Capitals

ULM-Ohio matchup set for Independence Bowl

ULM-Ohio matchup set for Independence Bowl

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) Louisiana-Monroe, playing in its first bowl game, will meet Ohio in the Independence Bowl.

The Independence Bowl selected Ohio (8-4, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) after being told Louisiana Tech was not yet ready to accept an invitation the Dec. 28 contest that could have been a matchup of two north Louisiana schools.

The Warhawks (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt Conference) announced Saturday that they had accepted an invitation to play in Shreveport, which is a drive of less than two hours from Monroe.

The Warhawks played in two overtime games against Southeastern Conference opponents this season, defeating Arkansas and losing to Auburn. ULM now heads into the postseason having won seven of its last nine games.

``To have a historic season culminate in a bowl such as the Independence Bowl and the great city of Shreveport is extra special,'' said Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry. ``This team continues to work very hard. The ULM faithful can be very proud of this team both on and off the field and can know that we will give a maximum effort toward bringing the Independence Bowl trophy home with us.''

The Bobcats, whose selection was announced Sunday night, opened the 2012 season 7-0, including a victory at Penn State. Ohio was ranked as high as No. 25 in the AP poll, but lost four of its last five games.

Ohio will be playing in its fourth straight bowl and second in Louisiana since 2010, when the Bobcats fell to Troy in the New Orleans Bowl.

Ohio and ULM will be meeting for the first time. It will be the first appearance for Ohio in the Independence Bowl, but the second for coach Frank Solich, coached Nebraska in a 27-23 loss against Ole Miss in 2002.

Ohio athletic director Jim Schaus noted that he played for Oregon when the Ducks beat Tulsa team in the Independence Bowl in 1989.

``I am just so impressed with the history of the Bowl and how first-class it is,'' Schaus said. ``We are looking forward to the matchup, and we couldn't be happier.''

Led by quarterback Kolton Browning, the ULM has averaged 442.7 yards and 35.5 points per game. Browning has 2,830 yards passing and 27 touchdowns.

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton has completed 62 percent of his passes this season for 2,513 yards and 16 TDs. He has had help from running back Beau Blankenship, who averaged 125 yards rushing and compiled a school-record 1,500 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns this season.

Quick Links

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: