Capitals

USC's Lee has nation's top receiving day since '07

201210271601577043411-p2.jpeg

USC's Lee has nation's top receiving day since '07

Southern California's Marqise Lee turned in one of college football's best offensive performances in years this weekend. Too bad his team lost.

The sophomore receiver caught 16 passes for a Pac 12-record 345 yards against Arizona. He finished with 469 all-purpose yards thanks to his three kick returns for 123 yards, including a 72-yarder that set up the Trojans' last touchdown in a 39-36 loss.

No Football Bowl Subdivision player had piled up as many receiving yards in a game since Donnie Avery of Houston had 346 against Rice in 2007, according to STATS LLC.

Lee's all-purpose yardage was the most since Reggie Bush, another USC Trojan, piled up 513 against Fresno State in 2005.

Despite his big game against Arizona and two other 190-plus-yard receiving games, Lee is well behind national leader Terrence Williams of Baylor.

Williams averages 171.9 yards receiving. Lee is second at 141.1.

The second-best receiving performance of the week also came in that USC-Arizona game. The Wildcats' Austin Hill had 10 catches for 259 yards.

HAPPY RETURNS: Utah's Reggie Dunn had two 100-yard kickoff returns in a 49-27 win over California and now has three in his career.

He's the 16th player in NCAA history to record two touchdowns on kick returns in a game.

Dunn totaled 222 kick return yards on three returns, setting both an NCAA record and school record for kickoff return average in a game (74.0).

MICHIGAN MALAISE: Michigan has gone two straight games without a touchdown - the Wolverines' longest drought since 1962.

Their most recent TD came in the fourth quarter of a 45-0 win over Illinois on Oct. 13. All the Wolverines could muster against Michigan State (12-10 win) and Nebraska (23-9 loss) was a combined seven field goals.

The last time Michigan went without a touchdown for so long was during the 2-7 campaign in 1962, when Michigan State, Purdue and Minnesota shut out the Wolverines in succession.

TACKLE MACHINES: Three of the season's top four tackle performances occurred this past weekend, two of them by teammates.

Nevada's Albert Rosette made a school-record 25 tackles and fellow Wolf Pack linebacker Dray Bell 22 in a 48-31 loss to Air Force. Bell, a senior, was making his first career start.

UAB linebacker Marvin Burdette made a school-record 24 tackles in a 55-45 loss to Tulane. His big outing followed consecutive 17-tackle outings against East Carolina and Houston.

Burdette averages a nation-leading 13 tackles.

FUMBLE PHENOM: Iowa State defensive back Durrell Givens is one of those guys who just has a nose for the football. The senior from Long Beach, Calif., recovered two fumbles and forced another in the Cyclones' 35-21 win over Baylor.

Givens leads the nation with five fumble recoveries in eight games. He has forced three fumbles, tying for 17th.

HIGH-SCORING DUCKS: Oregon's 70-14 win over Colorado padded the Ducks' status as the highest scoring team in the land.

They're averaging 53.4 points a game, just ahead of Louisiana Tech.

The Ducks have scored 40 or more points in 11 straight games and 30 or more in 21 straight - the longest such streaks in the nation. Oregon is 40-2 when exceeding 30 points in the Chip Kelly era.

Quick Links

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

las_vegas-sign-no_caps-stanley_cup_final.jpg
Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Final 2018: X-factors that could swing the series

Stanley Cup Final 2018: X-factors that could swing the series

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights have met only twice in their history. Neither team was expected to get to this point so you can go ahead and throw away the stats, the matchups, the data and the history. A new story will be written in the Stanley Cup FInal.

Who will ultimately win the Cup? Here are four factors that could ultaimtely swing the series.

1. Goaltending

The Caps have faced elimination only twice in the playoffs and Braden Holtby did not allow a single goal in either game. He enters the Stanley Cup Final having not allowed a single goal in 159:27. Andrei Vasilevskiy began to take over the series with his performance in Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5, but Holtby outplayed him to finish off the series in Washington’s favor.

Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, has been the best player in the playoffs. Not the best goalie, the best player.

Through 15 games, Fleury has a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. As good as Vegas has been this postseason, Fleury has stolen several games for the Golden Knights.

Both of these goalies are certainly capable of stealing away a series for their respective teams. Which one will outplay the other?

2. Time off

Rust is a real thing in hockey. Just any team when they come off a bye week. When the Caps and Golden Knights take the ice on Monday, May 28, it will be the first game for Vegas since May 20. That’s over a week off.

Yes, getting rest at this time of the year is important, but too much rest leads to rust and that should be a major concern for Vegas, especially for a team that was playing so well and has so much momentum.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Caps stunned the Tampa Bay Lightning by winning both Game 1 and Game 2 in Tampa. Could they do it again with a rusty Vegas team? Will the long layoff cost the Golden Knights one or even two home games to start the series?

3. The McPhee factor

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was the Caps’ general manager for 17 years starting with the 1997-98 season. He was fired in 2014, but was ultimately responsible for building the core of the Washington team that is now headed to the Stanley Cup Final.

But that also means he knows those players very, very well.

Nicklas Backstrom, Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer and of course, Alex Ovechkin were all drafted by McPhee. Jay Beagle was also signed by as an undrafted free agent.

A general manager does not sign or draft anyone without knowing a good deal about the kind of player they are. Does that give McPhee a bit of an edge when it comes to facing the Caps?

4. Speed

The Golden Knights are fast. When the expansion draft was all said and done it was clear McPhee had targeted two things specifically: defensemen and speed. The result is an exceptionally fast Golden Knights team that no one has been able to keep up with so far.

Vegas' speed mixed with the goaltending of Fleury has proven to be a lethal combination. Their mobility makes it hard to get the puck from them or even keep it in the offensive zone. Once they get it, it’s going down the ice very quickly and you better keep up with them or it's going to end up in the back of the net. Once they build a lead, it is very difficult for teams to dig their way out as evidenced by their 10-1 record this postseason when scoring first.

Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh were both fast teams as well and the Capitals were able to combat that with strong play in the neutral zone. The 1-3-1 trap has given opponents fits and generated a lot of odd-man breaks for the Caps. Will it be as effective against a speedy Vegas team?

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS: