Review Category : National Sports

Joe Flacco: Still Have to Put the Work In

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — The Baltimore Ravens will have the spotlight to themselves after the Orioles were knocked out of the ALCS by the Royals on Wednesday.

Fresh off throwing five touchdown passes, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is making sure his team does everything they can to prepare the right way after blowing out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday.

Flacco said the biggest challenge the team will face after an easy win is “coming in here and reminding yourself and everybody to put the work in. I think that comes naturally for us, it’s something we’re good at doing, once you get out there on Sunday everything takes care of itself.”

Concerning Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Flacco said: “We were in the same class. As long as you’re still talking about us, we’re somewhat relevant, so I guess that’s a good thing. It’s nice to see that we are still relevant.”

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh knows the Falcons will be hungry for a win after losing three in a row.

“Atlanta’s good. They’re going to be on turf, so they’re going to be fast,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve got big, fast receivers. They’ve got fast running backs, and they got a quarterback that drives the whole thing. That’s an explosive football team, and we’ve got to be ready for them.”

The Ravens will host the Atlanta Falcons, who are 0-3 on the road this season.

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Hugh Freeze: Team Needs to ‘Stay in the Moment’

University of Mississippi/Getty Images(OXFORD, MS.) — Third ranked Ole Miss (6-0) will host the Tennessee Volunteers (3-3) in an SEC matchup on Saturday.

Ole Miss comes into the game 3-0 in their conference and head coach Hugh Freeze doesn’t want his team looking past the Volunteers.

Freeze said he wants the team to “stay in the moment [and] prepare for this game Saturday. It’s the only one we should be worried or concerned about. The other ones are in the trash; this is the only one that matters.”

Mississippi is averaging 35.7 points per game, but the Tennessee defense is only giving up 19.2 this season.

“They’re very active up front,” Freeze said. “They’re downhill players are very aggressive, they’re going to commit people to stopping the run, [which is] very difficult to run the football on.”

Tennessee is 0-2 on the road this year and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin is looking forward to the task of handing Ole Miss their first loss.

“[Facing Ole Miss] is definitely a big opportunity,” Reeves-Maybin said. “Everyone’s been talking about their defense, but we’re going to let everybody know that Tennessee’s defense is here and we’re going to make a statement.”

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Kings Ink Jake Muzzin to 5-Year Extension

Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Defenseman Jake Muzzin signed a five-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday that will keep him with the team though the 2019-20 season.
The 25-year-old Muzzin joined the Kings as a free agent in January of 2010. During that time, he’s played in 132 games, scoring 12 goals and dishing out 29 assists. He also scored six postseason goals last season, tops among all NHL defenseman.
“Good for Jake, good for us,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of the signing. “It just shows the progress that the organization and he have made in terms of developing and getting better, and finding your spot and knowing you’re in a good place.”

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ESPN: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict Fined $25K

David Lee/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined $25,000 for twisting the ankles of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and quarterback Cam Newton in Sunday’s game between the two teams, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.

Werder also reports that Burfict has been told he’s considered a repeat offender, and any future incident identical to this will result with a trip to the league office.

“He’s got to continue to play within the rules,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday. “And he got called for a penalty last week that was, again, not necessarily a penalty. …Football’s changing, and we’re trying to really coach the head out of football. And that’s been the mission of the league for the last two or three years, and that continues daily. And we’ve got to do that, we’re teaching young guys new habits…Sometimes when that ball goes in the air it’s difficult to do all the time.”

The 24-year-old Burfict has played in three games this season recording 18 tackles, two passes defended, and one forced fumble.

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K.C. Royals Sweep the Orioles in the ALCS

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — The Kansas City Royals are the kings of the American League.

The Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday to punch their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 1985.

Royals starter Jason Vargas along with relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland held the Orioles to just four hits. Kansas City pushed across two runs in the first inning on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.

Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain was named the ALCS MVP after going 8-for-15 (.555), with two doubles and five runs scored.

