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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on

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    The Baltimore Ravens are the best team the Browns have faced this season. How will Baker Mayfield handle it? Watch video

    CLEVELAND -- Scribbles in my Browns notebook as they prepare to play Baltimore:

    1. Joe Flacco has a career 17-2 record vs. the Browns. This could be the strongest start of his career, throwing eight TD passes compared to a pair of interceptions. He's completing 64 percent of his passes. If you go through a variety of stats, it points to Flacco being at his best right now.

    2. This is a real challenge for Gregg Williams and his defense. The defensive coordinator said this: "Joe has been getting back into his deep ball presence. He has always forced that a lot...even when it's not there. But it has been there (this season)."

    3. Flacco likes to stand tall in the pocket and throw deep, as Williams said. Because he's not very mobile, that should give the Browns' defense a chance to make some sacks and force some difficult throws. Baltimore's line has protected Flacco well. He has only nine sacks in four games. Keep an eye not only on Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, but about how the linebackers or strong safety Jabrill Peppers create pressure on Flacco.

    4. Williams went on a long defense of Peppers, saying he has "blitzed him a lot." Peppers does not have a sack in his 2-year pro career. Nor has he forced a fumble. Williams said when Peppers is near the line of scrimmage, defenses pay extra attention and that opens things up for others to blitz.

    5. Peppers set himself up for some unnecessary criticism when he ripped the Browns' fans. While Williams pretends he doesn't pay attention to the media, I'm sure he knows when one of his players ends up in a situation like Peppers. For all of Williams' bluster, I've seen him defend his players in situations like this -- to keep up their spirits.

    6. But in the end, it's time for Peppers to make some big plays. He's a first round pick. He's had problems on special teams to the point where I wouldn't use him to return punts or kicks.

    7. This game is an exciting test for Baker Mayfield and the Browns. From the moment John Dorsey took over, the general manager has made "competing in the AFC North" one of his main goals. The Browns lost their first AFC North game (21-18 to Pittsburgh). Tyrod Taylor started that game. Baltimore is a better team this season than the Steelers.

    8. In his mid-week press conference, Flacco talked about how he was not supposed to start as a rookie from Day 1. The Ravens had Kyle Boller set to start with Troy Smith as the backup. Boller suffered a major shoulder injury and needed surgery. Smith became ill in the third preseason game. Flacco started, took the job and has kept it ever since.

    9. Baker Mayfield has made a huge difference in the Browns offense because of his ability to pass. In fact, the Browns now seem to use the pass to help set up the running game. They have that much confidence in Mayfield.

    10. The Browns are leading the NFL with 32 running plays per game. That is helped to an extent because they have been in two overtime games. That simply gives an offense more plays than in a normal game.

    11. Nonetheless, it's a good sign Todd Haley is committed to the run, even if the offensive coordinator doesn't always give the ball to your favorite back. Like most Browns fans, I'd like to see Nick Chubb with more carries. Haley admitted he should have given the rookie more than three carries in the Oakland game. Two of those runs (41 and 63 yards) went for TDs.

    12. Baltimore is 15-5 vs. rookie quarterbacks since Harbaugh became coach. But take away the Browns, they are 8-5. That note comes from ESPN's Tony Grossi.

    13. Baltimore comes to town with a top three rated defense. That's from Football Outsiders. Lots of other sites also rank the Ravens defense as elite. So we'll see how that impacts Mayfield and the offense.

    14. I love this, Phil Dawson is playing in his 300th NFL game this weekend. He is 43 years old, still kicking for Arizona. He's only attempted three field goals. He's 1-for-3, misses from 45 and 50 yards. The Browns have had seven different kickers since they let Dawson go after the 2012 season.

    15. Prediction: Baltimore 27, Browns 24. Yes, another 3-point loss. My record is 2-2.

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    Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns in Ohio State's win over Indiana. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Urban Meyer got asked about Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins' place in the Heisman Trophy conversation on Saturday night.

    Here's what Meyer said:

    "I never want to hold our players back. I don't know what else is out there. I'm worried about Minnesota and I'm worried about our defense and I'm worried about our run game. And worried about getting guys healthy. But I certainly never want to take away elite -- 455 yards now. And high, high end percentage completion. It was 33 of 44. I mean, I'm not going to hold him back. But our focus is on Minnesota."

    Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-26 win over Indiana.

    For the season he has 1,919 yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions. That, with half of the regular season remaining.

    He's on pace to shatter Ohio State's single-season passing records. It feels like a forgone conclusion that he's going to New York, barring any unforeseen circumstances. If he keeps up this pace, he's going.

    Whether he can win? We can worry about that later. Probably why Meyer wasn't very effusive in his stumping for Haskins on Saturday. More pressing things for him to worry about.

    But let's acknowledge it now, six games in. Haskins has more passing touchdowns than any other FBS quarterback, and is among the national leaders in passing yards, yards per attempt and passer rating. He's doing it for the undefeated No. 3 team in the country.

    We get why Meyer wouldn't want kick the campaign into high gear just yet. But we're ready to talk about Haskins in the Heisman conversation, and we did so in the video above.

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    Check here for the live final-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's Safeway Open 2018 on Sunday, Oct. 7, in California.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Brandt Snedeker (16-under, leader by three shots entering final round), 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

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

    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.

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)

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    The Buckeyes gave up 317 yards in the first half against Indiana, then 89 in the second half. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Dre'Mont Jones and Davon Hamilton stood in the dark outside of Beaver Stadium last week and talked about an Ohio State defense that was nowhere near its full potential coming off a win over Penn State.

    The Buckeyes had all but shut down Nittany Lions running back Miles Sanders, and limited one of the more explosive offenses in the country on third down while holding a team averaging 55 points per game to 26. But, PSU quarterback Trace McSorley also set a program record for total offense and had the best rushing game of his career.

    There's always a "but" with this version of the Ohio State defense.

    So on Saturday it went like this: The Buckeyes held Indiana to 89 total yards, 2.9 yards per play and six points in the second half after settling in from a bad first half. But, they were also beat on a couple of 50-50 balls in the deep passing game, gave up another long run and followed the suit of each of the first six games of this season by being generally inconsistent.

    "At times we played outstanding," Urban Meyer said following a 49-26 win. "But the big hits -- and we're a man coverage team, so we've got to keep evaluating -- but some of those weren't even on man coverage. So we just have to keep working at it. I trust our staff. I trust our players. We're banged up a little bit. And we've got to fight through it. But gotta play better."

    Meyer was locked in on two things after what ended up being a comfortable 23-point win over an Indiana team that always plays Ohio State tough: The Buckeye run game, and a defense that keeps giving up big plays.

    Six games in, it might be time to accept that this is just what this defense is going to be, a big play defense, both ways. They're No. 2 in the country in sacks, No. 9 in tackles for loss and No. 7 in turnovers gained with a couple of touchdowns sprinkled in this season.

    They've also given up 19 plays of 30 yards or more, tied for sixth-most in the country, while ranking in the middle of the pack nationally in yards allowed (No. 56, 365.2 per game).

    It's a strange way to live. Boom or bust.

    "Just been a little bit out of whack in the first six games," defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. "But we've made some huge plays too. Our big thing is consistency. That's what we need to find. It's not where we haven't shown that we can't, we have to do it consistently. That's our charge right now."

    Ohio State gave up 45 yards on Indiana's first rushing play of the game, a well-blocked play that broke down on the back end thanks to more poor pursuit angles by OSU's secondary. After that, the Buckeyes allowed 39 yards on 20 carries for the rest of the game.

    Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey operated from a clean pocket while throwing for 239 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He got sacked three times and threw for 83 yards in the second half.

    Inconsistent, the word Schiano used, is a good one. Frustrating would be another.

    "Probably a B-minus, or a C-plus," Jones said Saturday when asked to give his assessment of Ohio State's defense at the midway point of the regular season.

    "We give up too many big plays. Our turnovers are there. Stopping the run is kind of there. Big plays are killing us."

    Schiano, without getting specific, said he can narrow in on the things that are holding the defense back. Though six games should be enough time to focus on those things and correct them, or at least show signs of progress.

    He left the door open for personnel changes, even though things started to even out when starting safety Isaiah Pryor returned in the second half after serving a one-half suspension for a targeting penalty last week. Players talked about some fatigue coming off the Penn State game, and the Buckeyes are a little banged up. They're without Nick Bosa while Jones and defensive tackle Robert Landers are playing through injuries.

    There are certainly answers in just simply getting healthy, but OSU's bye isn't for another three weeks.

    Meanwhile Schiano and his defensive staff are searching to build a defense that can complement an offense that's top-six in the country in yards and scoring.

    The results continue to be mixed.

    "We're not coaching well enough, and we're not playing well enough right now for the standard of an Ohio State defense," Schiano said. "A lot of things go into that, but it's our job to fix it. That's what's gonna happen."

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    Christian Kirksey (flu) and Damarious Randall (heel) are both active for today's game against the Ravens.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey battled back from the flu and Damarious Randall his heel injury to face the Ravens on Sunday.

    Both are active and in the starting lineup for the game despite being listed as questionable.

    Jackson noted on Friday that the Browns took measures to keep him from the other players.

    "We have him quarantined, trust me. I went in like a dummy,'' said coach Hue Jackson. "They made me wash everything. He has it."

    Randall rallied after missing most of practice this week with the heel.  In fact, he hasn't practice much since injuring the heel on the turn in the second quarter of the Saints game in week two.

    He played through it during last week's 45-42 overtime loss in Oakland, picking off Derek Carr and returning the ball 50 yards. But he also gave up a TD at the end of regulation that he normally wouldn't.

    Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams applauded Randall for playing through the excruciating pain.

    "It's good. Guess what? You're supposed to,'' he said. "You can only imagine my conversations with him. I really like him, a lot. He has a great personality He is a competitor. If you are looking for sympathy, you aren't getting none. That's what a professional football player does. By the way, I do not know if you all know, I got my leg cut up in the offseason. I have a titanium knee now. I was back to work the second day. I was supposed to stay off for a month. That is what you are supposed to do."

    Williams also noted he'll use Randall more at cornerback if necessary with Terrance Mitchell out at least eight weeks with a broken wrist. Mitchell underwent surgery on Monday and will be replaced in the starting lineup by E.J. Gaines.

