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    Houston beat the Indians convincingly in the ALDS on the field, but did their analytical preparation play a part as well?

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - It's been five days since the Indians were swept in the ALDS by Houston. It is still shocking that that one team beat another team so thoroughly on the postseason stage.

    Jason Kipnis said the Indians were not only out-played, but out-scouted and out-coached to a certain degree. Mike Clevinger, who threw five good innings in Game 3, when asked what happened told reporters, "A lot of stuff. A lot of things. I'm going to keep it really short. We were a little bit, kind of had our backs against the wall before this started when it came to the analytical side. But everybody was out there giving it their all. They just had some really good arms to back it up."

    Scouting and analytics beat the Indians? That's why they were outscored, 21-6?

    Some numbers to consider.

    *The Indians, who led the AL in stolen bases during the regular season, didn't steal one base in the ALDS. The main reason being they had only 19 baserunners in three games, while the Astros had 50.

    *In Game 3, an 11-3 loss, the Indians made three errors, threw two wild pitches, walked eight batters and committed a balk.

    *Indians' pitchers made four errors over 162 games in the regular season. They made three in Game 3 - one by Clevinger and two by Trevor Bauer. Bauer made both his errors in seventh inning when Houston scored twice to 3-2 lead on the way to a 11-3 romp.

    *The Indians went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position for the series. The Astros went 11-for-30.

    The Indians have been at the forefront of baseball's analytical movement for years. They created their own computer system to scout and evaluate players. Executives John Hart, Dan O'Dowd, Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff and many more have worked hard over the years to blend analytics with traditional scouting in terms of using analysis and logic in evaluating players and building a roster.

    For players to imply that they were beaten because Houston's analytical brainiacs were smarter than the Indians' brainiacs is an excuse. And a lame one at that.

    What I saw in the ALDS was one team beat the other team up one side and down the other. How did analytics play a part in Bauer making two critical errors in Game 3? The day before Game 1, Justin Verlander told reporters he'd changed his pitching style since being traded to Astros in August of 2017. He said he started throwing harder, concentrating on his four-seam fastball. The next day he went out and threw 95 mph to 97 mph four-seam fastballs past the Indians for five plus innings.

    That has nothing to do with analytics and everything to do with just getting flat-out beat. This Indians' team had a stuck-in-neutral vibe all year. The transmission finally blew out in the ALDS.

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    Ratley is likely to get a big opportunity this week with Rashard Higgins and Derrick Willies both out. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- Asked how much more this Browns receiving corps can take following the loss of Derrick Willies to a fractured collarbone, Rod Streater didn't seem rattled.

    "It happens, but young guys, old guys have to step up," he said.

    Streater is one of the old guys (sorry, Rod). He's 30 years old and has 127 career catches in his his six seasons.

    His workload has increased steadily since the Browns signed him on September 17 after they traded Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots. Streater was inactive in Week 3 against the Jets, but played five offensive snaps and 17 special teams snaps at Oakland and 18 offensive snaps and 22 special teams snaps last week. Unfortunately, the only time he's touched the ball this season was on that ill-fated 11-yard loss on first-and-10 from the Browns' 16-yard line in overtime.

    "The D-end kind of came down. I should have outrun him," Streater said, "but, you know, it happens."

    One of the young guys is Damion Ratley, a sixth-round pick out of Texas A&M. He's played even less than Streater so far this season, and he made the initial 53-man roster.

    Ratley has been inactive for three games -- weeks one, four and last week -- and has played just one offensive snap, against the Jets in Week 3. He's played 19 special teams snaps. He was clearly behind Willies, an undrafted free agent, on the depth chart, something he said he couldn't get mad about because Willies was outperforming him.

    "It hurts, not being active. It killed me, but I've got to do what I've got to do to help the team win," he said.

    Ratley isn't dissimilar from Willies in that neither set the world on fire during their college careers. While Willies bounced around from Iowa to a junior college and then Texas Tech, Ratley, in three seasons with the Aggies, caught 47 passes for 920 yards. Much like Willies, he was brought in mostly for his traits as opposed to his accomplishments.

    "Ratley's combination of size, athleticism, and pure speed makes him an intriguing prospect," Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of Ratley on "... While he has bonafide field-stretching speed, he also has the athletic ability and foot quickness to handle underneath routes as well."

    Jeff Tarpley of 24/7 Sports reported that Ratley ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at Texas A&M's pro day.