The Royals will play the winner of the San Francisco Giants-St. Louis Cardinals NLCS matchup in the World Series.

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Report: Rangers Decline Contract Option for OF Alex Rios

iStockphoto(ARLINGTON, Texas) — The Texas Rangers have declined the 2015 option on outfielder Alex Rios, and he will become a free agent after the World Series, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The option would have paid Rios $14 million, but instead he will receive a $2 million buyout. Texas acquired Rios from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 11, 2013 for a player to be named later. The Rangers sent infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia to complete the trade.

In 178 games with Texas, Rios batted .280 with 10 home runs and 80 RBIs. He also swiped 33 bases and had an OBP of .312.

Rios was shut down after Sept. 4 because of a thumb injury.

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Mavericks Sign Free Agent Guard Yuki Togashi

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — The Dallas Mavericks signed free agent guard Yuki Togashi on Wednesday.

The native of Niigata, Japan, played high school basketball at Montrose Christian School in Maryland, the alma mater of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Upon graduation in 2012, Togashi returned to Japan to play for the Akita Northern Happinets of the Basketball Japan League. In 58 games played during the 2013-14 season, he averaged 16.3 points, 7.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Togashi most recently suited up for the Mavericks’ NBA Summer League Team. He averaged 5.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in four games.

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Pistons’ Jodie Meeks Out 8 Weeks

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(AUBURN HILLS, Mich.) — Detroit Pistons guard Jodie Meeks will be out eight weeks due to a stress fraction in his lower back, the team announced on Tuesday.

The injury was discovered following a CAT scan conducted on Monday by team medical personnel, the Pistons said.

Detroit gave Meeks a three-year deal worth $19.5 million this offseason and he will be re-evaluated on a regular basis as the season progresses.

Meeks has a career averages of 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 24.3 minutes in 355 games with 194 starts.

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Brian Kelly Focused on Handing FSU a Loss

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fifth ranked Notre Dame will get all they can handle from the second ranked Seminoles on Saturday.

Both teams come into the game at 6-0, but Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is currently under another investigation, this time having to deal with autographs that he signed.

Even with the investigation under way, Irish head coach Brian Kelly is preparing his team for Winston to be at quarterback.

“[They have] obviously 22 straight games, Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, but it’s not just the quarterback. This is a deep football team. Offensive line I think is where I would start. One of the best offensive lines I’ve seen in some time,” Kelly said . “I remember going against them three years ago, it was a freshman laden, young offensive line, extremely talented. Now it’s a veteran group. So I think that that’s probably what really stands out to me.”

Kelly also credited the work of the FSU offensive players this season.

“[They have] outstanding wide receivers, great skill, whether you’re talking about either receiver, Greene, vertical depth, vertical play is the thing that concerns you about them. They can go and get the football. O’Leary at the tight end position, depth at the running back,” Kelly continued. “[They are] just a well balanced offense across the board. Defensively, athletic, physical, great corner play. I think led by Darby. Outstanding player, great speed, great make up speed, can play the ball. Again, that’s why they’re the defending national champions.”

“Playing at their place will be a great challenge. It’s the first time on the road for us, so we’ll have to play in that kind of environment,” he added.

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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Jets Hope to Snap Losing Streak in New England

Nick Lahem/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New York Jets are hoping to avoid a sixth consecutive loss on Thursday night when they take on the New England Patriots.

The Patriots are looking for their sixth consecutive regular season home victory over the Jets.

There has been much criticism over head coach Rex Ryan going with second year starter Geno Smith instead of veteran Michael Vick, but Ryan has faith he’ll turn it around.

“I think Geno is the best way to go right now,” Ryan said. “That’s why I’m comfortable saying he will be our starter.”

Ryan said this week that the team doesn’t need any extra motivation and believes in his team.

“It’s going to be there. Both teams don’t like each other,” Ryan said. “There’s respect for each other, but I don’t think you really like each other. We know we have to be at our very best.”

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