Dowell dazzles in Texas Nationals IMCA Modified feature

first_imgBy J.M. HallasWACO, Texas (July 4) – J.P. Dowell scored the big $1,500 Texas IMCA Nationals payday, mak­ing a convincing run to the Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified checkers.The new Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifier won the pole dash, started from the front row and led every circuit in the 25-lap, caution-free main event.Dowell beat Kevin Green into turn one when the green flag waved. Justin Radcliff and former na­tional champion Keith White both got by Green but by that time Dowell had already checked out on the field.Even lapped traffic didn’t deter Dowell as he continued his domination, dicing through slower cars. At the checkers Dowell had nearly a straightaway advantage over Radcliff and White.“I was a little worried about lapped traffic. I knew the car was good and I watched the track and the lines I was going to take. I picked them off real easy and got by them,” Dowell said. “When you’ve got a good car underneath you, it’s easy to do. I’m happy and it’s one of those nights that everything works out perfect.”Hometown racer Jeff Sheppard scored the biggest win of his career, taking home $1,000 for the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMod victory.Charles Cosper also took home $1,000, for the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car win, while Andy Roller raced to the $600 IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock checkers.Sheppard jumped out front early and was chased by Trevor Egbert and Robert Scrivner. He put some distance on both before encountering traffic with 10 laps left.A late caution erased what was left of Sheppard’s lead but Egbert and Scrivner traded some paint on the restart, giving him the opportunity to ease away and take the win unchallenged.“I never looked at the scoreboard. I normally do. I knew Egbert was there, I knew Scrivner was there. There are so many regulars who have won these races and have been fast every week here,” Sheppard said. “I had some bad luck earlier this year and was determined to run my own race as hard as I could, keep my equipment until the end and I think what held up.”After nearly getting caught up with a spinning car, Cosper was promoted to the point and led much of the Stock Car feature with B.J. Dulock right behind.He held onto that slim advantage following a late caution that set up a green, white, checkered finish.“This was the race I won last year right before my father passed suddenly the next week. It was the last race my dad got to see me drive. It’s been a tough couple weeks with Fathers Day and this race,” Cosper said. “I won at 281 Speedway on Fathers Day and this brings up a lot of emo­tions. It feels like it just happened yesterday. I’d give anything to get a little bit more time with him. I wish he was here right now.”Roller caught Chayson Bishnow and then Jeremy Oliver at midway for the Hobby Stock lead.He got into traffic with two to go but easily kept Oliver in his wake on the way to victory lane.“This is my first win of the year here, Jeremy’s won most of them. It feels good to win here. I like winning big shows and the big checks,” Roller said. “Hopefully the rest of the season goes that way, too.”Feature ResultsModifieds – 1. J.P. Dowell; 2. Justin Radcliff; 3. Keith White; 4. Jason Batt; 5. Kevin Green; 6. Dwayne Grantham; 7. Dean Abbey; 8. Johnny Sheets; 9. David Goode Jr.; 10. Chase Jupe; 11. Brandon Hood; 12. Ronnie Warren; 13. Raymond McSpadden; 14. Joe Spillman; 15. Jarrett Rob­erts; 16. Robert Liese Jr.; 17. Jerry Frydrych; 18. Ken Old; 19. Robert Stewart; 20. Brian Walker; 21. Doug Lorenz; 22. Billy Bachmeyer; 23. Dillon Smith; 24. Will Poston.Southern SportMods – 1. Jeff Sheppard; 2. Trevor Egbert; 3. Jeffrey Abbey; 4. Robert Scrivner; 5. Chris Cogburn; 6. Steve Hayes; 7. George Egbert; 8. Garett Rawls; 9. T.J. Green; 10. Chris Birmingham; 11. Steve Wade; 12. Sid Kiphen; 13. Damon Hammond; 14. Robby Minten; 15. Don Painter; 16. Thomas Bennett; 17. Andrew Richards; 18. Sarah Goode; 19. Chad Hughes; 20. Calen Mohler; 21. Ronnie Bell; 22. Talon Minten; 23. James Holder; 24. Carlton Brunson.Stock Cars – 1. Charles Cosper; 2. B.J. Dulock; 3. Ryan Powers; 4. Brandon Hood; 5. Pat Wil­son; 6. Peter Delevan; 7. Robin Batt; 8. Westin Abbey; 9. Jared Rady; 10. Matt Hood, 11. Thomas Hall Sr.; 12. Juston McCullough; 13. Tony Hamil; 14. Anthony Otken; 15. Eric Jones; 16. Ken Plon­sky; 17. Damon Hammond; 18. Joe O’Bryan; 19. John Frydrych; 20. Markiss Harcrow; 21. Sam Sovey; 22. Zach Riley.Hobby Stocks – 1. Andy Roller; 2. Jeremy Oliver; 3. Shannon Dulock; 4. Brandon Geurin; 5. Mark Geurin; 6. Hayden Wade; 7. Chayson Bishnow; 8. Wesley Warren; 9. Stephanie Hender­son; 10. Joe Williams; 11. Stacey Robinette; 12. Dale Caswell; 13. Chad Bowman; 14. Jordan Kornegay; 15. Jeremy Hendrix; 16. Christian Hunt; 17. Max Brazeal; 18. J.B. Whalley.last_img read more

Andre Russell is a billion dollar man for Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn

first_imgBengaluru: It was another blitzkrieg from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Andre Russell that saw his team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), but KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik wants the others to rise to the challenge, especially the bowlers.While praising Russell for putting together another masterpiece, Karthik added that the bowlers too needed to take responsibility. The captain also appreciated the way Chris Lynn started at the top of the innings with a 31-ball 43. “Those kind of knocks, you don’t talk much. We trust him as a player. It’s important to give him an atmosphere where he’s happy and he just keeps performing. Yes, it was hard to play strokes against spinners with the ball gripping but was easier against the fast bowlers,” he said after the game on Friday. “I think as much as well he batted, it’s time we all started to bowl better and help the batters. It was nice to see Lynn bat like that and take responsibility.”Lynn though was all praise for Russell and said that the West Indian is just too good. Looking back at the game, he added that both teams gave opportunities to the other (on the field), but Russell just turned everything in favour of KKR with the bat in hand. “We keep putting him in tough situations and he keeps lifting his game. He is just too good. Two-hundred and fifteen was probably par on that wicket. Both teams gave opportunities. We dropped Kohli and AB de Villiers and RCB also dropped a couple of chances. Luck was on our side. Change of fortune for us. It is unbelievable and entertaining for us. He keeps doing it. He is a billion dollar man for KKR,” he said. IANSAlso Read: SPORTS NEWSlast_img read more

