Redskins

Tuesday's Sports in Brief

Tuesday's Sports in Brief

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, Kevin Hogan passed for 123 yards, and No. 8 Stanford won its first Rose Bowl since 1972, beating Wisconsin 20-14 on Tuesday night.

Usua Amanam made the decisive interception near midfield with 2:30 to play as the Pac-12 champion Cardinal (12-2) ended their four-decade drought in the Rose Bowl.

The Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6) lost the Rose Bowl in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season. Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown, but Wisconsin managed only 82 yards after halftime.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Behind huge interceptions early and late, Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl and snapped college football's longest postseason losing streak.

The Wildcats (10-3) earned their first bowl win since 1949, ending a nine-game losing skid that was tied for the longest in NCAA history. They also celebrated double-digit victories for the first time since the 1995 Rose Bowl season.

Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game and Nick Vanhoose set up a late touchdown with a 39-yard interception return. Those plays were the difference in a back-and-forth game that featured more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).

MIAMI (AP) - No. 13 Florida State stuffed No. 16 Northern Illinois' all-purpose threat Jordan Lynch for most of the game to win the Orange Bowl 31-10.

Senior fullback Lonnie Pryor, voted the game's outstanding player, ran for a career-high 134 yards and two scores in only five carries for Florida State. Senior EJ Manuel threw for 291 yards.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Aaron Murray threw five touchdown passes to set a Georgia bowl record, including two in the fourth quarter, and the sixth-ranked Bulldogs beat No. 23 Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Connor Shaw led No. 11 South Carolina to the brink of victory and Dylan Thompson carried the Gamecocks over the hump in the Outback Bowl.

Thompson came off the bench to throw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left, enabling South Carolina (11-2) to tie a school record for victories with a 33-28 win over No. 19 Michigan.

DALLAS (AP) - Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State's five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a disappointing Big 12 finish by dominating Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL has kicked the ball back to the players' association in the form of another counteroffer as the sides play pingpong in the search for labor peace.

The proposal was presented in a 30-minute meeting that was long delayed as the league worked on its response to the union's counteroffer Monday. The NHL started this latest round of talks with a contract offer late last week.

After reviewing the document later Tuesday night, Fehr planned to get back in touch with the NHL on Wednesday morning and expected to meet with the league for a third straight day.

PRO FOOTBALL

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals officially have begun their coaching search with a formal interview of defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

The interview conducted by team president Michael Bidwill was the first in the team's search for a replacement for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired Monday after six seasons on the job.

The team has reached out to Andy Reid but had not scheduled an interview. Reid was fired Monday after 14 seasons as head coach in Philadelphia.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Charles Woodson has been cleared to play again, and the Green Bay Packers are counting on the defensive back to provide a lift in Saturday night's playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers signed kicker Billy Cundiff on Tuesday to compete with struggling veteran David Akers.

PRO BASKETBALL

DENVER (AP) - The Denver Nuggets took advantage of the Los Angeles Clippers' shooting woes, getting 17 points from Danilo Gallinari in a 92-78 victory that snapped the Clippers' franchise-record, 17-game winning streak.

BASEBALL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - David Price got a hefty raise for winning the AL Cy Young Award.

A person with knowledge of the deal said that the three-time All-Star and the Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year contract worth just over $10 million, avoiding arbitration.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet made a formal announcement. Price earned $4.35 million last season, when he went 20-5 with an American League-low 2.56 ERA.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - First-place Manchester United and second-place Manchester City began the new year with emphatic victories in the Premier League.

United cruised to a 4-0 win at Wigan for its second straight shutout. City treated its home fans to a 3-0 decision over Stoke.

SKIING

VAL MUSTAIR, Switzerland (AP) - Kikkan Randall of the United States and Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway won cross-country races at the Tour de Ski.

Randall finished more than 50 meters ahead of Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway. Another Norwegian, Heidi Weng, was third.

MUNICH (AP) - Felix Neureuther of Germany rode the support of the home crowd Tuesday to win a World Cup parallel slalom.

None of the three Americans - Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin and Julia Mancuso - made it past the quarterfinals at Olympic Park.

TENNIS

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane International because of an injured right collarbone that left her unable to serve. She said she didn't want to aggravate the injury with the Australian Open two weeks away.

