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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    The NFL admitted that the Browns stripped Derek Carr of the ball in the fourth quarter instead of just sacking him.

    BEREA, Ohio -- The NFL admitted Tuesday that the Browns forced Derek Carr to fumble in the fourth quarter of the Browns' 45-42 overtime loss to the Raiders and that the play should not have been blown dead.

    With 5:54 remaining in regulation and the Browns up 35-34, Myles Garrett and Genard Avery combined to strip-sack Carr, and Larry Ogunjobi recovered.

    But the refs blew the whistle and ruled Carr stopped for forward progress, robbing the Browns of the turnover in the crucial point in the game. Garrett and Avery still combined for a 3-yard sack, but didn't get the strip.

    The Browns got the ball back at their 35 after a fair catch interference call against the Raiders, and Nick Chubb scored on his 41-yard TD three plays later to increase the Browns' lead to 42-34.

    "Watch the passer on this play,'' said Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron says, at about 2:38 in the weekly officiating video. "We rule passer stopped for forward progress and we kill the play. This is not forward progress. Obviously this is a fumble, we should not have blown the whistle. But because we ruled forward progress on this play, this play is not reviewable.

    "This play would only be reviewable if it pertains to the line to gain or the goal-line. So again, once the official ruled forward progress, the only way that play is reviewable either via a challenge or a booth review is if pertains to the line to gain or the goal-line.''

    Earlier in the day, before the NFL sent out the week 5 video, Garrett and Avery admitted the quick whistle baffled them.

    "For the life of me, I can't understand that call,'' Garrett said. "They called it down when the ball was floating into Larry's hands. That's kind of how the game goes."

    He said he didn't know that the play was dead.

    "I just turned and saw him running and then eventually he made it 10 yards, 15 yards down the field and they started blowing the whistle."

    Avery agreed it was a sack-fumble.

    "It was,'' he said. "They're not going to give us nothing so we've got to keep playing our game and doing what we can do and maybe they'll give us a call (one of these days).''

    The officiating video did not show or mention the reversal of Carlos Hyde's third-down conversion with 1:38 left in regulation, which if not reversed would have enabled the Browns to run the clock out and celebrate a 42-34 victory, their first back-to-back wins since 2014. A league source told cleveland.com on Monday that a combination of angles show that Hyde's elbow and wrist were down short of the first-down line.

    "The angles definitely gave me a view and perspective that he was short," Riveron told profootballtalk.com.


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    Clarkson saw a flawed basketball player, one whose weaknesses were exposed underneath the bright lights of the NBA playoffs. He also saw someone who needed to slim down, his body fat having increased to an undesirable level.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- When your postseason maiden voyage is akin to that of the Titanic, there are a few options: wallow in self-pity, blame others or look in the mirror.

    Jordan Clarkson chose the latter.

    When he gazed into that polished piece of glass he was extremely dissatisfied with the reflection. Clarkson saw a flawed basketball player, one whose weaknesses were exposed underneath the bright lights of the NBA playoffs. He also saw someone who needed to slim down, his body fat having increased to an undesirable level.

    It was time for a few changes.

    "This is just me, 26 years old, this is my fifth year in the league and I've just got to do something different," Clarkson said in a private conversation following Friday's practice. "I felt like I was doing the same thing. I really had to look myself in the mirror and really take it into account to really get better and change stuff."

    Clarkson took about two weeks off and then the hard work started.

    The first change came off the court. Clarkson found a new strength and conditioning guy in Los Angeles who helped change his diet.

    He ousted sugars and breads. He swapped out beer and other alcoholic beverages for wine. He eliminated trips to fast food joints, including Popeye's -- admitting that was one of the toughest sacrifices. Instead of capping meals with sweets, like candy that he loves so much, Clarkson now sips on health-conscious smoothies -- similar to the customized one he was enjoying while conducting the interview at the center of the Cavaliers' practice floor.

    "I took the challenge and I'm still on it now," Clarkson said of the diet. "Just helps me wake up in the morning. I feel good, I feel refreshed and then it helped my body as well, cutting some body fat down. Just getting ready for the year. This is probably the best I've felt since I've been in the league."

    Clarkson, whose body fat was around six percent when he was in L.A. this summer, believes he is now down near 5.5.

    He's stronger now, ready to handle the troublesome physical play that Indiana, Toronto, Boston and Golden State used to render him ineffective throughout Cleveland's postseason run. The on-ball pressure was frustrating and his handle wasn't tight enough to cope. He couldn't shake free from the stingier postseason defenses and struggled to get quality looks. Then he started pressing.

    When he finally watched film from the playoffs it was a painful.

    So Clarkson put together an on-court plan, wanting to work on those exposed flaws.

    "It's all learning for me. I don't really get too high or too low, I'm pretty even-keeled," he said. "I look at all my experiences as what it's supposed to be. It's my life, take one step at a time. If I fall down, I've got to get right back up."

    On the court, Clarkson worked with Drew Hanlen, whose full-time clients also include Washington's Bradley Beal, Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins, Philadelphia All-Star Joel Embiid and Chicago's Zach LaVine. Clarkson also had a few individual sessions with Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue, who made it a point to schedule time with the youngster. Clarkson met Lue in Las Vegas for about a week and the two got together once more in Los Angeles. Lue came prepared, with specific bullet points.

    "A lot of it was pick-and-roll stuff, creating space," Clarkson said when asked about the focus of those workouts. "We worked on a lot of passing drills. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but we did a lot of passing drills, ball-handling and stuff like that."

    In his private film study, Clarkson noticed opponents blitzing him and trying to force the ball out of his hands. They also flustered him with high shows and made him take poor shots, as he couldn't properly identify how he was being defended coming off screens.

    "Just making those reads off those pick-and-rolls, getting the ball out of my hands and learning how to make those passes out of those situations," Clarkson said. "I really ain't never been taught that. Just being able to sit down and kind of pick it all apart, it was good for me."

    Those workout sessions with Lue also allowed the player-coach relationship to grow.