Jaggesar, Beaton sink Sri Lanka A

first_imgWEST Indies A’s bowlers combined to pick up a 165-run win in the first unofficial ODI against Sri Lanka A in Dambulla. The win was set up by their new-ball pair of Ronsford Beaton and Delorn Johnson, whose early strikes broke the back of Sri Lanka’s chase of 268.Offspinner Jon-Russ Jaggesar then accelerated Sri Lanka A’s slide with wickets of the middle and lower order; he finished with career-best figures of 4 for 29 as Sri Lanka A were bowled out for 102.Ronsford BeatonRonsford BeatonAfter electing to bat, West Indies A compiled 267 over two days, as rain intervened to push the match into a reserve day, just 12.5 overs into the innings.The innings was built around three important contributions. Opening batsman Kyle Hope set up the platform by holding his end amid frequent strikes. He top-scored with 81. West Indies A captain Jason Mohammed and Rovman Powell provided the late thrust with half-centuries.West Indies A began the reserve day on 69 for 2. Hope resumed on 28, with Andre Fletcher, on 7, for company. The two added another 42 for the third wicket, before Fletcher fell to the left-arm spin of Milinda Siriwardana. Hope added 63 with Mohammed for the fourth wicket before being bowled by Amila Aponso, the left-arm spinner.By that time, he had got to his second half-century and his List A career-best score. Powell then joined Mohammed and slammed 55 off just 35 balls, hitting three fours and as many sixes. Both Mohammed and Powell fell in the last over, but their efforts had helped West Indies A slap 93 in the last 10 overs.Beaton and Johnson took the first four wickets within seven overs of the chase to leave Sri Lanka A reeling at 26 for 4. Jaggesar entered the wickets column when he broke a 23-run fifth-wicket stand – the highest Sri Lanka A could put together – by dismissing Minod Bhanuka. He added the scalps of Chartih Aslanka and Dasun Shanaka to his name as the slide continued. Shehan Jayasuriya top-scored with 24 at No. 8, but that was of little significance to the result.Beaton finished with 3 for 26 in 6.3 overs – his best in List A – and Johnson finished with 2 for 19 in four overs. The second match takes place in Kurunegala tomorrow, before the series concludes with the third and final game on Sunday in Colombo. (ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more

The Latest: Olympic flame handover ceremony to be closed

first_imgThe Latest: Olympic flame handover ceremony to be closed Greece currently has 331 confirmed cases and four deaths.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditLONDON (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):___9:55 a.m. March 16, 2020center_img The Greek Olympic committee says the Olympic flame handover ceremony for the Tokyo Games will take place without spectators in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.The committee says the accreditation cards that had been issued for Thursday’s ceremony at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 would not be valid.The body’s headquarters will also remain closed from Monday until further notice.The committee canceled the remainder of the Olympic torch relay last week after crowds gathered in southern Greece to watch part of the torch relay in Sparta, where the torch was carried by actor Gerard Butler.Greek health authorities have warned people to stay home, and have shut down everything from restaurants, bars and cafes to public organized beaches, ski resorts, hair salons and movie theaters, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Associated Press last_img read more

CWI slashes staff, player incomes by 50 per cent

first_imgST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – Cricket West Indies (CWI) has slashed staff and player incomes in half, in an attempt to remain viable amidst mounting financial troubles due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.Describing the move as a “temporary measure”, the board said in a statement Friday that it “deeply regretted” having to make the cuts but was left with little choice “in the face of debilitating economic challenges which have resulted from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.The measures, adopted following “close consultation with all stakeholders”, will also extend to the funding for territorial boards, territorial board franchises along with the players association WIPA.Retainers and allowances for directors and executive management are also being slashed by half.CWI approved the measures during a board of directors’ meeting held by teleconference on Thursday, acting on recommendations put forward by its Financial Strategy Advisory Committee, established last month and chaired by Jamaica Cricket Association president Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven.The board said it did not envisage the measures lasting beyond “three to six months”.CWI president Ricky Skerritt said the current environment had required a “huge sacrifice” from the entire West Indies cricket fraternity.“Cricket is the beating heart of our region for many individuals, communities, and economies,” said Skerritt, who recently likened CWI’s finances to a patient in intensive care.“This pandemic is hurting every West Indian and this decision to cut staff and player incomes has been a very difficult one to make; one that will impact so many members of the cricketing family around the Caribbean.“This business continuity plan unfortunately requires all stakeholders to make a huge sacrifice, but I am confident that it won’t be long before CWI will be in a position to ensure that the sport we love can restart and be enjoyed once again by the thousands of cricket fans across the region and diaspora.”CWI’s finances had been ailing for a while, a situation repeatedly highlighted by Skerritt since coming to office last year April. The board’s international broadcasting deal, a major source of its revenue, expired last December and a new one is yet to be negotiated.With the outbreak of COVID-19 forcing a halt to cricket globally, CWI faces the prospect of having to postpone home tours by South Africa and New Zealand, both of which were expected to be a boon to the organisation’s finances.Having kept staff, players, coaches and other officials on full pay since the start of the pandemic, chief executive Johnny Grave said the “temporary reduction” in pay was a means of helping to navigate the current crisis.“The effects of this pandemic have been distressing for everyone – the worst crisis of our lifetime – and at present, we cannot be certain when the situation will be rectified,” Grave pointed out.“We recognise that this will cause financial pain for all our staff, players, coaches and umpires across the Caribbean, but having kept everyone on full-pay since the outbreak in March we have no choice but to take decisive action from next month onwards.“CWI’s greatest asset is our people and players and everyone sharing equally in the temporary reduction we believe is the best way for us to ensure we get through this crisis and protect our organisation and all the jobs in the system.“We will be reviewing the situation regularly with the hope that we can return to normal operations at the earliest opportunity.”last_img read more