    "He's always bragging about his speed," Streater said. "He's always telling, 'Look at the GPS. I'm the fastest.' So he has the speed. I love his attitude. He's prepared"

    That attitude has been tested early with the lack of playing time. Some guys struggle with it. Ratley, by most accounts, has not. He keeps it simple when it come to dealing with being inactive.

    "I go home, see my girlfriend, see my dog, they make my day a lot better," he said. "I remember what I do it for and I go out Monday and perform like I've been doing."

    The Browns will consider other options at receiver. Da'Mari Scott is on the practice squad. The Browns would have until 4 p.m. to elevate him if they choose to go that route. It could mean more touches for Duke Johnson as a receiver.

    As for Ratley, he came on late in training camp and appeared to develop chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield as they worked together on the second team. That chemistry could come in handy on Sunday against the Chargers.

    "It's going to be fun and I think we have a pretty good connection," Ratley said.

    As for that speed Streater was raving about?

    "I guess we'll see," Ratley said.

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    The MLS team is staying in Central Ohio, aided by a law passed after the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Twenty-three years after the owner of the Cleveland Browns announced that the football franchise would be moving out of Ohio, a different owner of the Browns has helped prevent Ohio from losing a different professional sports team.

    The Columbus Crew has been saved, and Jimmy and Dee Haslam helped make it possible. And Art Modell's move of the Browns after the 1995 season may have helped keep the Crew from moving this time.

    The Major League Soccer team founded in 1994 will remain in Columbus after a year-long dalliance that saw former owner Anthony Precourt do everything possible to move the franchise to Austin, Texas.

    Precourt announced his Austin intentions on Oct. 17, 2017, and almost immediately, a community campaign called Save The Crew fought to keep one of the 10 founding franchises of MLS in Central Ohio.

    It worked.

    Friday, the planned sale of the team to the Haslams and Columbus-area investor Dr. Pete Edwards was revealed.

    In a joint statement, the Columbus Partnership, the Haslams, and Edwards announced, "While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with Major League Soccer to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward."

    The Haslams have owned the Browns for six years, their $1.05 billion purchase finalized on Oct. 25, 2012.

    This deal was a diving save of the Crew after what had often looked like a sure move to Austin. Precourt was publicly negotiating with Austin, and in August, the Austin City Council voted to move ahead on a deal with Precourt, who wanted to build a $200 million stadium in Austin. Now, Precourt will work with MLS toward owning an expansion team in Austin.

    One roadblock thrown up by Crew supporters along the way involved what is known as the "Art Modell Law," which was passed in Ohio after Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore.

    Basically, the law states that any pro sports team that plays in a taxpayer-funded stadium must give a local ownership group a chance to buy the team before moving. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined the city of Columbus in a lawsuit in March, based on the Modell Law, to prevent the Crew from moving.

    The next question is what the Haslams' involvement with the Crew might mean for the Browns involvement in Columbus.

    In December of 2016, the Browns backed out of a plan that would have moved most of the Browns training camp to Columbus starting this year.

    "While we greatly appreciate the efforts of and our discussions with representatives from the City of Columbus, Franklin County and Ohio State University," the Browns said in a statement 22 months ago, "we believe it is best for our football team, our organizational goals and our fans to continue to host training camp in Northeast Ohio."

    That plan had discussed building a training facility near Ohio State. But since the Haslams now will own an MLS team and NFL team, figuring out a Columbus plan for the Browns may be easier. Part of the sale announced Friday includes a plan for a downtown stadium in Columbus and practice facilities.

    The idea of the Browns spending some training time in Columbus has to gain steam as the details of this sale are finalized.

    "We value and appreciate the benefits a professional sports franchise can bring to a community and are hopeful to be part of the solution to keep the Crew in Columbus," Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in statement. "We would invest in a strong infrastructure within the Crew organization so that we can continue our focus and commitment to building a winning Cleveland Browns football team in Northeast Ohio. We look forward to seeing how this process evolves."

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    Check here for the live third-round leaderboard for the European Tour's Sky Sports British Masters 2018 on Saturday, Oct. 13, in England.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Eddie Pepperell, Matt Wallace, Julien Guerrier, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen are among notables in the field at Sky Sports British Masters 2018 this week in England.

