Nationals

Wake's Campanaro emerges as a double threat

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Wake's Campanaro emerges as a double threat

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) The Atlantic Coast Conference's top receiver once again can try to beat teams by throwing the ball.

Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro says his broken right hand has healed enough that ``I got my fingers back,'' and that could make him doubly dangerous as a threat to catch the ball - or throw it - this week at North Carolina State.

``Can't let you know if it's in the playbook or not,'' Campanaro said Tuesday with a laugh. ``Might be. We might have some tricks up our sleeve this week.''

Campanaro, who missed two games after breaking his hand Sept. 29 against Duke, averages a league-best 8.6 catches for the Demon Deacons (5-4, 3-4). He matched an ACC record with 16 catches while scoring three touchdowns last week against Boston College.

He's also known to throw the ball on trick plays.

He has a passer rating of 412.6 after completing 3 of 4 passes last season with two touchdowns - including a 40-yarder against the Wolfpack that they still haven't forgotten.

N.C. State (5-4, 2-3) certainly has been vulnerable to unorthodox plays, giving up TDs to Tennessee and North Carolina on end-arounds by receivers, then dodging a bullet last week when Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims dropped an easy pass from a running back while wide open in the end zone.

``By now, it's out there that teams are going to try something early, and if we continue to allow them to have success, then they're going to continue to show up early in games,'' N.C. State safety Brandan Bishop said. ``Wake Forest has been known, especially with some reverses, to do some tricky stuff, so I'm sure that we'll see it this week. In fact, I pretty much guarantee it.''

But Campanaro doesn't always need to resort to trickery. He's proven he can put up huge numbers in conventional ways, too.

Three times this season, he's established a career high for receptions in a game.

For a few days, his 10-catch evening in the opener against Liberty was his best, but a week later he had 13 against North Carolina.

Then came his big day against BC, something coach Jim Grobe said wasn't part of the plan. Grobe says he would prefer that another receiver steps up so that the offense isn't exclusively Tanner Price pitching to Campanaro.

``We didn't have a plan to try to have Mike set a record or anything,'' Grobe said. ``We just went in hoping to complete a few and he ended up being the beneficiary.''

Campanaro's three-touchdown performance in that game was his second this season - he also caught two TDs and rushed for a third against Army.

Part of the reason for his gaudy stat line: Wake Forest often asks its flanker to catch screen passes, then turn up field. They count as receptions on the stat sheet but are basically extensions of the run game.

``I thought there were a lot of balls out there that anybody could have been catching,'' Campanaro said. ``It's kind of like an outside running game when you're catching those balls. ... I have fun with it. I like touching (the football) as much as I can.''

When he was hurt early in the Duke game, the offense basically came unglued. In two full games without Campanaro, Price - a career 59 percent passer - hit on just 35 percent of his throws in a loss at Maryland and a close win at Virginia.

Campanaro had six catches for 52 yards in his return two weeks ago against Clemson before getting in a groove against BC. And with his favorite target back to form, Price was 39 of 57 for 293 yards.

``My main goal is to win as many games as possible and get to a bowl game, so that's kind of what we're focused on right now,'' Campanaro said. ``Anything I can do on the offensive side of the ball to keep us on track. I think we're ... getting better each week now, and we're getting our identity back on offense.''

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Nationals Roundup: Nats blow multiple leads in frustrating walk-off loss to Mets

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Nationals Roundup: Nats blow multiple leads in frustrating walk-off loss to Mets

The Nationals lost to the New York Mets, 6-5, Tuesday to drop their record to 19-29. 

Consider these news and notes as Washington trudges through its four-game series in New York: 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS: 

Erick Fedde made his first start of the season for Washington Tuesday night and put together a solid outing. The 26-year-old threw five innings of one-run baseball, allowing four hits, a walk, and strikeout. Thirty-one of his 61 pitches were sinkers.

Do you believe in the broadcaster's jinx theory? Perhaps you might after reading up on what Juan Soto did in the 2nd inning Tuesday. Then, later in the 8th, Soto scorched a go-ahead double to deep right notching his 100th career RBI. 

METS: 

Amed Rosario was the hero at Citi Field. His walk-off infield single off Kyle Barraclough was the difference in New York's 6-5 comeback win. 

The Mets got a quality start from starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, who threw seven innings of four-hit ball, three earned runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. 78 of his 118 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Pete Alonso is lighting it up right now. His game-tying 417-foot home run in the 8th marked his 16th of the season. 

Injuries: 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 31

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 27

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

1B Matt Adams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 22

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least May 23

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least May 25

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 21

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Wednesday, 5/22: Nationals @ Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field 

Thursday, 5/23: Nationals @ Mets, 12:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field

Friday, 5/24: Marlins @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

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Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

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Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

Bruce Allen identified getting a contract extension done for Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff as one of the Redskins biggest priorities of the 2019 offseason. To this point, however, nothing has happened. 

That doesn't seem to have Scherff concerned. 

"We've been talking, but I'm not really worried about that," he said after OTAs on Monday. "I'm here for another year, so that's all I'm worried about right now. Everything will take care of itself."

Scherff, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has played at an elite level since his rookie season. He's made two Pro Bowl teams in four years, and until last year, had been remarkably durable. 

In 2018, Scherff's season started very strong. 'Skins coach Jay Gruden described the former Iowa Hawkeye as the best pulling guard in the NFL and it was well-earned praise. Then, in a Week 8 loss, Scherff went down with a torn pectoral muscle. His season was over. 

At OTAs, however, Scherff was a full participant with no brace or apparent encumbrances from the injury. 

"I'm feeling really good, just taking it slow and making sure I'm 100 percent," he said. 

Expect the free agent market to be quite bullish. Once a lesser-paid position than tackle, guards have recently started pulling in significant cash. Zach Martin's recent contract extension in Dallas pays him more than $14 million per season, and Jacksonville is paying Andrew Norwell more than $13 million this year. 

For Scherff, expect top of the market money. He has the talent, pedigree and ability that if Washington won't pay in the neighborhood of Martin and Norwell, he can wait for free agency. 

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