Nigeria Withdraws from FIBA-Africa Zone 3 Championship

first_imgThe Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) did not give any reason for the country’s withdrawal. FIBA Africa Zone 3 President, Col. Sam Ahmedu ( Rtd), who confirmed the development said;“It is indeed a sad development that Nigeria, which is one of the top countries in the zone is withdrawing at this eleventh hour for a tournament it registered for over four months ago.“This will no doubt take some shine off the championship.  This development also denies Nigerian youth players the opportunity of competing with their peers at this level.   Coming on the heels of the recent visa imbroglio which denied the National U-17 girls team travelling to Spain for the World Championship, it means that our Nigerian youths will not be participating in any international Tournament this year.” Meanwhile, all arrangements for a successful championship have been concluded for the Zone 3 Qualifiers holding at the Halle des Arts, Cotonou, Benin Republic on Saturday, July 2, 2016.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Nigeria has withdrawn from the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Under-18 Championship for Boys and Girls scheduled to commence tomorrow in Cotonou, Republic of  Benin.The competition is the qualifiers for the FIBA Africa Under-18 Championship scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda in October, 2016.The winners and runners up in Rwanda are to represent Africa at the 2017 World U-19 Championships for Men and Women.FIBA – Africa Zone 3 was informed of Nigeria’s withdrawal via an email on Monday, June 27, 2016, just five days to the commencement of the championship in Cotonou.last_img read more

