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Texas sticking with Ash as No. 1 QB

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Texas sticking with Ash as No. 1 QB

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas is going with sure and steady over swashbuckling. The Longhorns are sticking with David Ash as starting quarterback over Case McCoy.

Despite pulling Ash late in the game against Kansas, coach Mack Brown said Monday that Ash gets to keep his job for Texas' trip to Lubbock to play No. 20 Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) on Saturday.

``David's body of work has been pretty good,'' Brown said, adding that he ``would not hesitate'' to pull him for McCoy if Ash doesn't play well.

McCoy, a junior and the younger brother of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, has shown a flair for delivering in clutch moments for Texas, but Ash has been one of the top-rated passers in the country this season.

Ash has struggled of late, however, with only one touchdown pass in the last three games. He had two interceptions against Kansas and Texas trailed late until McCoy rallied the team to a 21-17 win. McCoy's 1-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Grant with 12 seconds left was the game winner

``Case did an outstanding job. We're so proud of the job he did for us,'' Brown said.

The coaches discussed the quarterback situation on Sunday and decided Ash should remain the starter, Brown said.

Ash said he's happy that McCoy ``saved the day'' but remains confident as the leader of the offense.

``I don't need people to be confident in me to find my confidence,'' Ash said.

Ash and McCoy split time last season before Ash won the job outright in preseason training camp. Until Saturday, McCoy had seen mostly mop-up duty in Texas' first seven games.

McCoy came on late in a blowout loss to Oklahoma and threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He was called on to win the game against the Jayhawks and the Longhorns escaped what would have been one of Brown's most embarrassing losses in 15 years.

On Monday, McCoy deflected questions about the decision to stick with Ash as the starter.

``I always prepare to be the starter,'' McCoy said, ``and that's all I'm going to say about that.''.

Ash has passed for 1,726 yards this season with 12 touchdowns but also has four interceptions in the last three games. Against Oklahoma and Kansas, he was 21 of 45 passing for 176 yards. Between those games, he passed for 276 yards against Baylor, which has one of the worst defenses in the country.

McCoy's heroics against Kansas almost didn't happen.

The first play of the winning drive was nearly intercepted when McCoy threw the ball straight to a Jayhawks defensive back who dropped it. It wasn't until McCoy hit Jaxon Shipley for 18 yards on fourth down that the Longhorns got moving.

McCoy has delivered in some big moments for Texas. His long scramble against Texas A&M last season set up the winning field goal on the final play to end a 100-year-old rivalry.

Even though he wasn't the starter, Brown told him he must be ready if called upon again this season.

``I'm proud of myself for the way I played at the end (against Kansas),'' McCoy said. ``I'm also proud of this team.''

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

It doesn't take an expert to tell you players like Alex Ovechkin or Marc-Andre Fleury will play a big role in the Stanley Cup Final.

Both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will need their best players to be at their best to take home the Cup. But who will be the unexpected heroes? Who are the players no one is talking about who will have a big hand in their team's success or defeat in this series?

Here are five players you should be watching in the Stanley Cup:

1. Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly had seven goals in 79 games in the regular season. Now he has four goals in just 19 playoff games.

Smith-Pelly has been one of those unlikely playoff heroes for the Caps this postseason with very timely performances such as scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Columbus Blue and scoring the goal that put the game away in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The physical play has really stood out as well for him, which fits well on the fourth line role he has settled back into now that the team is healthy again. Barry Trotz tried moving him to the top line in the absence of Tom Wilson and the results weren't great. He is best suited for the role he currently has and that will allow him to thrive.

2. James Neal: Neal came up just short of the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. He totaled nine points in 22 games during that run, a number he has already matched in just 15 games this postseason.

There are very few players on either team that boast the kind of postseason experience Neal has. He will be leaned upon this series for his leadership.

Vegas is a young team and their unprecedented success in the playoffs may make this feel like the first run of many for the Golden Knights, but not for Neal who is on the last year of his contract and came tantalizingly close to the Cup last season. He will play like there is no tomorrow because, for him, there may not be in Vegas.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky was one of the heroes of Game 7 with two goals to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked just the latest peak in a career full of peaks and valleys for the young winger. Just two games before, Burakovsky was a healthy scratch and spoke to the media about his plans to speak with a sports psychologist in the offseason.

The talent is there and it certainly appears that the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs is largely behind him. Burakovsky’s issues have always been mainly between the ears. In a series against a fast team with strong depth, he can be an absolutely critical piece for the Caps. Hopefully, his Game 7 performance gave him the confidence he needs to continue to be effective.

4. Ryan Reaves: Vegas acquired both Reaves and Tomas Tatar around the trade deadline. If I were to tell you that through three rounds of the playoffs, both players were healthy, had played the same number of games (6) and had the same number of points (1), you’d think I was crazy. Yet, here we are.

Reaves was largely an afterthought in a complicated trade between Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, but he has carved a nice role for himself on the Golden Knights’ fourth line and even scored the goal that sent Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final against the Winnipeg Jets.

Reaves is also an agitator on the ice, but what do the Caps do against a player like that when their normal fighter plays on the top line? We may see Reaves and Wilson come to blows this series, but it won't be very often because that is a bad tradeoff for the Caps.

5. Brooks Orpik: The elder statesman of the blue line, Orpik is the only player on the Caps with a Stanley Cup to his name and is the only one who has any idea what this experience is going to be like for the team.

Orpik is very diligent about keeping in shape which has allowed him to play in 81 games this season and all 19 playoff games despite being 37 years old, but you do have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Despite being the favorite whipping boy for the proponents of analytics, his physical play has been effective this postseason. The focus he placed on the skating in the offseason has paid dividends so far in matchups against the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Golden Knights will be the fastest team they have played yet. There is no denying Orpik is much more suited towards a physical style of game. Wil he continue to be effective or will Vegas exploit the Caps' third defensive pairing?

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