Also out was 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, who lost 6-4, 7-5 to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a season-opening tournament that has proved rough for many of the top players.

Serena Williams had no such problems. She carried her relentless winning form into 2013, reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at night over No. 44-ranked Alize Cornet.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Top-seeded David Ferrer rallied to defeat German qualifier Dustin Brown 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of the Qatar Open.

CHENNAI, India (AP) - Matthias Bachinger of Germany upset 2010 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at the Chennai Open.

PERTH, Australia (AP) - The United States rallied past France 2-1 Tuesday, with John Isner and Venus Williams capturing the decisive mixed doubles to win a second straight series at the Hopman Cup.

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Redskins fans and players can both be right about FedEx Field frustrations

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USA Today Sports

Redskins fans and players can both be right about FedEx Field frustrations

The Redskins moved to 6-3 on Sunday by beating the Buccaneers in Tampa, and now sit two games clear in first place in the NFC East. 

That should be the biggest football story inside the Beltway. But it isn't. 

The story has become that two of the most high-profile members of the Washington defense said that they prefer playing road games to being in their home stadium. Why? Because on the road they can hear better and focus more since they don't have fans booing them. 

Seriously. 

"Home games, that’s some of the worst things I’ve seen. I’ve played on four different teams, never seen it that bad, with other team’s jerseys in the stands, the boos, whatever it may be," Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger said during an appearance on 106.7 the Fan's Grant and Danny program on Monday. 

"I’ve never been a part of nothing like that."

This freight train started moving on Sunday, when after the win in Tampa, Josh Norman said he likes playing on the road. Why? Because there aren't any boos.

"We go into the homestands, and it’s like an open bubble,” Norman said. “Like the other team’s turf or something. You hear more of them than you do us. Then if something bad happens, they suck. They sit back in their seat, and they boo."

There's a lot to unpack here. 

Norman and Swearinger are right. There are always a lot of visiting fans at FedEx Field. Some of that might be that Washington is a transient city, but some of it is also because other fans have determined that it's easy to get tickets at FedEx Field. 

Why is it easy for visiting fans to get tickets? Well, there's not much sizzle at FedEx Field.

The area doesn't have shopping or restaurants around it like many newer NFL stadiums. The traffic, like much of life in the D.C. area, is awful. The stadium itself is underwhelming; old and lacking character. 

The Redskins are working hard to overhaul the game day experience, and some of the efforts are alrady working. But the problem is some fans have soured on the idea of spending the day at FedEx Field, and that will take time to fix. Probably years. 

One obvious fix? A new stadium, preferably back in downtown D.C. That is a long way off though. 

Plenty of fans are bothered by Swearinger and Norman's comments, and they have reason for that, too. 

To start with, there are tens of thousands of fans at every home game, cheering on their club. Lifelong, loyal fans that pay good money to watch the Burgundy and Gold. 

Do some boo? Certainly. But they only boo when the team is bad. Play good, no boos. It's fairly simple.

And the boos aren't only about a specific game, or even a specific season. Many Redskins fans are just frustrated with the franchise in general for a litany of reasons. Things have been stable under Jay Gruden, but for a long time, they weren't. 

What isn't fair for Norman and Swearinger is they played zero part in the multi-decade erosion of the Redskins fan base. And some would argue the fan base hasn't actually eroded, just that fewer fans want to make the trek to the stadium and commit to the full day that is attending an NFL game.

For 20 years, Washington has played plenty of bad football at home. During that time, some fans simply decided they'd rather watch on television, or go for a walk, or do yard work, or hang with their family. 

The toughest part is that both Norman and Swearinger can be right, but the fans that are upset with the comments can be right as well. 

Are there good fans? Absolutely. Are there lots of visiting fans? Yep. 

It won't be fixed overnight. Winning is the best cure, however, as old fans will return and new fans will be created. 

Play well and there won't be any booing. Keep winning games and there won't be anything but burgundy in the stands. 

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Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke changed everything about who AP Top 25 voters considered to be the nation's best team with a single dominating performance against a marquee opponent.

It also gave the Blue Devils yet another milestone under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski: a record number of appearances at No. 1.

The Blue Devils jumped from fourth to first Monday in the first regular-season poll, leapfrogging Kansas at the top after a blowout win against then-No. 2 Kentucky last week. That allowed Duke to set a record with its 135th week at No. 1, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most top rankings in poll history.

The 34-point win against the Wildcats in the Champions Classic to open the season marked the program's most lopsided win against a top-5 opponent. Duke was practically flawless behind star freshmen RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and that created a buzz about the team's already lofty potential being somehow even higher than anyone anticipated.

Granted, it was one game. And Duke (2-0) didn't look nearly so dazzling Sunday at home against Army. But that one performance caused a major voting shift, even with now-No. 2 Kansas earning a quality win of its own against then-No. 10 Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic.

Kansas was a solid preseason No. 1 by earning 37 of 65 first-place votes, followed by 19 for Kentucky and four for Duke. But Duke now has 48 first-place votes, claiming the top spot for all 19 voters who had Kentucky as preseason No. 1 while also causing 23 voters to switch from Kansas in the preseason Duke this week.

Duke also prompted switches from the lone voters who had Gonzaga and Villanova at No. 1 in the preseason.

The hype probably won't slow anytime soon, either. The Blue Devils have everyone's attention.

"Part of becoming good is keeping the noise out of your locker room," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Army win. "And when something good happens and you have the start of the season ... there's a lot of noise. And for us, it's not always good noise, but in this case, it was exceptional noise. Exceptional noise.

"When you have four freshmen and we don't have veterans, you have to be more mature about listening to that."

COMPLETE MEN'S BASKETBALL TOP-25 RANKINGS WEEK 2

1. Duke 2-0 (48 votes, No. 4 last week)

2. Kansas 1-0 (14 votes, No. 1 last week)

3. Gonzaga 2-0 (No. 3 last week)

4. Virginia 2-0 (2 votes, No. 5 last week)

5. Tennessee 2-0 (1 vote, No. 6 last week)

6. Nevada 2-0 (No. 7 last week)

7. North Carolina 2-0 (No. 8 last week)

8. Villanova 2-0 (No. 9 last week)

9. Auburn 2-0 (No. 11 last week)

10. Kentucky 1-1 (No. 2 last week)

11. Michigan State (No. 10 last week)

12. Kansas State 1-0 (No. 12 last week)

13. Oregon 2-0 (No. 14 last week)

14. Florida State 2-0 (No. 17 last week)

15. Syracuse 2-0 (No. 16 last week)

16. Virginia Tech 1-0 (No. 15 last week)

17. Mississippi State 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

18. Michigan 2-0 (No. 19 last week)

19. Clemson 2-0 (No. 22 last week)

20. UCLA 2-0 (No. 21 last week)

21. TCU 2-0 (No. 20 last week)

22. LSU 2-0 (No. 23 last week)

23. Purdue 2-0 (No. 24 last week)

24. Marquette 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

25. Buffalo 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

AT THE TOP

Gonzaga stayed at No. 3, followed by Virginia and Tennessee each climbing a spot to round out the top 5. Nevada, North Carolina, reigning national champion Villanova and Auburn were next, while Kentucky slid eight spots to No. 10.

TOP RISERS

There weren't any dramatic climbs beyond the Duke-Kansas change at the top. In all, 16 teams moved up this week poll, with No. 14 Florida State and No. 19 Clemson matching Duke's three-spot jump for the biggest of the week.

Twelve of the gains were merely one spot.

LONGEST SLIDES

Kentucky's fall was the biggest for any team that stayed in the poll. The others were all modest, with four teams -- Kansas, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 16 Virginia Tech and No. 21 TCU -- falling one spot each.

NEWCOMERS

There were two new teams in the poll with No. 24 Marquette and No. 25 Buffalo.

It's the first appearance for Marquette in nearly five years since last appearing at No. 25 in November 2013.

As for Buffalo, it's the first AP Top 25 appearance in program history. It comes after the Bulls got 43 points and 14 rebounds from CJ Massinburg to beat then-No. 13 West Virginia on the road -- another marquee upset for a team that beat Arizona and eventual No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Deandre Ayton in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament.

SLIDING OUT

The Mountaineers slid all the way out after losing to the Bulls, which marked their first loss in a home opener since November 2003. Washington fell out from No. 25 after a loss to Auburn.

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