Nick Piroli making most of playing time after early season injury

first_img Published on May 13, 2016 at 2:00 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettus Related Stories Brandon Mullins never wanted the spotlight, but now he’s the focal point of Syracuse’s defenseNo. 5 Syracuse rides balanced attack to 16-7 win over No. 12 AlbanyMen’s lacrosse NCAA tournament 2016: Breaking down the fieldSyracuse men’s lacrosse reacts to upcoming NCAA tournament matchup with AlbanyDylan Donahue reverts to old form scoring 4 goals to lead Syracuse past Colgate, 18-3 Nick Piroli “dropped out of the sky” for Syracuse, head coach John Desko said, but a week later the ground ripped him away.Piroli was in practice inside the Ensley Athletic Center when he tripped and an all-too familiar feeling came back. It had happened before, his junior year at Brown. A torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee sidelined him for the entire year. This time it was the other knee, just one game (one start) into the season, and he feared it happened again.“Right when it happened, I kind of knew something was wrong with it,” Piroli said. “It felt the exact same … I guess I kind of knew exactly what it was.”Doctors confirmed Piroli’s self-diagnosis of a torn PCL in his right knee. The attack had come to Syracuse to use his final year of eligibility as a graduate student, but now, he thought, that had just been taken away.And yet, a month and a half later, Piroli returned against Notre Dame on April 2. He’s played sparingly in each game since then, including about 10 to 15 minutes against Colgate on May 7 — his most time since the first game of the year. Though he began the season as a starter, Piroli is happy enough to have made it back onto the field, even as a backup. With potentially one game left in his college career, eighth-seeded Syracuse’s (11-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) NCAA tournament first round matchup with Albany (12-3, 6-0 America East) in the Carrier Dome on Sunday, Piroli wants to make the most of the limited time he has left.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think he looks great out there,” said midfielder Tim Barber, who moved up to attack to replace Piroli. “… It’s great to have him back. He’s another threat on our offense that we can use as well as give Jordan (Evans), me and Dylan (Donahue) a break if we need one.”Piroli took his own two-week break after the injury to rest. He was back on a treadmill, testing out his knee and trying to get back into shape soon after that. While Piroli sat out, Desko described him as “week-to-week,” “out momentarily,” but added that he expected him back by the end of the season.When it first happened, Piroli was down on himself, not knowing if he’d be able to make it back. Not knowing if his college career had ended on the turf in practice. But when the chance for him to come back emerged, he was “pumped up” about getting another shot.He worked with the trainers and strength coaches to rehab nearly every day. While he wasn’t playing, he felt like he had to do something, so he lifted weights more than usual. He sat on the sideline at practice and studied the offense he had been thrust into a few weeks earlier.“I definitely learned some of the movements and motions in the offense I might not have learned if I was actually doing the offense,” Piroli saidHe still does several stretches, leg exercises and rides a stationary before practices and games to help his knee. Piroli won’t put a percentage on where he’s at, but said he’s “getting closer to full percentage.”He picked up an assist against Colgate on Saturday, sporting a brace on his right knee as he has since his return. Since his return, Piroli’s limits have also been on display.Piroli was pressuring Raiders goalie Brandon Burke hard on the ride, but Burke cut left, forcing Piroli to plant and change directions on his damaged knee. The goalie ran past with ease.“I don’t think we’re getting a great dodge out of him right now,” Desko said, “but he’s in there and he’s not making mistakes.”Before the start of the season, Desko described getting Piroli — a graduate transfer who could come in and start for a team that had a lot to replace on offense — as a gift. Now, Piroli expresses the same attitude toward just being able to see the field, if only for a few minutes each game.After all, it’s better than the alternative.“I’m just going to try to make the most of this, this last month that I have left,” Piroli said. “Whether it’s playing here or there or having a bigger role or anything really. I just want to make the most of it.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Q&A with MTSU beat writer Erik Bacharach of The Daily News Journal

