Orioles

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Kevin Hogan threw for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards and another score to help eighth-ranked Stanford beat No. 17 UCLA 27-24 in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.

As a defender barreled into him, Hogan hurled a 26-yard tying touchdown to Drew Terrell on third-and-15 early in the fourth quarter. Jordan Williamson kicked his second field goal from 36 yards with 6:49 remaining for the go-ahead score to seal Stanford's first conference title since the 1999 season.

The Cardinal (11-2) will play the winner of the Big Ten title game between Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

UCLA's Brent Hundley threw for 177 yards and a costly interception that set up a Stanford touchdown. He still almost brought the Bruins (9-4) back, but Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field goal wide left in the closing moments for a disappointing loss.

Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes to beat a fourth ranked opponent in his fourth straight start since unseating Josh Nunes at quarterback. After the Cardinal rolled past UCLA 35-17 last Saturday at the Rose Bowl, it took all 60 minutes for another victory in the rare rematch.

The heavy rain that pounded the Bay Area most of the day relented most of the night, and a tarp that covered the field until about 3 hours before kickoff. Scattered showers still kept the grass slightly slick.

NO. 19 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 44, NO. 18 KENT STATE 37, 2OT

DETROIT (AP) - Jordan Lynch ran for three touchdowns, including a 2-yarder in the second overtime, and Demetrius Stone's interception in the end zone gave Northern Illinois the victory over Kent State in a stirring Mid-American Conference championship game.

Both teams were hoping a win would boost them into the top 16 of the BCS rankings and give them a berth in one of college football's marquee bowls. Northern Illinois (12-1) dominated for much of the night, but the Golden Flashes (11-2) tied it at 34 in the final minute of regulation.

Kent State trailed 27-13 in the fourth before scoring two touchdowns in a 15-second span. Keith had a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:53 remaining, then Lynch fumbled on what looked like a botched exchange with Daniels, and Zack Hitchens picked up the ball for the Golden Flashes and went 22 yards to the end zone.

It was 34-all at the end of regulation, and after the teams traded field goals in the first overtime, Northern Illinois needed only two plays to reach the end zone. A 23-yard run by Akeem Daniels set up Lynch's final TD. Kent State reached the 9, but on fourth down, Spencer Keith had to scramble to his right and throw a desperation pass that was picked off by Stone in the end zone.

Northern Illinois won its second straight MAC title.

Lynch threw for 212 yards and ran for 160 to break the major-college record for yards rushing by a quarterback in a season with 1,771. The previous mark was 1,702 by Michigan's Denard Robinson in 2010.

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ESPN’s Karl Ravech: ‘I don’t think the Orioles have staying power in that division’

ESPN’s Karl Ravech: ‘I don’t think the Orioles have staying power in that division’

Baseball, on occasion, lets people’s imaginations run wild. 

From the time the first pitch of a game happens until the final out is recorded, anything — theoretically — is possible. That notion stays relevant even as it’s expanded upon to an entire season. Or, in 2020’s case, a 60-game season. 

And after a 5-3 start to the season, which is now a 5-4 start, some people let their thoughts run free about how likely the Orioles were to make a serious playoff push. 

But some, like ESPN’s Karl Ravech, don’t think the Orioles can sustain their stellar hitting and sturdy-enough bullpen for the entire season.

“I don’t think the Orioles can over the course of 60 games,” Ravech said on NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk Podcast. “I do think over the course of 10, maybe 20, be in it. But a lot of times during a baseball season, the first couple of weeks out of the gate you’re surprised by it. Similarly out west, and I don’t mean to dismiss the Orioles, the Rockies are off to a really good start. To me, the Rockies have better players than the Orioles do.”

After an embarrassing loss to the Red Sox on Opening Day, expectations for the Orioles, which were already low to begin with, cratered amongst the fanbase. But they rebounded to win the next two, and after two-straight losses to the Yankees, swept the Rays in a three-game set at Camden Yards. 

RELATED: ESPN NOT CONVINCED BY ORIOLES’ HOT START, PUTS THEM LAST IN FIRST POWER RANKINGS

With so many questions surrounding every team in the division aside from the Yankees, some hypothesized that, if a miraculous season for the Orioles were to happen, this is the script for such a year to occur.

The Rays were just swept by the Orioles, the Red Sox have an atrocious pitching staff and the Blue Jays still have yet to settle into a permanent home for the season. With an expanded playoff format, the season started in the right way for the Orioles.

“I don’t think the Orioles have the staying power in that division, and playing against the two divisions that they do,” Ravech said.

But while an impressive start was a bit surprising, especially considering some individual achievements across the roster, it’s still not terribly early to think about a playoff race with nearly one-sixth of the season complete.

Yet, despite blazing starts at the plate for Rio Ruiz, Jose Iglesias and Hanser Alberto, and strong performances on the mound from John Means, Miguel Castro and Alex Cobb, the Orioles still have a lot to prove to show the league they are even capable of staying in the playoff chase. 

After all, this team was projected by many to barely, or not even at all, reach the 20-win plateau. 

For now, though, the Orioles having any realistic, no matter to what degree, conversations about a playoff run are a very welcome sign in Baltimore.

“To me, this was always going to be, for better more than worse, but for better or worse, the most memorable baseball season that I’ve ever experienced,” Ravech said. “I think a lot of the baseball fans at home for a million reasons will look at it that way as well. Especially if your team is in it. If you’re rooting for the Orioles, what you think would be a throwaway year, at least for the first month, you’re not throwing anything away.”

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This unusual offseason won't affect how Ron Rivera uses Washington's rookies in 2020

This unusual offseason won't affect how Ron Rivera uses Washington's rookies in 2020

The eight players who make up the Washington Football Team's 2020 draft class are a part of a wave of rookies who have experienced an offseason that's been unlike any other. 

Chase Young, Antonio Gibson and the rest of Ron Rivera's first haul of selections with the franchise didn't get any minicamps or OTAs this offseason. They've been learning through computers and phones instead of through their facemasks and on-field reps since joining the NFL in April. 

Only recently have they set foot inside of the Ashburn facility, meaning the next month and a half is all they'll receive to prepare themselves for their first pro action. That's not how the schedule is supposed to unfold.

And yet, Rivera still won't be scared to lean on them come Week 1, as he anticipates sticking with his go-with-the-young-guys-approach that he's had throughout his career even in these unusual circumstances.

"I’m not going to sell any of our rookies short," Rivera told the media on a Tuesday Zoom call. "I think some of them have come out and done the things that we expected them to do. They’ve caught our eye, they’ve caught our attention and now the big thing will be how do they handle the rest of it?"

RELATED: RON RIVERA MIGHT NOT SAY IT OUTRIGHT BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE WASHINGTON IS DWAYNE HASKINS' TEAM

Rivera, who continues to come across as someone more interested in finding solutions to problems as opposed to excuses to use in light of those problems, is treating Washington's training camp as his own, condensed offseason.

He explained Tuesday that he's instructing his staff to act is if they're currently in OTAs. The earlier portion of camp is going to be devoted to the teaching of base fundamentals that would normally be focused on in May, and then, when the pads come on, the rookies can test those basics out against their teammates.

"I do like the way the ramp-up period is," Rivera said. "Going through these phases and kind of simulating the growth. ... Each time, it’s just another step and another step as we gradually go forward to determining who our team’s going to be as we get into the first regular season game."

Rivera was specifically asked about Saahdiq Charles and Antonio Gibson, two picks who could really factor in on offense, and how they're progressing so far. The coach labeled Charles as a "big, athletic, strong" lineman with "a lot of talent" and called Gibson a "very bright young man" capable of handling what might be a host of responsibilities this season. 

"It’s going to be real interesting to watch how they develop and grow," Rivera said of the group overall.

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That process may actually go smoother this August, at least according to Rivera. Typically, first-year players can suffer fatigue about two-thirds of the way through camp because of the "overwhelming effect of all the material" they're given. Rivera thinks that's "going to change" in 2020 because the draftees should be feeling fresh and yearning for instruction and work.

Yes, the rookies must keep improving as September nears. Rivera is clearly fine with praising them now, but the true compliment will come if he slots guys like Gibson, Charles and Antonio Gandy-Golden into major roles when Week 1 arrives.

But while some coaches may use this offseason as a reason to not feature their newest additions, Rivera's holding firm. He's planning on rolling out his top 11 on offense and defense, regardless of age and experience. That's yet another simple Rivera idea Washington should benefit from.

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