roll to their 36th straight winning season. But it may not be to a BCS bowl, much less the ACC championship game, if they don't get some help.

And while Florida State's coaches and players will know by Saturday's kickoff whether NC State won its game at North Carolina, all hands insist they're thinking about Duke, and only Duke.

``We're not looking ahead,'' said James Wilder Jr., who will start at tailback in place of Chris Thompson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week's 33-20 win at Miami. ``They're having a great season. It's a team that will challenge us.''

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is concerned about the Duke passing attack along with the impact that Blue Devils' punter Will Monday may have in the game. Although only a freshman, Monday averages a league-best 45.8 yards a punt, including 14 that covered more than 50 yards and another 12 that he dropped inside the opponents 20.

``When you average 45 yards a punt, you're changing field position,'' said Fisher, who decided earlier in the week to replace Rashad Greene with Tyler Hunter as his punt returner.

Florida State defenders also won't want to let Duke's record-setting wide receiver Conner Vernon break the ACC mark of 3,517 receiving yards held the past 13 years by former Seminole Peter Warrick. Vernon, who already is the ACC's career leader with 249 catches, needs 94 yards to surpass Warrick.

Whether or not the Blue Devils' offensive line gives quarterback Sean Renfree time to find Vernon, sophomore Jamison Crowder or Desmond Scott in Duke's pass-first offense against the league's best defense is one of Cutcliffe's concerns.

``We have veteran players and they know they're playing against the very best that's out there,'' Cutcliffe said. ``They understand the challenge. Most good competitors if not all want to measure themselves against the best.''

Cutcliffe said it's a matter of confidence.

``They've got to believe,'' he said. ``You don't have a chance if you don't.''


AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.


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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.


Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy


5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live


Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 



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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

Marcell Ozuna homered and Austin Gomber tossed six shutout innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

St. Louis has won a season-high eight straight. The Cardinals, who are 18-9 since the All-Star break, captured their sixth successive series after taking the first three of the four-game set.

Daniel Murphy homered in the ninth for Washington, which has lost four in a row and seven of nine to fall below .500 and nine games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The current skid began with a loss to the Cubs on a two-out, walk-off grand slam.

Ozuna homered in the second inning, his 14th of the season and his first since July 30.

Gomber (3-0), in his fourth start of the year, gave up three hits, struck out six and walked four.

Bud Norris pitched the ninth to pick up his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina added run-scoring hits for St. Louis, which improved to 19-9 since Mike Matheny was fired and replaced by interim manager Mike Shildt.

St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter extended his on-base streak to 33 games with a walk in the fifth. It's the longest current streak in the majors. Carpenter left the game in the seventh after he was hit on the hand by a pitch from Matt Grace, but X-rays were negative.

Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) left in the fifth inning after colliding with Bader on a play at the plate following a wild pitch. Hellickson gave up three runs, two earned, on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.

Bader, who had three hits, also made a diving catch of a liner off the bat of Bryce Harper in the fourth.

The Cardinals, who have an NL-best 12-2 mark in August, remain one game behind Philadelphia for the second wild card spot. They are four games behind Chicago in the NL Central.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg threw a simulated game on Wednesday. He threw around 70 pitches and could be ready to return early next week, manager Dave Martinez said.

Cardinals: LHP Brett Cecil was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday. Cecil, who had been sidelined with inflammation in his right foot, pitched four scoreless innings in four appearances with Triple-A Memphis. LHP Tyler Webb was optioned to Memphis.


RHP Tanner Roark (7-12, 4.12) will face RHP Luke Weaver (6-10, 4.66) in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday. Roark has won his last four decision, Weaver is 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA in nine career games against NL East foes.