first_img Published on September 7, 2017 at 11:28 pm Contact Tomer: tdlanger@syr.edu | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: Sept. 10, 2017 at 10:36 p.m.Syracuse (1-0) squares off against Middle Tennessee (0-1) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The Orange is coming off a 50-7 win over Central Connecticut State, while the Blue Raiders are coming off a 28-6 loss to Vanderbilt.MTSU beat writer Erik Bacharach of the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, answered five questions about the upcoming matchup.The Daily Orange: Vanderbilt managed to sack MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill five times last week. How and why did that happen, and is it a problem that can be corrected quickly?Erik Bacharach: Five sacks in a single game is obviously not a good number if you’re the offensive line, but it’s made even more eye-opening when considering Stockstill was sacked just eight times in 10 games last year. The difference between this year’s offensive line and last year’s? Three of its five 2016 starters. So MTSU had a lot of holes to fill on the O-line heading into the year, and head coach Rick Stockstill continually cited it as one of his biggest concerns during the offseason. Those concerns were fully realized last Saturday night against Vanderbilt. In addition to the five sacks, Stockstill was hurried four times and the running game averaged just 1.9 yards per carry. While the right side of the offensive line — Stockstill’s blindside — is occupied by a couple of veterans in Chandler Brewer and Carlos Johnson, its left side is manned by two players with hardly any experience as starters. It doesn’t seem like the problems we saw Saturday night are correctable within the span of a couple of weeks, more likely over the course of a season. That said, with as much emphasis as MTSU has placed on getting it fixed in a hurry, I’d expect the O-line to take a step forward against Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe D.O.: Can we expect a Mike Minter Jr. shadow Steve Ishmael for most of the game? How does the defense operate when he’s on his game?E.B.: I’d expect for that to be the matchup we see Saturday. Minter was MTSU’s returning leader in pass deflections (10) and interceptions (two), but perhaps that needs to be taken with a grain of salt: The team’s secondary was by no means lights out last year. That sentiment applies to the entirety of MTSU’s 2016 defense, which allowed 35.8 points per game. It did, however, look improved last week against Vanderbilt in our first glimpse of Shafer as MTSU’s defensive coordinator. Facing Syracuse’s spread offense, Minter’s role is obviously a crucial one, but MTSU’s defense starts up front with its emphasis on stopping the run and continually applying pressure on the quarterback.The D.O.: What’s made Richie James so effective and how does an opponent try to slow him down?E.B.: Put simply, James is an incredibly perceptive football player. At 5-foot-9, 176 pounds, he has to be. He’s a master at reading a defender’s body language, creating space and using his top-tier athleticism from there. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason said last week, “Richie James could be at Missouri, and he’d be one of the top receivers in the country.” Point being, MTSU found a diamond in the rough in James, and the best part about it is he’s still only a junior. Slowing him down is obviously a tall order and a high point of prioritization if you’re Syracuse, but it’s not necessarily the key to an opponent’s win. Last year, MTSU lost all three games in which James went for more than 160 receiving yards. In last weeks’ 28-6 debacle against Vanderbilt, the MTSU offense was in complete disarray, but James still managed 10 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. So with James, there’s a certain guarantee every time he steps on the field. You know he’ll be somewhere near last year’s averages of 8.1 catches and 125 yards per game. For Syracuse, it’s a matter of limiting that as best it can, and probably more importantly, making sure the other playmakers on MTSU’s offense are contained, which Vanderbilt did really well last week.The D.O.: Are players or coaches addressing defensive coordinator Scott Shafer’s return to the Carrier Dome? Or is that not being talked about leading up to the game?E.B.: There’s been a lot of skillful dancing around that storyline, especially by Shafer himself. He’s been asked about his return to Syracuse several times this week and the most he’s offered is, “It’s just a business trip.” We did get a window into what Saturday’s matchup will mean to him through MTSU linebacker D.J. Sanders. During a press conference on Monday, Sanders said, “He said we would all be best friends for life if we beat Syracuse. So that’s extra motivation for us. It’s maybe kind of personal for him, but for us it’s just another game and that’s how we’re going to approach it.”The D.O.: What’s one big factor you’re looking for Saturday, and who do you think wins?E.B.: I think it goes back to MTSU’s offensive line. If it has another paltry showing like it did against Vanderbilt last week, MTSU will be in trouble. If Syracuse’s defensive front replicates what Vanderbilt’s did a week ago, MTSU will be in trouble. Ultimately, I think the Blue Raiders’ line looks a bit improved from last week, but would predict Syracuse to get the better of it, sparking a home win for the Orange. Commentslast_img read more

