Redskins

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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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Roster competition, Brown vs. Pryor

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 23, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins  and NBC Sports Washington.

Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense—NFL coaches and others like to tell you that competition determines who wins roster spots in the league. And that may be true to an extent. But many roster spots are predetermined by a player’s contract situation and/or draft status. It is unlikely that an undrafted player like Fish Smithson will win a roster spot over Troy Apke even if the former outperforms the latter in every way during training camp. Apke was a fourth-round pick and they aren’t going to give up on him in favor of an undrafted player. It would cost $3.2 million in dead cap to cut Stacy McGee and only $150,000 to move on from Ziggy Hood so McGee will win a “competition” that is even remotely close. (Offensive projection here)

Redskins will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor at training camp—While this is something that could add a little spice to the Jets’ visit to Richmond, don’t look for much of anything to happen. Zach Brown might give a little extra shove to Pryor here and there but he’s not going to do anything that will draw blood or even cause a deep bruise. If nothing else, a big hit on Pryor would invite retaliation by the Jets on Josh Doctson or Paul Richardson. And that might lead to more retaliation and you end up with a brawl like the Redskins and Texans had a couple of years ago.

Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice—Williams is going into his ninth NFL season and he has yet to be on the winning side of a playoff game. He thinks that Alex Smith and Derrius Guice can help change that. 

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list—I normally greet this list with a big yawn and this year was no exception. But I do find the omission of Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating and was third in adjusted net yards per attempt, odd. In an update to this post, the NFL released the names of the top 10 players and Smith is not on it. He shouldn’t be, but he should be somewhere on the 100, perhaps in the middle of the pack. The only Redskins player to appear on the list was Trent Williams at No. 57.

The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger—It’s likely that nine players who are 25 or younger will line up as starters for the Redskins this year. I don’t have a rundown of how that compares to the rest of the league but it’s notable that in the last two years six of them have replaced players who were either approaching age 30 or over it. I’ll engage in some speculation here and say that five of the young players—Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, and Montae Nicholson—are good enough to potentially make a Pro Bowl at some point in their careers. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins defensive tackle Dave Butz was born on this date in 1950. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 33
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 70

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 78 days. 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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