    Clarkson arrived as part of Cleveland's roster shakeup at the deadline in February. That meant there wasn't much time to get acclimated to the new system or new style. It also prevented him from building a strong connection with Lue. For Clarkson, being around Lue this summer allowed him to not just get important on-court pointers, but to talk with him and pick Lue's brain about his own experiences.

    "Not really anything different, just adding to his game," Lue said. "We still want him to be a scorer. But when guys are open, to be able to make the right play. Definitely got to keep working with that. You haven't seen a lot of passes yet, but he put the work in to get better at that."

    After tallying 12.6 points per game off the bench in 28 regular season games with the Cavs, Clarkson averaged just 4.7 points on 30.1 percent shooting from the field in 15 minutes per playoff game. The NBA's second-leading bench scorer during the regular season, Clarkson reached double figures just twice in the postseason. He was benched for the final two games of the NBA Finals.

    Clarkson, expected to be one of Cleveland's key reserves as they fight for a playoff spot without LeBron James, is certainly focused on this upcoming season. It's his chance for redemption. But that initial playoff experience going so poorly still doesn't sit well with him. It helped fuel what could end up being a transformative summer.

    "Had a lot of motivation," Clarkson said. "But I'm understanding on how it is. I felt like I played a lesser role during the playoffs. A lot of it comes with what it is, during that time I wasn't making shots and stuff like that. It's part of the game. You're going to take your ups and downs.

    "I'm here trying to prove people wrong. I feel like people are going to judge me from one playoff series when I didn't really play much or get much time in and it was an all new experience for me. I'm coming back ready to go, my head down ready to attack it."


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    The Indians don't want to come back to Cleveland down 0-2 in the best-of-5 ALDS series. That's why there is pressure on the team and Carlos Carrasco.

    HOUSTON -- Scribbles in my notebook after the Indians lost 7-2 in Houston. They are down 0-1 in the best-of-five American League Division Series.

    1. After the game, the Tribe's Francisco Lindor talked about how the Indians were up 2-0 on the Yankees in last year's ALDS ... and lost the series in five games. He mentioned the Indians being up 3-1 in the 2016 World Series ... and losing the next three games to the Cubs. His point was no reason to panic when down 0-1 in a best-of-five series.

    2. OK, we'll go with that. But the Indians better win Saturday's Game 2 in Houston. If the defending World Series champion Astros come to Cleveland with a 2-0 lead, you can imagine the pressure the players will be feeling.

    3. The problem with Lindor's discussion of how a series can change is that the Indians were on the wrong side of both of those examples.

    4. I know, if the Indians win Game 2, what happened in the opener loses its sting for the Tribe and the fans. But the poor performance by Corey Kluber is a concern. Catcher Yan Gomes and Kluber both insisted the problem was getting pitches up in the strike zone that turned into three solo home runs.

    5. Houston star Alex Bregman was one of three Astros who homered off Kluber: "He's had a dominant career. He lives on the edges of the plate ... we were able to hit some pitches over the middle of the plate ... some mistakes ... and you don't get a lot of mistakes."

    6. Houston Manager A.J. Hinch added: "I can't say enough positive things about our at bats against Kluber and others. We had great at bats ... and a great game plan going in."

    7. All of that may be true, but when Kluber is the two-time Cy Young winning Kluber, no game plan is very effective against him. Houston starter Justin Verlander out-pitched Kluber, and that set the tone. Verlander held the Tribe to a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings.

    8. Kluber insisted his struggles in last season's playoffs (12.79 ERA) wasn't part of the problem: "It had no bearing on today." Manager Terry Francona gave almost the same answer.

    9. If I'm Francona and Kluber, I'm making the same kind of statements. I don't want to make pitching in the postseason even harder by adding the burden of history. But Francona and Kluber both know the last four postseason starts have been poor -- a 10.20 ERA.

    10. This was Yonder Alonso's first appearance in the post-season and he was almost helpless. Three at bats, three strikeouts. There were a lot of slow, upper-cut swings.

    11. Jose Ramirez hit two soft grounders to first base. He is seeing breaking ball after breaking ball, with changeups in-between. That is what happened after the All-Star break. For a long time, Ramirez was savaging fastballs. But he also used a short swing that helped him hit the ball more to center field. He came into the game batting .407 against Verlander, but he didn't have a good swing all day and went 0-for-3.

    12. The Indians had only three hits. Keep in mind, most playoff games tend to be low-scoring. Playoff teams usually have strong pitching staffs, and you see the best  in these games.

    13. The Indians were 3-for-30. All the hits were singles: Michael Brantley, Lindor and Gomes. Lindor hit the ball hard two other times. But it was a lame showing by the team.

    14. Francona said he wanted to get Trevor Bauer into the game "to get some rust off." He added Bauer "could probably pitch every game" if needed.

    15. Carlos Carrasco starts in Game 2. He is 4-2 with a 3.45 ERA in his career vs. Houston. Carrasco usually is very good, but occasionally has a stinker for a start. That can't happen Saturday.

    16. Cody Allen pitched in relief, allowing a homer. That was his 12th of the season. Jayson Stark of the Athletic tweeted that only Neil Ramirez (13) has allowed more HR this season among relievers. Ramirez also is with the Tribe, but not on the playoff roster.

    17. The struggles of Allen (4-6, 4.70 ERA) and Andrew Miller (2-4, 4.24) are why Bauer is in the bullpen for this series. But the starters need to pitch well enough so that strategy matters.


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    Former Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving proves that petty jealousy and not great leadership and sacrifice can put a resentful man on a Wheaties box.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - "The Iron Horse," Lou Gehrig, was the first athlete whose likeness graced a box of Wheaties, the "Breakfast of Champions."  But the Vaulting Vicar, the Rev. Bob Richards, the only two-time Olympic pole vault gold medalist, was the first on the front of the box and its first national spokesman.

    Olympians in those days of enforced amateurism were true symbols of self-sacrifice and dedication.

    10,000 hours

    In 2006, when I was writing a book on 2004 Olympic pole vault champion Tim Mack of Westlake and St. Ignatius High School, Richards said of his endorsement, "A bowl of Wheaties every day and 10,000 hours of practice will make you a champion."

    He predated by two years pop psychologist Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers" about 10,000 practice hours and excellence.

    Breakfast of Champions

    My wife recently bought a box of Wheaties, that morning staple of young athletic dreamers in the 1950s, and there on one side was Kyrie Irving, in the Celtics green he donned after trying to hijack the Cleveland Cavaliers recent season and forcing a trade.

    On the other side was none other than "Uncle Drew," Irving's TV commercial and  movie alter ego in graybeard make-up.

    Irving and Boston face the Cavaliers Saturday night in an exhibition game at The Q.  

    Irving was inferior to his former teammate and envied rival LeBron James, who raised the team from rubble twice in his different stints while Irving could not manage it alone even once.

    James, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, played inclusive basketball with his passing and subordination of individual goals.

    Boston has never had a seasonal scoring leader. Ky-me-me-me will see about that. 

    He got game

    Both basketball and pole vaulting involve a vertical goal and thus become aspirational endeavors, with the vault embodying the eternal human striving for success in the phrase "set the bar high."

    Yet Irving - an Olympic gold medalist in basketball, but hardly made of the stuff of Olympians like Richards, Mack  and for that matter, James - wanted off a team that had won a championship and played in three straight NBA Finals.

    it was not enough for Irving, who would no more have been totally eclipsed by James than Scottie Pippen by Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant by Shaquille O'Neal.

    The work

    The reason Irving was one of the Cavs' two closers, James being the first, was the 10,000 hours. The man had put in the work.

    Irving was deadly on the arc, in mid-range, at the rim and the free throw line.

    He had a low dribble, tunneling under the swipes called "digs;"  he developed a cross-over as quick as a turncoat in the off-season; and he put "English" on the ball that made it hip-hop as if Lin-Manuel Miranda were playing.

    The Shot - and its aftermath

    All this meshed in "The Shot," Irving's step-back 3-pointer in the final minute of the final game of the 2016 Finals to help the Cavs win the NBA championship, which . . .

    Irving then mindlessly, foolishly endangered after "The Stop" by Kevin Love against Steph Curry.

    Irving took a short outlet pass from James and drove one on three Warriors at the other end. Andre Iguodala blocked his insane layup attempt. The ball bounced back to Irving, who looped a pass as he toppled  out of bounds to Love just inside the midcourt line.

    Because the Cavs won, Irving escaped the infamy of Earnest Byner and Jose Mesa. But jealousy and resentment ruined him. He wanted to be bigger, to have a team of his own. He diminished himself by the smallness of his jealousy and spite, although they were big enough to fill his whole world.

    Still, he has his breakfast. Eat up, chump. 

    Bill Livingston is a retired Plain Dealer sports columnist. He writes occasional columns for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com.


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    Ohio State returns to Columbus trying to remain unbeaten when it hosts Indiana on homecoming. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -Ohio State returns to Columbus trying to remain unbeaten when it hosts Indiana on homecoming this afternoon. 

    GAME INFORMATION

    Who: Indiana (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0).

    When: Today, 4 p.m.

    Where: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio).

    TV: FOX, with Aaron Goldsmith, former Browns quarterback Brady Quinn and Bruce Feldman on the call. 

    Twitter: Follow Bill Landis and Doug Lesmerises for updates from the game.

    Live chat: Join the cleveland.com live chat at 3:30 p.m.

    Latest line: Ohio State -26.5, over/under 64.5.

    Series history: Ohio State leads 73-12-5, and the Buckeyes have won the last 22 meetings.

    BEST OF THE WEEK

    * The Ohio State offense struggled at times in the win over Penn State, but when it mattered, the Buckeyes were able to make enough plays to escape Happy Valley still undefeated. The reason for that was because not only did Ohio State make more plays in the second half than in the first half, but the Buckeyes also made adjustments that led to the 27-26 come-from-behind victory. Some of those lessons are thing they will carry on throughout the rest of the season.

    "We started protecting him and keeping him upright, and when he's upright, he's very good," Meyer said.

    Meyer credited co-offensive coordinators Day and Kevin Wilson for solving the problem. The solution was in what they tried in the first minutes of the game that wasn't executed well.

    "That's really important when they're blitzing and rushing really hard," Day said. "It helps out our offensive line and gives us a chance. They blitz a lot anyway, so we knew it was going to be a big part of the plan. So that's why some of the screen passes came in big toward the end of the game."

    Read more from Doug on the lessons Ohio State's offense learned here.

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

    Must-read stories before Ohio State faces Indiana:

    * Ohio State's wide receivers made a number of big blocks against Penn State. The way they are blocking has Urban Meyer thinking back to 2014.

    * On the fourth quarter touchdown by Ben Victor, it was tight end Rashod Berry who made multiple blocks. It wasn't just about making blocks, it was what blocks he made.

    * Urban Meyer is used to having a quarterback who runs as much as he passes. Things are different with Dwayne Haskins, however, and Meyer has had to adjust.

    * Chase Young arrived at Ohio State with huge expectations. The sophomore knows the expectations and so far he has lived up to them.

    * Ohio State has been working on moving Shaun Wade from cornerback to safety. With Isaiah Pryor out for the first half against Indiana, will this be the week Wade completes the transition?

    * After not recording any tackles in the win over Tulane, the Ohio State linebackers might have had their best performance yet against Penn State.

    LISTEN TO BUCKEYE TALK

    * Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis discussed the College Football Playoff chances of the Buckeyes and the Big Ten during this week's Buckeye Talk Podcast, which you can listen to below. 

    Before listening to the podcast, make sure to subscribe to Buckeye Talk at any of these places: 

    Buckeye Talk on iTunes

    Buckeye Talk on Google Play

    Buckeye Talk on Stitcher

    Buckeye Talk on Spotify

    Thanks to ShopOhioState.com and MinuteManTickets.com for supporting Buckeye Talk.

    NEWS FROM INDIANA

    * Indiana coach Tom Allen knows that even with the Hoosiers sitting at 4-1, everyone is still chasing Ohio State in the Big Ten, from the Dayton Daily News.

    * Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey has settled into a consistent routine in trying to become a better player for the Hoosiers, from the Indianapolis Star.

    * The Hoosiers might be off to a 4-1 start, but their schedule is about to get more difficult, from the Daily Hoosier. 

    STAT LEADERS

    PASSING

    Ohio State: Dwayne Haskins; 109-154 (70.8 percent), 1464 yards, 19 TDs, 2 INTs. Indiana: Peyton Ramsey; 115-162 (71.0 percent), 1039 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs.

    RUSHING

    Ohio State: J.K. Dobbins; 73 carries, 380 yards (5.2 average), 3 TDs. Mike Weber; 61 carries, 350 yards (5.7 average), 3 TDs. Indiana: Stevie Scott; 98 carries, 464 yards (4.7 average), 4 TDs.

    RECEIVING 

    Ohio State: K.J. Hill; 27 receptions, 318 yards (11.8 average), 2 TD. Parris Campbell; 26 receptions, 359 yards (13.8 average), 5 TDs. Indiana: Whop Philyor; 18 catches, 194 yards (10.8 average), 1 TD. Donavan Hale; 14 catches, 176 yards (12.6 average), 3 TDs.

    TACKLES

    Ohio State: Jordan Fuller; 22. Malik Harrison; 20. Jahsen Wint, Dre'Mont Jones; 18. Indiana: Jonathan Crawford; 26. Dameon Willis Jr; 22.

    SACKS

    Ohio State: Nick Bosa, Chase Young; 4. Dre'Mont Jones; 3.5. Indiana: Marcelino Ball; 2.

    INTERCEPTIONS

    Ohio State: Malik Harrison, Dre'Mont Jones, Kendall Sheffield; Shaun Wade; 1. Indiana: Khalil Bryant, Jonathan Crawford, Isaac James, Lamar Johnson, Cam Jones; 1.

    OTHER BIG TEN GAMES

    * Maryland (3-1, 1-0) at No. 15 Michigan (4-1, 2-0), noon, ABC

    * Northwestern (1-3, 1-1) at No. 20 Michigan State (3-1, 1-0), noon, FS1

    * Illinois (2-2, 0-1) at Rutgers (1-4, 0-2), noon, BTN

    * Iowa (3-1, 0-1) at Minnesota (3-1, 0-1), 3:30 p.m., BTN

    * Nebraska (0-4, 0-2) at No. 16 Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0), 7:30 p.m., BTN

    * Bye Week: No. 11 Penn State, Purdue.

    -- Compiled by Ryan Isley, a freelance writer from Akron.


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    Will the Browns beat Joe Flacco for only the third time in 20 games? Find out in this video from the Browns locker room on the keys to the game. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio --Will the Browns win their first division game since they beat the Ravens 33-30 in overtime on Oct. 11, 2015?

    In the video above, watch Browns players discuss the keys to beating the 3-1 Ravens Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    Will they slow down Joe Flacco, who's off to a great start this season and is 17-2 against the Browns?

    Will Baker Mayfield earn his first career victory against a defense that has yet to give up a touchdown in the second half all season?

    Favre says Mayfield 'can be great; he's a winner'

    Will left tackle Desmond Harrison be able to hold off Terrell Suggs? Find out all of this and more in the video above.


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    Here's where to find broadcast and streaming info for ALDS Game 2 between Cleveland and Houston on Saturday.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Indians play Game 2 of the 2018 American League Division Series this afternoon against the defending champion Houston Astros.

    Here's how to watch, listen and stream the action online.

    What: Cleveland Indians (0-1) vs. Houston Astros (1-0).
    Where: Minute Maid Park.
    When: 4:37 p.m.
    TV: TBS.
    Radio: WTAM, 1100 AM; WMMS, 100.7 FM.
    Online: MLB.TV (premium subscription); Watch TBS

    Cleveland notable: Carlos Carrasco owns a career 4-2 record and 3.45 ERA (18ER/47.0IP) in seven starts (eight appearances) against the Astros, including a 2-1 record and 1.17 ERA (3ER/23.0IP) in three starts at Minute Maid Park.

    Houston notable: Gerrit Cole set a single-season franchise record for strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio (12.40), topping Nolan Ryan's record set in 1987 (11.48). He was the third-best mark in American League history, behind Pedro Martinez (13.20 in 1999) and Chris Sale (12.93 in 2017).

    Catch the coverage from before the game; join in the live chat from the first pitch; and stick around for full postgame coverage. For all Indians information, be sure to check out cleveland.com/tribe.


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    Bill Landis and Doug Lesmerises tell you what they'll be watching when the Buckeyes host the Hoosiers. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State Buckeyes are more than three touchdown favorites over the Indiana Hoosiers for Saturday's 4 p.m. kickoff in week six of the college football season.

    The Buckeyes haven't lost to Indiana since 1988. While Indiana is 4-1 this season, wins over Florida International (3-2), Virginia (3-2), Ball State (2-3), and Rutgers (1-4) are solid, but nothing more.

    So, what should you be watching for on Saturday afternoon and early evening?

    Bill Landis and I gave you our thoughts on that, with two players to keep an eye on that aren't really about beating the Hoosiers. They are all about contributing to a national title chase, but what they do on Saturday could give you an indication on what might be ahead.

    Check out our keys to this game.


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    Check here for the live third-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's Safeway Open 2018 on Saturday, Oct. 6, in California.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Cantlay, Hunter Mahan, Fred Couples, Jason Dufner, Denny McCarthy, two-time defending champion Brendan Steele and former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder were among those in the field for the PGA Tour's Safeway Open 2018 this week in California. The Safeway opens the 2018-19 season.

    Mulder, who won three straight American Century Celebrity Golf Championships (2015-17), was a sponsor's invite. He missed the cut.

    TV schedule

    • Thursday-Sunday, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Golf Channel.

    PGA TOUR
    SAFEWAY OPEN
    Site: Napa, Calif.
    Course: Silverado Resort. Yardage: 7,166. Par: 72.
    Purse: $6.2 million. Winner's share: $1,116,000.
    Defending champion: Brendan Steele.
    FedExCup champion: Justin Rose.
    Previous tournament: Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship.
    Notes: This is the first tournament of the new PGA Tour season. ... Phil Mickelson is the only Ryder Cup player at the Safeway Open. His management company runs the tournament. ... The tournament finished last year shortly before wildfires closed in on Silverado. ... Mickelson and Patrick Cantlay are the only players in the field who were at the Tour Championship two weeks ago. ... Fred Couples is making a rare PGA Tour start. ... Mark Mulder is playing on a sponsor's exemption. The retired Oakland A's pitcher won three consecutive American Century Classic titles, a tournament for athletes and celebrities. ... Steele is going for this third straight victory at Silverado. ... The winner receives an exemption to the Masters and to the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua at the start of next year. ... The PGA Tour leaves for three straight weeks in Asia after this week, returning Nov. 1 in Las Vegas.
    Next week: CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
    Online: www.pgatour.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    Bill and Doug are joined by a guest picker to take a run at whether the Illini will give the Scarlet Knights a fifth loss this year, and other games of much, much greater interest.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Illinois is a road favorite in a Big Ten game.

    Illinois is a favorite. On the road. In a game that is part of a major college football conference -- the Big Ten.

    Let me check something.

    Illinois is still a favorite in a Big Ten road game.

    The Fighting Illini, at 2-2 with wins over Kent State and Western Illinois and losses to South Florida and Penn State, are favored by 4.5 points at Rutgers on Saturday. The line opened at only 1.5 points before the world realized, "Hey, a team is only favored to beat Rutgers by 1.5 points," and bet it up to 5.5 points. That's the line we used for our picks, but it has settled back at 4.5 as we approach kickoff.

    Rutgers is 1-4. That's a win over Texas State and losses to Ohio State, Kansas, Buffalo and Indiana.

    If you watch this game, let me know, because I want to make sure they actually go through with it.

    Here are our picks for this week with guest picker Josh Curie of Orrville, Ohio, who can be found on Twitter @therealJCurie43. Thanks to last week's picker, Ronnie Trey Williams (@TreyWilli), who joined me in getting crushed by Bill.

    Bill went from 2-9-1 one week to 9-3-1 the next, which means a winless week is probably coming for him.

    Last week's results

    Bill: 9-3-1

    Doug: 6-6-1

    Reader Rob: 5-7-1

    2018 standings

    Readers: 38-32 (3-2 best bets)

    Bill: 33-37 (2-3 best bets)

    Doug: 32-38 (2-3 best bets)

    BIG TEN GAMES

    Maryland at Michigan (-17.5), Noon, ABC

    Maryland: Doug, Josh

    Michigan: Bill

    Northwestern at Michigan State (-10), Noon, FS1

    Northwestern: Bill, Doug

    Michigan State: Josh

    Illinois at Rutgers (+5.5), Noon, BTN

    Illinois: Josh, Doug

    Rutgers: Bill

    Iowa at Minnesota (+7), 3:30, BTN

    Iowa: Josh

    Minnesota: Bill, Doug

    Indiana at Ohio State (-25), 4, Fox

    Indiana: Bill

    Ohio State: Doug, Josh

    Nebraska at Wisconsin (-17), 7:30, BTN

    Nebraska: Bill

    Wisconsin: Doug, Josh

    NATIONAL GAMES

    Texas vs. Oklahoma (-7), Noon, Fox

    Texas: Bill, Josh

    Oklahoma: Doug

    Clemson at Wake Forest (+20.5), 3:30, ESPN

    Clemson: Josh, Doug

    Wake Forest: Bill

    LSU at Florida (+2.5), 3:30, CBS

    LSU: Bill, Josh

    Florida: Doug

    Florida State at Miami (-13.5), 3:30, ABC

    Miami: Everyone

    Kentucky at Texas A&M (-6), 7, ESPN

    Kentucky: Doug, Josh

    Texas A&M: Bill

    Notre Dame at Virginia Tech (+7), 8, ABC

    Notre Dame: Bill, Josh

    Virginia Tech: Doug

    BIG TEN BEST BETS

    Bill: Indiana (+25) at Ohio State 

    Don't love any of the Big Ten games this week, but Indiana usually keeps it close with Ohio State and I think there will be a mild Penn State hangover for the Buckeyes.

    Josh: Maryland (+17.5) at Michigan

    I think with Michigan's struggles on offense and Maryland being capable of putting up some points, I think Maryland covers that 17.5. I think Michigan wins but in a touchdown or less game.

    Doug: Wisconsin (-17) vs. Nebraska

    Can the Badgers be massively overrated as a national contender and still beat Nebraska at home by 30? Oh yes.


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    Can the Cleveland Cavaliers be in the 'player development' business and also win enough games to make the playoffs? That's the goal.

    ABOUT STARTING OVER

    The Cavaliers opened training camp with a 3-hour practice.

    That was the first sign this is a different Cavaliers team,  even if most of the key players return.

    But not LeBron James, and that's a franchise-shaking difference.

    After James left for the L.A. Lakers via free agency, the Cavs have entered the "player development business."

    General Manager Koby Altman said that in his press conference after the Cavs lost to Golden State in the Finals. He's been preaching it ever since, mentioning it to me a few times when we've had casual conversations over the last few months.

    That's why Tyronn Lue has been running the players harder than in any of his three training camps as head coach.

    In the past, it made no sense to wear down James. There also were a lot of other key veterans expected to play big minutes. Everything was designed to have the Cavaliers as healthy as possible for big-time playoff basketball in June.

    Now, every regular season game is important. The Cavs desperately want to make the playoffs without James, but they also want to make sure key young players gain experience.

    "Playing meaningful games," is what Altman calls it.

    But the Cavs also want to make sure rookie Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic are on the court enough to grow as players -- and grow together.

    The Cavs don't want to endure another 26-game losing streak, which happened in 2010-11 -- the season after James departed for Miami. They don't want the young players to think winning doesn't matter.