Erickson: NFL boycott may be necessary

first_imgI was sitting in my living room, enveloped in the large forest green cushions of my couch, when Antonio Freeman made “The Catch.”It was Nov. 6, 2000. I was only 9 years old – a wee little fourth-grader – yet I remember that catch as if I were a wide receiver, feeling the ball bounce on me, reaching out for it and streaking toward the end zone, glancing at the defensive back who already started celebrating the turn of possession.Just over a year later, sitting in that same living room, I watched a blizzard. It was the 2001 AFC divisional playoff game – what eventually would be known as the “Tuck Rule Game.” Between the snowflakes, the game was barely discernible, but then Charles Woodson sacked Tom Brady, causing the quarterback to fumble the ball. The gravity of what I just witnessed didn’t set in until years later.I’ve watched football every Sunday, Monday and (now) Thursday since my memory could function. So I didn’t think anything of it when I watched the Seahawks-Packers game Monday night. Rather, I was ready to enjoy what was bound to be a fun game.Three and a half hours later, an insane Week 3 came to a close with one of the most controversial calls the league has probably ever faced.As Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary toward the end zone, Packers safety M.D. Jennings and Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate fought for the ball. Two referees came in – one called it an interception, the other a touchdown. While announcers, players and fans alike made conjectures at the call – especially after a video replay seemed to confirm it was an interception – the refs came back to the field and announced a touchdown.Due to a continued strike by the unionized NFL referees, replacement refs have caused frustration throughout the league in the first three weeks – mainly because they simply aren’t experienced enough to officiate at the professional level.But while frustration and impatience have taken the league by storm – between players, coaches and fans – the 14-12 Monday night decision was one of the first times the replacement refs had ever decided a game.First off, everyone needs to remember it was only Week 3 and that it was only a football game. If it were a playoff game, or a game that had an extreme impact on the playoff race, over-the-top outrage would be warranted. But it wasn’t. It was only Week 3. And need I remind Packer fans that in 2010, Green Bay finished the regular season 10-6 en route to a Super Bowl Title. A 1-2 start is not something to freak out about – yet – especially given the tough schedule with which Green Bay started the season.Instead of taking to the Internet and calling for both Roger Goodell’s head and the replacement refs’ lives – excuse the drama – fans have the power to evoke change in a largely more profound way.Football fans can only hope the Monday night touch-ception will ignite the owners to reach a swift deal with the original league officials. But as the NFL continues to remain a healthy business venture week in and week out, there is no real pressure for the owners to react promptly to the officials’ demands, even after such a fiasco.That’s where the fans come in.As difficult as it may be, the best and most efficient way to make your frustration heard is to simply not watch football. Don’t do it.The NFL’s ratings haven’t slipped at all, even with the replacement refs. If the NFL starts to lose money, only then will it feel immediate pressure to make a change. Instead of holing up in front of your TV all day Sunday, unsubscribe from the NFL Network, go outside and play a little football of your own. Go for a walk. Grill out. Go check out all the classic fall activities you can – go to the apple orchard, pick some pumpkins, go get lost in that corn maze. Or if you must stay inside, watch a movie – a football one even (if you really need that fix).This can even be taken one step further. Stop going to games. As part of a season-ticket holding family, this is an extremely difficult claim to make. But if the strike continues and calls similar to Monday night continue to take place, refusing to go to games or buy tickets may just be the way to go, to show owners and the NFL that fans aren’t happy.Now boycotting games is certainly a drastic suggestion, which also affects the players – the very same players who are just as upset about the call and the officiating situation.When Green Bay’s offensive lineman T.J. Lang sent out the most expensive tweet of his life, venting his frustration at the situation, he soon followed it up with a tweet asserting he didn’t care about getting fined and, if anything, the NFL should use that money to pay the “real” officials. Some Packers even suggested another players strike if the officiating situation continues.Either way, once the owner’s start to feel the sting of losing a few bucks or a million, the impact of the fans’ and players’ outrage will finally be felt.Kelly is a senior majoring in journalism. Will you go on an NFL strike? Let her know @kellymerickson or send her an email at kerickson@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

