Nationals

Tulsa caps big year with 31-17 Liberty Bowl win

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Tulsa caps big year with 31-17 Liberty Bowl win

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship wouldn't say whether this was the best season in school history. He just let the numbers speak for themselves.

``History will decide all that,'' Blankenship said Monday after Tulsa capped its second 11-win season in school history with a 38-17 Liberty Bowl victory over Iowa State. ``What I meant is that they've accomplished some things that nobody has done. That's what I want to give them credit for.''

Tulsa also went 11-3 in 2008, but that team lost to East Carolina in the Conference USA championship game. This Tulsa team matched a school record in victories while also capturing the Conference USA title and winning the Liberty Bowl.

Iowa State culminated its history-making year culminated by avenging its season-opening loss to the Cyclones.

``That's a huge deal for us,'' Blankenship said. ``We've had a team that won 11 before, so we tied that. We had a team that won the Liberty Bowl before and won Conference USA. We've done that. But we did it all in the same year (this season).''

Iowa State (6-7) defeated Tulsa 38-23 on Sept. 1 by coming back from a 16-7 deficit, but it was Tulsa that rallied in the rematch. Tulsa trailed 17-7 at the end of the first quarter before scoring the game's final 24 points.

Tulsa won by capitalizing on the versatile rushing attack that carried the team all season.

Trey Watts, the game's most valuable player, rushed for 149 yards. Alex Singleton had three short touchdown runs to give him a season total of 24. Ja'Terian Douglas rushed for 79 yards on eight carries.

``We never wavered, not for a second,'' Watts said.

Both Tulsa and Iowa State had changed since their last meeting.

Iowa State's Steele Jantz, who threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score against Tulsa on Sept. 1, lost his starting job to redshirt freshman Sam Richardson. The Cyclones' leading rusher (Shontrelle Johnson) and top tackler (Jake Knott) from the Sept. 1 game sat out the Liberty Bowl with injuries.

Tulsa linebacker Shawn Jackson was serving a three-game suspension during the last meeting with Iowa State. Jackson sacked Richardson on consecutive plays late in the first quarter Monday and forced a fumble in the game's closing minutes.

``I felt like I left my guys down (in September),'' Jackson said. ``I wanted to give the defense a little spark.''

After going 6 of 7 with 114 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, Richardson was 4 of 14 for 15 yards with an interception the rest of the way while battling flu-like symptoms. Jantz replaced Richardson early in the fourth quarter.

``You can't ask much more from a young player like Sam,'' said Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein, who tied a Liberty Bowl record with 19 tackles. ``He's going to have a great career the rest of his time here at Iowa State. That's the type of people we want to build this program around, people that will give it up, no matter what condition they're in.''

Iowa State delighted a partisan crowd by taking the 17-7 lead on Edwin Arceo's 33-yard field goal, Jeremy Reeves' 31-yard interception return and Ernst Brun's 69-yard reception. Tulsa has the smallest enrollment of any Football Bowl Subdivision program, and about 80 percent of the 53,687 fans were dressed in Iowa State cardinal-and-gold.

But after moving the ball at will in the opening period, Iowa State's offense did virtually nothing right the rest of the day.

``Games are often won and lost at the line of scrimmage, and we did not play a physical enough brand of football to move the sticks enough and stay on the field enough to get it in the red zone, let alone get it in the end zone,'' Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said.

Tulsa took the lead for good with a pair of touchdown runs - 8 yards by quarterback Cody Green and 2 yards Singleton - in the first four minutes of the second quarter.

The Golden Hurricanes' comeback followed a familiar pattern. Tulsa headed into the bowl game ranked third in the nation in sacks (48) and 11th in rushing (240.2).

``These guys are a very tough-minded, physical and resilient team,'' Blankenship said. ``I couldn't be prouder.''

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How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

Major League Baseball is going to be bizarre in 2020. A 60-game schedule. The designated hitter in the National League. No fans.

But the change a lot of baseball fans might have the toughest getting used to is the tweak to extra innings. Each team will begin each extra inning with a man on second base. The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast had differing opinions on the new rule.

“I absolutely love it,” NBC Sports Washington's Nick Ashooh said.

Team reporter Todd Dybas did not agree.

“The rule is dumb. It goes against everything that baseball is about.”

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Chase Hughes broke the tie. “I’m a no on the rule too. I’m with Todd.”

What about the strategy of starting with a man on second base? Could team's exploit or alter the ending of the previous frame to set up a new inning? 

The rule states: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”

Dybas wondered if it would be wise to end the previous inning on purpose if a speedster is at the plate with two outs.

“Would it behoove [Giants'] Billy Hamilton to make the final out? So the next inning he would start at second base?” Hamilton is a career .242 hitting but has 299 stolen bases in 809 games played. 

RELATED: COULD MORE OPT-OUTS BE COMING? 

Frustration will also be inevitable. “I can’t wait to hear from the players on the first team to lose by that rule,” Hughes said. “What are they going to say?” 

2020 has already thrown us plenty of curveballs, the changes to baseball will just be a couple more the sports world will have to adjust to. 

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Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington's three best players, the Wizards hopes of making the playoffs in the NBA's Orlando restart have taken a hit.

On Thursday, Wizards coach Scott Brooks joined the Inside the NBA team on TNT, where Charles Barkley genuinely asked him who has to step up for the team when the games begin.

Brooks' response was unexpected, yet also hilarious. Here was the exchange:

Barkley: "Obviously, without John and Bradley, your two best players, give us two names that really need to step up for you guys."

Brooks: "Well, I think we should play that game where you name two guys on our team besides those two guys." 

Barkley: "Let me tell you something, I don't know anybody on your team! So I want you to tell us two players on your team."

To Barkley's credit, much of the national media has not paid any attention to the Wizards this season. The team only had one game on national TV this season, a November clash with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

RELATED: ISH SMITH SAYS BUBBLE FOOD ISN'T THAT BAD

When basketball does resume, the Wizards are six games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot in the East. Washington needs to make up two games over the final eight contests in order to force a play-in game for the conference's final playoff spot.

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