    That creates a sense of entitlement for young players who did nothing to earn it. Veterans quickly sense there's no interest in winning. They either want out or mentally check out.

    That's why Kevin Love signing an extension was critical to this plan to developing while also trying to make the playoffs.

    Love is committed to the Cavaliers. He wants to be the face of the franchise. He is a player who has dealt with a lot of adversity.

    In his four years in Cleveland, Love received the most criticism of any member of the Cavaliers Big Three. Yet he wanted to stay after Kyrie Irving demanded a trade and James departed for the Lakers.

    That was very important to owner Dan Gilbert and Altman.

    ABOUT THE DOUBTERS

    Most experts believe the Cavs won't make the playoffs this season.

    "This looks like a roster of creaky support players without a superstar to prop them up," wrote ESPN's Zach Lowe. "The perimeter play figures to alternate between languid and bonehead, and bonehead isn't even fun without LeBron.

    "We don't get to enjoy Jordan Clarkson looking off the world's best player to meander into a 13-foot floater. J.R. Smith's boners have no meaning without any stakes.

    "The leftover big men are either slow, or lob-dunk mooches in dire need of a superstar from whom they might mooch. Minnesota's (Kevin Love) -- Cleveland's version of 'Team USA Melo' -- should reemerge. But Love is over, and can do only so much stylish stuff with this surrounding crew."

    Lowe ranked the 30 NBA teams in terms of being interesting to watch. He had the Cavs at No. 29...only Sacramento being more deplorable.

    I'm not going to debate Lowe's opinion. Over the years, I have appreciated a lot of his work.

    But I just don't think the Cavs are utterly void of talent. Perhaps it's the purist in me, but I do think they will be interesting to watch. I want to see what they become without James and with some of the younger players.

    ABOUT RODNEY HOOD

    1. The Cavs wanted to sign Hood to a 3-year deal in the $21 million range. He was a restricted free agent. He waited for an offer sheet from a different team that never came. He ended up signing the $3.4 million qualifying offer, setting him up to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

    2. Hood was averaging 16.8 points with Utah when he was traded to the Cavs in February. He thought he was heading for a big contract extension with someone. But Hood struggled playing with James and in the Cavs offense. His scoring dropped to 10.8 points. He seemed to go into a funk, and really had problems in the playoffs.

    3. The 6-foot-8 Hood is only 25 years old. Despite the two sides being unable to come to a long term contract agreement, the Cavs plan to start Hood and want him to be a part of their future. Lue is setting up more plays for Hood to run around picks to create open shots -- something he did in Utah.

    4. James operates best when surrounded by stand-still shooters situated on the 3-point line. That opened the middle for him to drive to the rim -- or pass to an open shooter when the defenses collapse on him.

    5. Hood is athletic. He can run, drive and defend -- when motivated. He will be playing a lot with Sexton, a hyper-speed point guard. The Cavs will give him a chance to display his skills.

    ABOUT THE CAVS

    1. Sexton had a promising first preseason game when the Cavs defeated Boston.  He was 5-of-11 shooting for 15 points. He was 2-of-3 on 3-pointers. Sexton is working hard on his outside shot, but it's still a long way from being consistent. The first game showed he can develop into a decent outside shooter.

    2. Sexton's speed is impressive, same with his effort. Fans will probably embrace him. The Cavs need to be careful not to fall into Kyrie Irving comparisons and other hype. He played only one year of college, and the NBA is a very tough place for most young point guards.

    3. Odds are against George Hill finishing the season with the Cavs. It makes sense for the team to trade the veteran point guard at some point. But the Cavs do like the idea of Hill opening the season as a starter simply to keep the pressure off Sexton to play huge minutes. If the Cavs play well and contend for a playoff spot -- they may keep Hill for the entire season.

    4. Ante Zizic had five rebounds in 13 minutes. He was on the court with a lot of young players, several not likely to make the final roster. They had no clue how to throw the ball to a big man setting up in the low post.

    5. I hope Lue doesn't ignore the 6-foot-10 Zizic because he wants smaller lineups. He has committed to Tristin Thompson and Nance as centers. Zizic can score inside, but there has to be an effort to get him the ball.

    6. Cedi Osman is the starting small forward and he fits the uptempo style. Osman played 19 minutes, scoring 11 points. I was most impressed with his passing (4 assists) and his seven rebounds. He obviously is no LeBron James. But he's also no Jamario Moon -- the guy who started the first game at small forward after James left for Miami in 2010.

    7. In terms of player development, I don't see how J.R. Smith fits. Hood and Clarkson are the shooting guards. Smith should not take significant minutes from them. Perhaps the 33-year-old Smith could play some small forward behind Osman. Smith has played the position in the past when the Cavs used James at power forward.

    8. Trading players such as Hill, Smith and Thompson is challenging because all have lucrative contracts. The veteran who can be moved easily is Kyle Korver, who should be attractive to a contender.


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    Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday is sold out at Progressive Field.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Monday's scheduled Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros at Progressive Field is sold out, the Indians announced.

    A limited number of tickets, including some standing-room-only passes could become available prior to Monday's 1:30 p.m. first pitch according to the club.

    Potential ALDS Game 4 tickets for Tuesday, are available at indians.com/postseason. First pitch for Game 4 is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. and is subject to change.

    Tickets are available for purchase through StubHub, which is the team's official secondary ticket provider. Only tickets purchased through Indians.com or StubHub will be guaranteed access at Progressive Field. 

    Indians fans can still get priority access to potential American League Championship Series tickets by placing a deposit on 2019 season tickets.


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    The Browns will work out for WR Rishard Matthews on Monday, a league source confirmed. He'll also work out for the Cardinals.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Browns will work out free agent receiver Rishard Matthews on Monday, a league source confirmed for cleveland.com.

    Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported it.

    Matthews, 28, was released by the Titans on Sept 27 after the seven-year veteran had asked to be traded or released.

    He'll also workout with the Cardinals on Tuesday, Rapoport reported.