T-Time: USC can succeed despite low ranking

first_imgHeading into Saturday’s season opener at the Coliseum, USC won’t be ranked in the Top 10 of either the Coaches Poll or AP Top 25. In Sports Illustrated’s college football preview issue, the publication didn’t include the Trojans in its Top 20. At Pac-12 Media Day, only two people voted for the Trojans to repeat as Pac-12 Champions. Thirty-seven of 42 picked Washington. “Personally I love when we’re ranked lower than we should be,” said senior linebacker Cameron Smith in USC’s “One for All” video series. “I think it gives us something to fight for … I love being where we’re at right now.” Entering most USC football seasons, there’s a palpable sense of hype that borders on nauseating. After all, there’s a reason the term “hype train” has been banned from the Daily Trojan lexicon. In 2018, this preseason hysteria is nowhere to be found. And it predates success for the Trojans. Last year, the No. 4-ranked Trojans were clearly handicapped by this hoopla. They sputtered right out of the gate with a sluggish performance against Western Michigan. USC subsequently escaped with late victories against Texas and Cal, but couldn’t hide its deficiencies much longer. Two turnovers, nine penalties and a rough outing from quarterback Sam Darnold sealed USC’s fate in a Week 5 loss against Washington State. The Trojans wouldn’t crack the Top 10 for the rest of the regular season. Unlike last year, USC doesn’t come into 2018 with ridiculously high expectations, mainly because most of last year’s flashiest and most productive players are now in the NFL. “We don’t have a star,” said Smith in the same video, echoing his head coach. “We don’t have a Sam Darnold, we don’t have a Ronald Jones. But at the end of the year, we’re going to have stars.” One of those “stars” could be freshman quarterback JT Daniels. Daniels — a product of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. — should be in high school right now. Instead, he skipped his senior season to join the Trojans a year early. Most high school juniors take lots of naps and study on occasion (maybe I’m projecting a bit). Meanwhile, Daniels was taking extra classes and studying USC’s spring practices. His unlikely journey to USC reached its climax on Sunday, with head coach Clay Helton naming the 18-year old as the team’s starting quarterback. He beat out sophomores Matt Fink and Jack Sears, both of whom failed to distance themselves in spring practice — before Daniels arrived on campus. Replacing a Top 3 NFL Draft pick at quarterback is no easy task, especially for a true-true freshman. But offensive coordinator Tee Martin won’t ask Daniels to be Darnold. In fact, Daniels remaining true to himself may be better for the Trojans. For all of his clutch plays, impossible throws and schoolyard scrambles, Darnold also had a bad habit of giving the ball to the other team. He threw 13 interceptions and fumbled 12 times in 2017, which directly affected USC’s win-loss record. Against Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl, Darnold fumbled twice and tacked on an interception. The Trojans would manage just one touchdown in the loss, despite out-gaining the Buckeyes 413-277. Daniels doesn’t need to throw for 4,000 yards and a gazillion touchdowns in order for USC to be successful. He just needs to avoid turnovers and complete key passes when called upon. By reclassifying and immediately starting, Daniels is doing the unprecedented. However, true freshmen quarterbacks leading their programs to the mountaintop is not. Last year’s national championship game became a duel between two freshmen signal callers — Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Georgia’s Jake Fromm. Both were 19 years old when the game kicked off. Daniels, the reigning Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, turns 19 in February. Of course, Tagovailoa and Fromm were backed by elite defenses. USC’s defense is far from SEC-caliber, but it should be the class of the Pac-12. The group returns the crux of last year’s secondary, plus loads of talent at linebacker. Smith and fellow senior college football expert Phil Steele ranked both position groups as the best in the conference.“That group is obviously the strength of our team,” Helton said. “And defense wins championships.”During the past two years, USC’s defense has led the nation in sacks. They’ve contained Stanford’s Bryce Love, intercepted UCLA’s Josh Rosen and rattled Washington’s Jake Browning. The talent and experience is there. Now, they just need to find consistency. USC’s season will not be a cakewalk. The schedule’s first half is riddled with grueling match-ups, like road trips to No. 13 Stanford, No. 23 Texas and Arizona. But a return to the Pac-12 Championship — at the very least — is not impossible. The team just needs to avoid a slow start and play with discipline. Ten seniors in the starting lineup should help in both regards. Unshackled by hype, USC dives into 2018 with something to prove, rather than something to defend. That spells danger for the rest of the Pac-12. Trevor Denton is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “T-Time,” runs every other Wednesday.last_img read more