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Washington leads Georgia Tech past Duke, 42-24

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Washington leads Georgia Tech past Duke, 42-24

ATLANTA (AP) Tevin Washington passed for three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead Georgia Tech to a 42-24 win over Duke on Saturday, preserving the Yellow Jackets' hopes of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3 ACC) is bowl-eligible for the 16th consecutive season and moved one-half game ahead of Miami in the Coastal Division. Miami ends its conference schedule next week against Duke.

Duke (6-5, 3-4) already clinched its first bowl berth since 1994.

Washington threw two scoring passes to Robert Godhigh and one to Zach Laskey.

Duke receiver Conner Vernon became the ACC's all-time leader in yards receiving, passing former Florida State star Peter Warrick's record of 3,517 yards. Vernon, who began the game 35 yards behind Warrick's mark, had five catches for 38 yards.

On the first play of the game, Vernon caught a 2-yard pass from Sean Renfree, giving him receptions in 46 consecutive games, setting another ACC record. North Carolina's Corey Holliday had the old record of 45 games.

Miami, 4-3 in the ACC, would win a tie-breaker with Georgia Tech, thanks to its 42-36 overtime win over the Yellow Jackets on Sept. 22, if each team finishes 5-3 in the league.

Miami, under NCAA investigation, could self-impose its second-straight bowl ban. That decision would send Georgia Tech to the Dec. 1 ACC championship game.

Washington completed 6 of 10 passes for 102 yards and had 19 carries for 62 yards. He matched his career high with the three touchdown passes. He also threw three scoring passes against Western Carolina on Sept. 1, 2011.

Godhigh had 18 carries for 72 yards and David Sims rushed for 70 yards with a touchdown.

Renfree completed 24 of 36 passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as Duke took its third straight loss.

Washington, playing in his final home game, reclaimed his hold on the quarterback job one week after he played only two possessions in a 68-50 win over North Carolina.

Washington set a school and ACC record for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback when he capped a 13-play drive with his 1-yard scoring run on Georgia Tech's first drive. The rushing touchdown was his 36th. Joshua Nesbitt had the old record of 35 for the Yellow Jackets from 2007-10.

Vad Lee, who played most of last week's game at quarterback, had four carries for 13 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run. He completed 2 of 4 passes for 17 yards.

Georgia Tech led 28-24 when Washington led an 18-play touchdown drive that lasted 8 minutes, 31 seconds. It was the Yellow Jackets' longest drive by number of plays and time of possession this season.

The only pass of the drive was Washington's 8-yard touchdown toss to Godhigh with about 10 minutes remaining.

On Duke's next possession, linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu's third-down sack of Renfree forced only the Blue Devils' second punt of the game.

Attaochu delivered the key play for Georgia Tech's defense again when he made the stop on a fake punt by Duke's Will Monday with about 5 minutes remaining.

Renfree had a 24-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Scott in the first quarter and a 1-yard scoring pass to Juwan Thompson in the third quarter. Renfree had a 9-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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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...

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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?

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