    Titans GM Jon Robinson told reporters that the club had "reached the point of no return'' with Matthews, via The Tennessean.  

    Originally a seventh-round pick of the Dolphins out of Nevada, his best season was in 2016 with the Titans when he caught 65 passes for 945 yards and nine TD.

    Last season, he 53 passes for 795 yard and four TDs.

    Matthews missed all of camp with a knee injury and negotiated a one-year extension with the club in August. But he was unhappy with his playing time this season.

    "I think in Miami what we saw was a tough player, a great player, a guy that could get open and catch and strong with the ball in his hands," Robinson said. "I think he's shown that the last two years and I personally think he was getting back to that to us. But he just saw the situation differently."


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    Nwaba, who Lue declared part of his rotation despite a glut of guards, is nursing a groin injury. He tweaked it "a little bit" in practice recently.

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- One day after earning head coach Tyronn Lue's praise, David Nwaba will be held out of the Cleveland Cavaliers' second preseason game against the Boston Celtics. 

    Nwaba, who Lue declared part of his rotation despite a glut of guards, is nursing a groin injury. He tweaked it "a little bit" in practice recently. 

    The 25-year-old free agent addition will join George Hill, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson on the sidelines Saturday night. That quartet will rest, allowing Lue to get a better look at some of his end-of-roster players in hopes of getting more information before making a final determination on the final roster spot in about two weeks. 

    "A lot of guys are going to play tonight," Lue said. "Try to get everybody in that we can."

    Lue also announced his fill-in starting lineup against Boston: Collin Sexton, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Sam Dekker and Larry Nance Jr. 

    "He's always ready to play," Lue said of Sexton, who will make his first start. "He's eager to get on the floor so very excited. Will get a chance tonight to start. It will be good for him."

    Lue also reiterated his goal of using JR Smith off the bench against the Celtics. Smith was held out of the preseason opener. He didn't participate in the annual Wine and Gold Scrimmage as a precaution while dealing with a sore hip. 


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    Here is Dan Labbe's prediction for Sunday's game against Baltimore. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- What's the word I keep using in these predictions? Opportunity.

    The Ravens, along with the Bengals, have been the class of the AFC North this season. They bring one of their best offensive units in recent years to FirstEnergy Stadium and their defense can still be stifling, especially in the second half. They have yet to allow a second-half touchdown and have given up nine total points after halftime.

    The Browns, meanwhile, just can't get over the hump. They tied Pittsburgh. They couldn't hang onto leads against the Saints and the Raiders. It's fun to say they should be 4-0 or 3-1, but the reality is that they are not.

    It has also been nearly three years to the day since they won a game within their division. That game was on October 11, 2015, a 33-30 win over Baltimore in which quarterback Josh McCown set a team record for passing yards in a game.

    So here's an opportunity. The Ravens are a better team. That's why I'm picking them. This Browns team is different, though, and this quarterback might be different, too.

    So the Browns can win. They can change the entire narrative on this season which, to this point, is close, but no cigar.

    That doesn't mean it wouldn't be a surprise.

    My pick: Ravens 27, Browns 24.

    My record: 1-2-1.


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    Pace is the buzzword around training camp. Each player has spoken about the importance of it, especially with concerns about generating quality offense consistently.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Just how serious are the Cleveland Cavaliers about playing at a faster pace this season?

    Take a look at the shot clock during practices. It's not set to 24, the number of seconds per initial possession in NBA arenas. In Cleveland, the timer is cut in half.

    "We've got a 12-second shot clock, which is tough," George Hill said Saturday. "(Lue) does it to get the pace up, to get the ball up the floor, not a lot of dribbling. You've got to use the pass instead of dribble so we are just working on trying to enhance our pace. But at the same time get good shots."

    Pace is the buzzword around training camp. Each player has spoken about the importance of it, especially with concerns about generating quality offense consistently. Tristan Thompson went as far as to say playing fast will be a large part of the Cavaliers' identity this season. 

    One of the biggest changes in the preseason opener was the number of players who grabbed the ball off the rim and surged the other way.

    The only regular that hasn't been giving the full go-ahead with that approach is Thompson. Everyone else is being urged to grab and go instead of quickly looking for a guard to bring the ball up the floor.

    "Getting used to this pace is going to take a minute," Hill admitted. "I think we hit the ground in Game One running and doing a great job on both ends pushing the pace but also defending at a high level and sharing the ball. I'm sure our pace is going to be better and people are going to be in better shape and we're going to figure it all out."

    The Cavaliers ranked 12th in Pace Factor during the 2017-18 season. They also took the fifth-fewest shot attempts per game, averaging 84.8.

    The hope is to boost that number this season. 

    "We don't want to be a team that's only getting 60 to 70 shots per game if we can get 90 shots a game," Hill said. "Gives us more opportunity to score. But also picks up the pace and hopefully those teams that you're playing against doesn't train that way and you can tire them out. In the fourth quarter their legs are gone. We're going to try to figure it out and if it doesn't work then I'm sure we are going to make adjustments."

    Lue said it's important for coaches to play to a team's strengths. He believes this collection is interchangeable, with numerous guys capable of stepping into a playmaker role. He may even take advantage of the increased depth instead of sticking with a tight rotation. 

    "I don't change because the league says or whatever they say," Lue said. "I do what's best for the team. Whatever that may be, that's what we're going to do."

    On offense, the Cavs are steering away from the isolation-filled approach. It will still happen from time to time, as Lue recently pointed to Kevin Love, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman as players who create shots when everything starts to wither. But that's no longer at the heart of the system because they no longer have elite isolation players.

    The Cavs want to move the ball from side to side, getting numerous players involved on each possession. They want to make quick decisions as well -- no more deliberating and surveying as the shot clock ticks down to the final seconds. Getting into the offense quicker gives them more options and counters based on what the defense eliminates.

    Without constant movement and early offense, the Cavs won't have much chance. 

    All of these points of emphasis add up to the same primary goal: playing faster. 

    "You just have to get in shape to do it," Hill said. "I've been in situations where we want to play fast or play slow. It really doesn't matter. The good teams that do it are in shape to do it so we have to focus on that and make sure we're in great shape to be able to get up and down the floor and also play great defense on the other end."


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    Carlos Carrasco will make his the second postseason start of his career on Saturday when he faces the Astros in Game 2 of the ALDS.

    HOUSTON -- Here are the starting linueps for today's ALDS game between the Indians and Astros at Minute Maid Park on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 4:37 p.m.

    INDIANS

    SS Francisco Lindor.

    LF Michael Brantley.

    2B Jose Ramirez.

    DH Edwin Encarnacion.

    3B Josh Donaldson.

    1B Yonder Alonso.

    RF Melky Cabrera.

    C Yan Gomes.

    CF Jason Kipnis.

    RHP Carlos Carrasco, 17-10, 3.38.

    ASTROS

    CF George Springer.

    2B Jose Altuve.

    3B Alex Bregman.

    1B Yuli Gurriel.

    LF Marwin Gonzalez.

    SS Carlos Correa.

    DH Tyler White.

    RF Josh Reddick.

    C Martin Maldonado.

    RHP Gerrit Cole, 15-5, 2.88.

    UMPIRES

    H Chad Fairchild.

    1B Jerry Layne, crew chief.

    2B Tim Timmons.

    3B Jeff Nelson.

    LF Andy Fletcher.

    RF Chris Conroy.


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    It should be a comfortable, cloudy Sunday as the Browns look for their second win of the season.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Browns are looking for their second win of the season Sunday afternoon and, much like the past three games, weather shouldn't hinder their chances of victory.

    Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., FirstEnergy Stadium

    With the highest percentage of precipitation possibilities Sunday coming before 7 a.m., it should be relatively dry and cool for your tailgate, according to the National Weather Service Cleveland.

    Temperatures should hover around 70 degrees from 7 a.m. until noon, and the rain chance drops to 35 percent at 8 a.m., according to the NWS Cleveland.

    At kickoff, the temperature should be around 72 degrees with chances of rain again at 35 percent, with cloud coverage over 70 percent. Not much will change during the game, with the temperature hovering around 72 and the rain chance staying at 35 percent.


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    Joe Flacco is 17-2 against the Browns, and he's off to a hot start this season. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Baker Mayfield will make his first start at FirstEnergy Stadium, but he couldn't have picked a more formidable defense to do it against.

    Not only are the Ravens No. 2 in total defense and No. 2 on third down, they're brutal to rookie quarterbacks. Since 2008 under John Harbaugh, they're 15-5 against rookie QBs, including 7-0 against those wearing Browns colors.

    Mayfield (59.4 completion percentage, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 81.3 rating) will have to be particularly aware of safety Eric Weddle and linebacker Terrell Suggs, who will go against rookie left tackle Desmond Harrison.

    Mayfield doesn't have a strong enough receiving corps right now to take advantage of his exceptional arm talent. Antonio Callaway (10 catches on 24 targets for 155 yards and a TD) has been struggling early in games, and might have his reps cut on Sunday. Help could be on the way. The Browns will work out former Titans receiver Rishard Matthews on Monday.  

    John Harbaugh has feasted on the Browns, going 18-2, and Joe Flacco is 17-2.

    Flacco is off to a hot start, ranking 14th in the NFL with a 96.9 rating. He's thrown eight TDs against only two interceptions and is completing 64.3 of his passes. But he's been sacked more than two times a game, and the Ravens are vulnerable up the middle.

    He also holds the ball longer than Derek Carr, so Myles Garrett and company can make things tough on him.

    If Garrett can dominate like he did against the Steelers, the Browns have a chance. But Mayfield could struggle against this rookie-destroying Ravens' D.

    My pick: Ravens 30, Browns 20

    My record: 2-1-1


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    Case Western Reserve's 13-game, regular-season winning streak ended with a 44-36 loss at Washington & Jefferson Saturday in a battle between the only undefeated teams in the Presidents' Athletic Conference.

    WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania - Case Western Reserve's 13-game, regular-season winning streak ended with a 44-36 loss at Washington & Jefferson Saturday in a battle between the only undefeated teams in the Presidents' Athletic Conference.

    Case (4-1, 3-1), ranked No. 19 in Division III, committed four turnovers that led to 14 points for 12th-ranked W&J (6-0, 5-0). CWRU held a 523-505 edge in total yards, including a 414-291 passing.

    Case freshman quarterback Drew Saxton threw for a season-high 414 yards and five touchdowns, four of them to sophomore Colt Morgan.

    W&J running back Jordan West rushed for 339 yards and six TDs. W&J cemented the outcome with a 98-yard TD run by West with 3:38 to play for a 44-28 lead. The Spartans scratched back, with senior wide receivers Luke DiFrancesco scoring on a nine-yard pass and Joey Spitalli grabbing the two-point conversion. Down eight points and out of time outs, CWRU almost recovered their onside kick with little more than a minute left to play, but W&J came up with the ball and the game.

    In the first half, the Spartans moved 80 yards on their opening drive. Saxton converted a fourth-and-two at W&J's 31 with a five-yard pass to Justin Phan, and scored two plays later on a 25-yard pass to Morgan. The Presidents answered on their opening drive, QB Jacob Adams hitting running back Jordan West with a 21-yard TD pass.

    CWRU regained the lead with another 80-yard drive, scoring on a six-yard Saxton-to-Morgan pass, and were driving again when the Presidents recovered a fumble at their 44. They converted a pair on fourth downs on the ensuing drive and made it 14-13 on a 10-yard Adams-to-West TD. CWRU's Tyler Bushman blocked the PAT attempt, but W&J took the lead on a field goal as the first half ended.

    The Presidents widened their lead, 23-14, on the first drive of the second half. CWRU closed within two points, 23-21, on Morgan's third TD catch. After West's fourth TD, Case answered with a 92-yard drive ending in the fourth Saxton-to-Morgan TD.

    Case Western Reserve returns to DiSanto Field for homecoming next Saturday at 1 p.m., hosting St. Vincent College.


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