    "We have flipped (Randall) down a bunch more,'' said Williams. "The big thing there, too, is I have to be cognizant and not be a total jerk - he is battling through injury. I have got to watch how that all goes. He is battling through it. Not going to throw him to the wolves unless he can handle that, but I have no problem, no hesitation when he is healthy playing there. None."

    Mayfield gearing up to face No. 2 Ravens defense that chews up QBs

    In other Browns lineup news:

    * Tight end Seth DeValve, who's been struggling with a hamstring injury, is active for the first time since the Steelers game in week one.

    * Tyrod Taylor is the backup QB and Drew Stanton is inactive. Taylor was inactive last week while coming off the concussion suffered in the Jets game and a back injury from that outing.

    * Receivers Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway (knees) are both active and will start. Callaway, who's been struggling of late, could have his reps curtailed.

    * Browns other inactives are: receiver Damion Ratley, Tavierre Thomas, Denzel Rice, James Burgess Jr (knee), Earl Watford, and Chad Thomas.

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    The Buckeyes stayed at No. 3 after a 49-26 win over Indiana on Saturday.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Four new teams entered the top 10 of the Associated Press college football poll this week, but the Ohio State Buckeyes stayed at No. 3 following their 49-26 win over Indiana on Saturday.

    Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and Notre Dame make up the top five. The Fighting Irish moved up one spot with a win at Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma's loss to Texas. Washington (7), Penn State (8), Texas (9) and Central Florida (10) are the new teams in the top 10.

    How's Doug Lesmerises voted this week

    The Buckeyes also stayed at No. 3 in this week's coaches poll.

    The full AP college football poll for this week is below:

    1. Alabama, 6-0 (59 first-place votes)

    2. Georgia, 6-0

    3. Ohio State, 6-0 (1)

    4. Clemson, 6-0 (1)

    5. Notre Dame, 6-0

    6. West Virginia, 5-0

    7. Washington, 5-1

    8. Penn State, 5-1

    9. Texas, 5-1

    10. Central Florida, 5-0

    11. Oklahoma, 5-1

    12. Michigan, 5-1

    13. LSU, 5-1

    14. Florida, 5-1

    15. Wisconsin, 4-1

    16. Miami, 5-1

    17. Oregon, 4-1

    18. Kentucky, 5-1

    19. Colorado, 5-0

    20. North Carolina State, 5-0

    21. Auburn, 4-2

    22. Texas A&M, 4-2

    23. South Florida, 5-0

    24. Mississippi State, 4-2

    25. Cincinnati, 6-0

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    Bob Leech is a true baseball fan whose allegiances are to the Indians and, because of Mickey Mantle, the Yankees. He has an impressive collection of bats and balls, and still plays hardball at 72.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - For so many baseball fans, some of whom are only fans when the Indians are in the postseason as they are now, the games bring back long-ago memories of the sandlot, rubbing infield dirt on your hands and jumping on fastballs when you're ahead in the count.

    Baseball has that effect on Bob Leech of Seven Hills, who isn't just a fan during the postseason and isn't just an Indians fan. He's known to many as "Baseball Bob."

    "For us older guys, it brings back the kid in us," the 72-year-old told me last week. "Putting your spikes on, stepping onto the grass, oiling your glove, the sound of a bat, a wood bat, smacking a ball."

    He's not digging deep into the memory banks for that one. Not thinking back to his days at Lincoln High School in Cleveland, or The Plain Dealer AAA league where he faced future big leaguers. He's not thinking back to his six years in the U.S. Army where his job was to play on the Army baseball team.

    He's thinking two weeks ago, when he tore the cover off the ball and pitched in an all-ages  tournament in Cooperstown. And he's thinking about next month, when he is to play in the Roy Hobbs World Series in Fort Myers, Fla., in the 60-and over, 65-and-over, and 70 and over divisions.

    Leech, like so many fans, will watch from the family room when the Indians play the Houston Astros this afternoon in Game 3 of the American League Division  Series at Progressive Field. But he has tickets Tuesday and is planning to watch Game 4 from the stands at Progressive Field.

    He's pulling for them to accomplish what's eluded the Tribe since Bob was just a toddler in 1948 - a World Series victory.

    "To see the Indians do it would be the greatest thing that's ever happened in this city. Cleveland would be radiating so brilliantly, we would shine throughout the world," he said. "I think I'd go bananas, really. It's been so long."

    He knows what he's talking about. He has attended a game in 39 different World Series in his lifetime. And, here's his major character flaw, he has celebrated loudly after some of them, the most recent in 2009. Because of his childhood idol Mickey Mantle, Leech,  who grew up in sight of the steel mills on West 7th Street, is a Yankees fan.

    Baseball-Bob-Gehrig.JPGBob Leech's prized Lou Gehrig bat. 

    "I'm a baseball fan, first and foremost," he said, sitting in a small office stuffed with mind-blowing memorabilia collected over his lifetime. Dozens of signed baseballs -  Mickey Mantle, Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial. Enough genuine game-used bats, including a Lou Gehrig bat, to ring the room. Bobbleheads and ticket stubs and various other pieces of nostalgia.

    But, come on, a Cleveland kid who also loves the Yankees?

    His wife Marilyn, who stood in the doorway because "I get the hives" due to the dust and clutter of his mini museum, tried to help.

    "We just got back from a trip, and he wore his Indians coat and his Yankees hat," she said.

    Leech is retired now. He was a salesman who worked at The Plain Dealer, and then a number of sign companies including Brilliant Signs. He served on Seven Hills City Council for 26 years, 18 as president. He spent 52 years selling programs at Browns games and worked as an attendant for 12 years starting in 1974 in the visitor's clubhouse for the Indians, where players might take a liking to you and leave a bat or sign a ball.

    Now, he umpires high school baseball and fast-pitch softball games, as well as refereeing volleyball and basketball games. And this after recovering three years ago from an injury that left half his body paralyzed and hospitalized him for three months when a 14-year-old ballplayer took a practice swing as Leech, who was umpiring, was walking by.

    "He took me out!" Leech said. He was back on the field as soon as he healed. He plays -- hardball, not softball -- in a league where games are three times a week, plus a bunch of tournaments. Maybe 75 games a year.

    Two weeks ago at a tournament at Abner Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., hitting fourth behind his son Mickey (told you he loves Mantle), Leech gathered more RBIs than any player (nine) and the best on-base percentage thanks to 10 walks.

    He attributes his keen eye and switch-hitting prowess to the batting cage set up in his backyard for 28 years, where he worked on his swing in his free time and helped his own kids  -- Mickey, 49, Christine, 42, Bobby, 40 -- become accomplished switch-hitters. He also taught hundreds of local children how to make solid contact.

    "I'd give their dad a beer and sit him on the patio and say, 'Take notes if you want, but don't say anything for the next hour,'" he said.

    What would he tell the Indians now?

    "They're pros. There's nothing I can say that they don't know," he said, before coming up with something anyway. "If you relax and you enjoy the moment, you will always play better. You'll hit the ball, you'll throw that pitch thinking 'that sucker ain't gonna touch it.' You just gotta relax and enjoy it."

    Good advice for fans, too.

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    Find television, radio and online broadcasts of Monday's ALDS Game 3 between the Astros and Indians.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Indians play Game 3 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: Houston Astros (2-0) vs. Cleveland Indians (0-2).
    Where: Progressive Field.
    When: 1:30 p.m.
    TV: TBS.
    Radio: WTAM, 1100 AM; WMMS, 100.7 FM.
    Online: MLB.TV (premium subscription); Watch TBS

    Cleveland notable: Mike Clevinger recorded six pickooffs during the regular season, the second-most in the AL. Clevinger's six pickoffs are most by an Indians pitcher since Tom Candiotti and Greg Swindell each had six in 1989.

    Houston notable: Dallas Keuchel did not make an error in his 34 starts and 40 total chances. Keuchel led AL pitchers in total chances and ranked tied for second in assists (27). He ranked third in the AL in defensive runs saved (3).

    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

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    Players to watch next Saturday when Ohio State hosts Minnesota. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State is a 32-poinf favorite over Minnesota next Saturday in Ohio Stadium. Doesn't feel like a game in which we're going to learn a whole lot about the Buckeyes.

    So on this week's Buckeye Watch, we're going off the beaten path a bit and talking about some guys we've seen some, but also guys who feel like they could provide a little more for OSU.

    Every week we give you players to watch coming off one game and looking ahead to the next, this week we're talking about freshmen tight end Jeremy Ruckert and junior linebacker Justin Hilliard.

    Watch the video above to hear Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis break down their picks for this week's Buckeye Watch.

    We've seen each sprinkled in with the starters, with Hilliard getting his first run with the first-team defense in the 49-26 win over Indiana last Saturday. And we're wondering if, six games in, there's still room for some new faces to emerge and help the Buckeyes in the second half of the season.

    Ohio State and Minnesota kick off at 12 p.m. Saturday on FS1.

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    Mike Clevinger and the Cleveland Indians face Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS at Progressive Field.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Here are the starting lineups for Monday's ALDS Game 3 between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros.

    What: Astros (2-0) vs. Indians (0-2).
    When: 1:30 p.m.
    Where: Progressive Field.
    Broadcast: TBS, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM.


    Francisco Lindor SS
    Michael Brantley LF
    Jose Ramirez 2B
    Edwin Encarnacion 1B
    Josh Donaldson 3B
    Yandy Diaz 1B
    Brandon Guyer RF
    Yan Gomes C
    Jason Kipnis CF

    Mike Clevinger RHP


    George Springer CF
    Jose Altuve 2B
    Alex Bregman 3B
    Yuli Gurriel 1B
    Marwin Gonzalez LF
    Josh Reddick RF
    Carlos Correa SS
    Brian McCann C
    Tony Kemp DH

    Dallas Keuchel LHP

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    Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns in a win over Indiana on Saturday.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for the third-straight week following his performance in Saturday's 49-26 win over Indiana.

    Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback in Big Ten history to have three games with at least five passing touchdowns in one season.

    For the year, Haskins has 1,919 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 71.7 percent of his passes.

    This is the fourth time this season that Haskins has been named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Ohio State's record for most conference offensive POW awards in one season is five, set by quarterback Troy Smith in 2006.

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    A team spokesperson said Love sitting is more of a precaution and he would likely be able to play if it were a regular season contest.

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love will not play in Monday night's preseason matchup against the Indiana Pacers. 

    Love is being held out because of left foot soreness.

    A team spokesperson said Love sitting is more of a precaution and he would likely be able to play if it were a regular season contest. The Cavs have once again taken that cautious approach with all players during this training camp. 

    For Love, it will be his second straight missed exhibition game. He was rested in Saturday's 113-102 win against the Boston Celtics. 

    There is no word on Love's status for the finale on Friday night. 

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    The Buckeyes and Boilermakers will play on Oct. 20 in West Lafayette, Indiana.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's game at Purdue on Oct. 20 will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on ABC, the Big Ten announced on Monday.

    That will be the Buckeyes' third prime time game this season, following their games against TCU and Penn State.

    The Buckeyes and Boilermakers will be meeting for the first time since 2013.

    Ohio State will kick off at 12 p.m. this Saturday at home against Minnesota. It has yet to learn kickoff times for its remaining games against Nebraska (Nov. 3), at Michigan State (Nov. 10), and at Maryland (Nov. 17).

    The regular season finale against Michigan on Nov. 24 will kick off at 12 p.m.

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    Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona remained optimistic about his team's chances heading into Game 3 of the ALDS facing an 0-2 deficit.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- As a big-league manager, Terry Francona has been here before, on both sides of a playoff series advantage.

    Facing an 0-2 deficit in the American League Division Series against Houston on Monday, Francona remained optimistic and channeled his inner Yogi Berra when asked about his team's chances.

    "There's some sense of 'we can do this,' even though you're down 0-2, it's kind of a cool feeling," Francona said. "As long as we're still breathing, we're still breathing. We just don't have a lot of margin for error."

    Berra, the master of the malaprop, won three MVP awards and 13 World Series titles as a player and coach with the Yankees and often mixed phrases with unintended comical effect. 

    Francona rallied his Boston teams to victory in 2004 and 2007 when faced with seemingly insurmountable deficits in the American League Championship series against New York and Cleveland. He's also led teams to sweeps in the Division Series when leading 2-0 in 2004 (Boston) and 2016 (Cleveland).

    On Monday, Francona said he is looking forward to seeing his players rise to the challenge. He said the team's energy after Sunday's workout made him feel better when he left the ballpark than when he arrived.

    "You can philosophize about it however you want," Francona said."We need to go out and find a way to be one run better, and they know that."

    Francona said the best way for the Indians to keep their season alive is to channel their energy into finding a way to win today. Part of that includes blocking out the noise that comes with being down 0-2.

    "You gotta try to eliminate that and know that, be confident enough in what you're doing that, 'hey, this is what puts our team in the best position,' and stay with it," he said.  

    In 2004 with Boston, Francona rallied his team to overcome an 0-3 deficit against the New York Yankees, winning four straight including Game 7 in the Bronx.

    Francona balked at any comparisons between that Red Sox team and the situation facing the Indians.

    "I think the best thing to do is keep it in small samples," Francona said. "It seems daunting ... you've got to beat them three in a row when they've kind of had their way with us the first two."

    But breaking the task at hand down into a smaller sample can sometimes be an effective approach.

    "Let's try to win today; we can do it," Francona said. "We've done that plenty this year. We can do that. That's probably the best way to go about it. They know what we're up against, but I don't think anybody wants to go home. So the best way not to go home is to win. That's pretty profound."

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    The Indians expect Leonys Martin to report to spring training in 2019.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Outfielder Leonys Martin isn't at Progressive Field in body, but he's here in spirit.

    The Indians acquired Martin on July 31 from the Tigers to solve their problem in center field. He played six games after the trade before being struck by a life-threatening illness that cost him the remainder of the season.

    On Monday, with the Indians facing elimination in Game 3 of the ALDS against Houston, Martin encouraged them on Twitter. There's a picture of Martin in his Indians jersey. The Tweet urged them to take one game at a time.

    The Indians need to win three straight to avoid elimination and advance to the ALCS.

    Manager Terry Francona said he's talked to Martin and that he's been in frequent contact with his teammates.

    "I've got to be kind of careful with what I say because he's not really comfortable with being here," said Francona, "but he's been in communication with everybody and I think that's best for his sake."

    Many of Martin's teammates have worn his initials on their caps throughout the season.

    "He's doing OK, physically," said Francona.

    The Indians expect Martin to report to spring training in 2019 ready to play.

    "He's healing so fast that I think it's surprising the doctors at how quickly his heart has come back," said Francona.

    Martin was admitted to Cleveland Clinic on Aug. 7 with several stomach pain. Tests revealed he was suffered from a bacterial infection that entered his bloodstream and attacked his internal organs, including his heart. After being released from Cleveland Clinic, doctors advised Martin and the Indians that he should take the rest of the season off.

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    "Coming out of college that's all people kept saying was I couldn't shoot," Sexton told

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Pull up any pre-draft scouting report on Collin Sexton and scroll down to the section of weaknesses.

    The same one is listed repeatedly. Only it's phrased a different way each time.

    Streaky jumper. Somewhat mechanical release. Very streaky shooter. His balance on his jumper is not always consistent. Not a pure knockdown threat at this point. 

    Sexton was aware of it all. 

    "Coming out of college that's all people kept saying was I couldn't shoot," Sexton told "I shot probably 30-something percent from 3 so they were pretty much on top of that. Like, 'Oh can't shoot at the next level just because the 3-point line is further back.' I felt like I had to improve on that and show what I can do."

    The disrespect started long before the NBA Draft process. At Alabama, Sexton noticed defenders consistently going under screens, seducing him into jumpers.

    Head coach Avery Johnson kept telling Sexton to shoot, trying to inject confidence in him even when those jumpers weren't always falling. Assistant coach Yasir Rosemond watched film with Sexton on how the ball was coming off his fingertips.

    Sexton finished his freshman year averaging 19.2 points on 44.7 percent from the field and just 33.6 percent from beyond the arc.

    When his college career ended with the Crimson Tide's loss against Villanova in the NCAA Tournament, Sexton got some advice from his father, Darnell -- the guy he's been working with his entire life. This time, the two focused on Collin's shooting mechanics and release. Then the father-son combo went into the gym to implement those changes.

    "If I'm missing free throws he will tell me to back up or bend my knees. Stuff like that," Sexton said. "Right after we lost to Villanova he came to me and was like, 'You missed a few shots but we are going to work on it so that you will be able to knock down those shots when it's time.'"

    That time is here. He knows the evolution as an outside shooter will be the key to unlocking the more polished areas of his offensive game. 

    When asked by what specific tweaks he made, Sexton shook his head from side to side, not wanting to reveal his summer secrets. But it was clear some change was needed. 

    "Felt like I had to improve on that," Sexton said. "My dad told me I need to make sure I can get to the basket and do other stuff like that. If I improve on the jump shot then I will be hard to guard."

    Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has noticed the improvement. Lue says he wants Sexton to just play his game, not think about punishing defenses for going under screens. But if the jumper keeps falling, Sexton will be able to use his speed off the dribble and get into the paint, creating better looks for himself or his teammates. It will also pull bigger defenders closer to him on the perimeter, opening other areas for Cleveland to exploit. 

    The early results have been promising.

    During Saturday's preseason game, Sexton was 4-of-6 from the field. He buried both 3-point attempts. All four of his made baskets came outside the paint.

    "He's comfortable in taking it and believes in it so that's the biggest thing," Lue said. "He's been shooting the ball extremely well."

    During the team's get-together in Miami ahead of training camp, Sexton wanted the ball in clutch situations. In the preseason opener, he stepped into a jumper and halted a Boston surge.

    Most of camp, Sexton has been playing with the second unit. It appears he will be the anchor of the newly-minted bench. That role has given him a chance to play alongside Kyle Korver, among others. It's also provided Korver the opportunity to get a closer look at Sexton.

    Korver, like other teammates, have been extremely impressed.

    "Starting off, everyone was saying he couldn't shoot," Korver said. "He's shooting the ball really well. It's not just these two preseason games. He's shot the ball pretty well every day. Aggressive with his shot and he's still learning the game and all of his teammates. But he brings great energy and he's a high-character guy and works hard. There's not much not to like about him right now."

    Heading into the third preseason game, just one week away from his regular season debut, Sexton is brimming with confidence.

    Then again, that's never been an issue for him -- even when others were picking apart his game and looking for a thesaurus to find unique ways to say he couldn't shoot.

    "Nah. I ain't going to lose confidence. Once you have it, you have it," Sexton told "Just because confidence comes from within you and you just have to continue to push yourself. That's what I kept doing. Don't worry about it. Just make the next one.

    "I feel a whole lot better, feel more confident shooting the ball and continuing to work on it so I can continue to improve on the offensive side."

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    According to Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Smith was fined for initiating the altercation with his two-hand shove into the chest of Boston's center. Watch video

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard JR Smith has been fined $15,000 for his role in the on-court altercation with Boston's Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes during Saturday night's preseason game. 

    The incident occurred at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter when Smith got tangled up with Baynes in the paint before it turned into a fracas involving Marcus Smart as well. Teammates from both sides had to separate the two players. 

    According to Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Smith was fined for initiating the altercation with his two-hand shove into the chest of Boston's center. 

    Smart was also fined, getting docked $25,000 for escalating the incident. 

    While Smith and Baynes were jawing back and forth, Smart charged and shoved Smith from behind, leading to double technicals and an ejected for Smart. 

    "For a guy who wants to be so tough in this situation, he leads the league in flops. Easily," Smith said following the Cavaliers' 113-102 win. "You can't flop as much as you do and then be tough. How does that even work? And then you start slinging your teammates. Like, you didn't come to play basketball today. You knew he didn't want to play. Your coach told you you gotta play and you was frustrated. Then you try to take it out on somebody else.

    "At the end of the day, I'm not going to sit here and lose money over trying to fight Marcus Smart. I'm not going to lose money over my (Supreme) tattoo, so why would I lose it over him?"

    Apparently the NBA doesn't agree with Smith on that. 

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    Meyer held his Monday press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A complete transcript of everything Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said on Monday previewing the Buckeyes' game against Minnesota and recapping a win over Indiana.

    Urban Meyer: Thanks for coming. I'll give you, as we do, the player of the game was Tuf Borland.

    On offense, the receivers were outstanding. We had six guys grade champions. Parris, nine catches for 142 yards. Johnnie had five catches, 74 yards. Terry, four catches, 60 yards. K.J. Hill, four catches. Bin Victor, just keeps coming on, just had a great catch. And Austin Mack had five catches, 50 yards. Tight ends both graded champion -- Rashod Berry and Luke Farrell.

    And player of the game was our quarterback who had a really good day, 502 total yards, Dwayne Haskins.

    Special teams, we didn't decide -- it just wasn't -- had two punts, they fair caught every kickoff we had. Kickoff return was nonfactor. So we went without a special teams, not because they didn't give good effort just didn't do one.

    Comments about the game coming up. The best thing about 6-0 is a chance to go 7-0 against a team that has a top 20 defense. They're young on offense. And it's just great to be back home.

    Q. Halfway through the regular season, how do you feel about your offensive line? What do you like about the offensive? What needs to improve with the offensive line?

    We had five champions for several weeks right in a row. This week we didn't play particularly well. So we gotta get back to -- I think protection was very good. We've got to get back to the word "balance." We've been saying that and we're going to work again this week at that.

    Q. Branden Bowen, we haven't asked you about him in a while?

    He's close.

    Q. So a chance he could come back?

    There's a chance.

    Q. As you guys are trying to get more things going in the run game, has there been any consideration to playing Tate in short yardage or red zone to bring that element back to the offense?

    There has been. There continues to be that conversation.

    Q. What goes into that? What's the balance you talked before about the lack of depth at quarterback, too. And how much is that a factor and offensive rhythm when you're bringing in a new guy like that?

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, those are all conversations that we have. Tate's a very dynamic player. Those are questions we have every two hours.

    Q. With the offensive line, you mentioned, it seems like they're holding up very well against the blitz and pass protection, but when teams are loading up against the run, it's inconsistent. What's the difference there when teams are loading up against the run and the pass, and what have you seen out of your guys handling both?

    You're correct about the pressures. And a lot of those are five-man pressures that Dwayne has time and gets the ball out. The run game, it's a little more complicated than that.

    We gotta do a better job as coaches and better job, obviously, with players, just executing the run game. Because it's not always that. It's not always a loaded box.

    Once again, that's -- the weakness of our team right now is balance on offense and obviously pass defense.

    Q. You've been back for a few weeks since the tough month that you've had. I was wondering how has it been as a recruiter? How -- I can imagine you always talk about being on top of it, making calls every day. It's always changing. What was it like to have an absence like that and to come back? Can you take me through what it was like for you?

    With all due respect, I'd just like to move forward and it's been great. We're working our tails off recruiting. We had a big visit weekend this weekend.

    The team's playing very well. So recruiting is going very good.

    Q. The headache episode on Saturday, it looked to me like you had a similar situation come at Penn State. And seems like they come and go quickly. Is it an issue, Coach?

    I've been dealing with that cyst for many years, and we had the surgery several years ago. And when it does take place, it's just, you know, they give me some medicine and I feel fine now. Just something I've got to monitor.

    Q. A couple years ago you said, when there were things going wrong on defense, that you would get more involved, trying to find out what the solutions could be. Are you at that point now? Are you getting in the mix with what's happening with those breakdowns?

    I have conversations. I have so much confidence in the people doing it that we're going to get that fixed.

    Q. Has there been a common theme that you've seen with those -- when those plays get loose?

    Yeah, there is. And I don't want to get in too much detail other than it's a variety of things. But getting second level, when someone gets a second level, get them on the ground and then some coverage issues we've had.

    Q. Those guys, starters that left the game on Saturday, Cooper and Harrison, any injury update?

    Much better today. Probably know more today or later tomorrow, but much better.

    Q. Being six games into the regular season now, kind of the halfway point, what's kind of impressed you most about this team so far and what do you see as areas that maybe haven't quite lived up to your expectations?

    We've overcome significant injuries. Most notable is Nick Bosa. And we're still finding ways to win games. And just really good people on this team. We go out to practice and guys want to get better.

    So it's a good group to coach, good people and guys work really hard.

    Q. Question about the defense. We're six games into it. At this point in the season I'm sure you would like to be further along in terms of fixing those problems. Do you think that they are kind of systemic? When you look at them do you think, okay, this is just one guy out of place, or do you think there's something serious going on her?

    Well, you look at the last half of the game, they held them to 100 yards, against Indiana. Second half and also created a couple of turnovers, stopped them on fourth down. There's a lot of positives.

    What happens on the negative are interference calls or jump balls type things. We look at everything, overanalyze everything. So it's not as simple as this. It's a variety of things.

    But we tried to build on positives and the positives are that the second half they played outstanding. Against Penn State we gave up some yards but it was 14-13 going into the fourth quarter. So there are some positive things.

    Q. About the pass interference things, I know the philosophy is we've been told by coaches and players that if you're right on the guy then you look for the ball. If you're not, if they've got a step or more on you, then you try to swat through their arms. Can you just kind of explain that philosophy and whether you think that's working well enough?

    That's a pretty -- that's a philosophical approach that most people who play press coverage, that's the idea. And those are up-and-run coverage, press coverage is a very hard skill. The reason we do it, we want to challenge every throw. And we've had some excellent corners around here. I believe we have excellent corners now.

    It's a skill that requires an incredible amount of work. And when you're good, it's great. Press coverage, where you disrupt passes constantly.

    But what you just said is true. And that takes a lot of work. It's obviously something we believe in and we will continue to believe in it as long as we can.

    But that's a skill set that's very difficult that we ask them to do. And we just gotta continue to work to get better. The risk/reward on that, once you get great at that you're playing great defense now.

    Q. This might be a stupid question, I know the (indiscernible), but are you right now as comfortable or maybe even more comfortable on third-and-seven as you are third-and-one?

    Being respectful, that's not a stupid question. That's a great question at all.

    Third and one is tough right now. That's another weakness. So a weakness right now is balance on offense and those short yardage. We had a couple of close ones Saturday.

    And there's a time you're going to have to throw it and we have. But there might be more times to throw that. Third and seven, I haven't done that. I might go look at that right when we leave here, but he's a very accurate guy and we have some really good receivers. So to answer your question, that's not that far off right now.

    Used to be, when the dual-threat stuff -- I don't want to say it was automatic -- but it was pretty good. So that's a great question.

    Q. You look at Dwayne Haskins, Jr., he appears to be a prototype almost pocket-type passer kind of guy. Would that lead you down the road to getting him under center sometimes for those kind of situations?

    Doesn't really give you anything. Maybe a quarterback sneak. But whether it's shotgun, they don't change their defense.

    The whole idea being is that when you take the quarterback position and it's a hand-off player, they can plus you by two. Does that make sense in those situations? And that's what's happening right now.

    And with that kind of play -- which we've had before -- is that the answer is you have to throw it a little bit more often on those short-yardage situations, and we had one last week where we were short yardage and we threw a little out cut and got the first down. We just have to be willing to do that.

    Q. Minnesota, they started out pretty good --

    Very good. Top 20 defense.

    Q. Last two weeks, though, they've had a tough time defensively looks like. What stands out about them?

    Their defense is outstanding. They're not a big pressure team, but they've got a great pass rusher No. 45. Excellent player. And they had a tough injury to one of the best players in the conference. But their defense is outstanding.

    Q. They've got that freshman quarterback. Have you been able to watch video yet of him?

    Not yet.

    Q. Did you contemplate, have you contemplated having, whatever you want to call it another procedure with your cyst, or can you get by now with what you're doing?

    I'll get by with what we're doing.

    Q. You talked so much about the wide receivers and the elite level they're playing at. How is their position coach there, the new one, Brian Hartline, handled that job

    He's been great. He's learning on the run still. Doing some great things. And one thing about our job, it's very valuation-friendly. They're playing very well.

    Q. You don't have to make a decision right now, I guess, but has he done enough to have that interim tag taken off? Could he be a full-time --

    Oh, he sure could.

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    UFC CEO Dana White may strip Khabib Nurmagomedov of the UFC Lightweight title for embarrassing the company and putting fans in danger. Watch video

    Khabib Nurmagomedov is in hot water. After choking out Conor McGregor at UFC 229, he lept out of the cage and attacked the Irishman's corner, setting off a brawl outside of the ring. UFC CEO Dana White is on the warpath and may strip Nurmagomedov of the UFC Lightweight title for embarrassing the company and putting fans in danger. Others feel Nurmagomedov was justified and the attack doesn't warrant such a severe penalty. What do you think? 


    Should Nurmagomedov lose his title for this?

    Mixed martial arts already has an unfair reputation for being a glorified cockfight with no rules. Nurmagomedov didn't do much to dispel that opinion.

    The Russian grappler's attack on McGregor's corner may have been deserved, but he should know better than to risk the safety of the fans and reputation of the sport with a poor decision. He embarrassed anyone associated with the sport and doesn't deserve the honor of holding a championship belt.

    Dana White: UFC could strip Nurmagomedov of title

    If someone insulted your father, country and religion, you would be pretty mad too. McGregor and his team did all three and they expected Nurmagomedov to shake hands with them after? 

    Maybe things got a little out of hand, but it's not like the Russian attacked the crowd or used performance-enhancing drugs. There are many reasons to strip a title. Defending your family's honor should not be one of them.

    Ewan MacKenna: Conor McGregor's insults pale in comparison to the violence Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team perpetrated

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.

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    Let us know how you feel about the Browns after they defeated the Ravens on Sunday.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Browns broke more bad streaks on Sunday when they beat the Ravens in overtime, 12-9. They had their first AFC North win and their first win on a Sunday since 2015.

    They now sit at 2-2-1 after winning just one game in the previous two seasons. And as Doug Lesmerises wrote on Saturday, the team is starting to win back its fans.

    Doug spoke to fans who either stuck it out, left and came back or are still gone.

    Five games into the 2018 season, how are you feeling about the Browns? Are you still a little uneasy, or are you planning on buying playoff tickets.

    Let us know in the poll and comments below.

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