    Site: Surrey, England.
    Course: Walton Heath (Old Course). Yardage: 7,394. Par: 72.
    Purse: 3 million pounds. Winner's share: 500,000 pounds.
    Television: Thursday-Friday, 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
    Defending champion: Paul Dunne.
    Race to Dubai leader: Francesco Molinari.
    Last week: Lucas Bjerregaard won the Dunhill Links Championship.
    Notes: FedExCup champion Justin Rose is the tournament host this year at Walton Heath. ... British Open champion Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, the first European tandem to go 4-0 in the Ryder Cup, are in the field. ... Rose will have a chance to return to No. 1 in the world. ... Walton Heath was founded in 1903 and had King Edward VIII as its first captain. The Old Course hosted the 1981 Ryder Cup. ... The field features four Ryder Cup players (Rose, Molinari, Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen), Captain Thomas Bjorn and three vice captains in Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson. ... The tournament dates to 1972. ... The list of champions features eight winning Ryder Cup captains -- Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance, Seve Ballesteros, Bernard Gallacher and Tony Jacklin.
    Next week: Andalucia Valderrama Masters.

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)

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    Two things to watch when Ohio State hosts Minnesota on Thursday in Ohio Stadium. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's been too long since we've seen Ohio State backup quarterback Tate Martell. Will we get a glimpse when the Buckeyes host Minnesota on Saturday?

    Our keys to this week's game are in the video above, two things to watch when OSU and Minnesota kick off today at 12 p.m. (FS1).

    Doug Lesmerises is watching Ohio State's cornerbacks, whether they'll be tested with 50-50 balls again and how they perform coming off what was probably their worst game of the season last week against Indiana.

    Me, I'm thinking about Martell.

    This isn't really a key as much as it is a wish. Anything that can happen to get Martell into the game is good with me. He hasn't played since the Buckeyes beat Tulane on Sept. 22. So will this game be the kind of blowout that gets the No. 2 quarterback some action? Or will Urban Meyer pull the trigger on mixing Martell into the offense as a run threat?

    Meyer admitted this week that there's been conversation about that.

    Watch for those things, and let us know your keys to the game in the comments section.

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    Now that LeBron James has left the Cavaliers, so has a lot of the pressure on players and coach Tyronn Lue. But how will they handle life without The Greatest Player In The World? Watch video


    After a recent Cavaliers practice, Tyronn Lue was asked about the pressure players felt when on the same team as LeBron James.

    "There is a lot of pressure playing with The Best Player In The World," said the Cavaliers coach.

    James has become just that: The Best Player In The World. You often hear that label attached to his name. The way he carried the Cavaliers to the 2018 NBA Finals -- winning a pair of Game 7s along the way -- was one of the greatest performances in NBA history.

    There is no debate about James being The Best Player In The World. The only question is this: Is he the best ever?

    So how does it feel to play on the same team in big games with a legend? Lue said there was pressure to "make shots ... not make mistakes ... do the right thing."

    Lue is correct. The players felt it.

    "You have to produce," said Lue, who could have added these words: Right Now!

    With James, there is no time for patience. He's played 15 NBA seasons. Watching him in a preseason game with the Lakers, he remains brilliant. At 33, he is defying the calendar.

    But as James often says, "Father Time is undefeated."

    I believe it took not only a player with the enormous talent of James for a Cleveland franchise to finally win a title since the 1964 Cleveland Browns, but also his iron will and relentless pursuit of greatness.

    His one title in Cleveland is worth several with a different franchise because he was wrestling with the ghosts of great Cleveland teams that failed to deliver.


    With James, a trip to the NBA Finals was the minimum standard. The goal was a title, and failing to deliver that makes James miserable.

    For all the talk of NBA players wanting to win, few truly understand what that is like. Some play a long time and never get past the first round of the playoffs. Few know what it's like to be with James, who has taken his team to eight consecutive NBA Finals.

    The most recent example would be the teammates of Michael Jordan, when he won six titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. Jordan would bark at players for mental mistakes. He'd glare at teammates who missed open shots. He was extremely demanding and sometimes very rude with rookies.

    James has a softer personality, but he is demanding. He does get into the face of teammates. He pushes them. He has intimidated more than few.

    Rodney Hood seemed to wilt under the pressure of playing with James last season.

    Lue talked about the "scrutiny" that comes with playing with James. Hood had problems dealing with it. That was especially true in the playoffs, where he fell out of the Cavs' rotation. He had a game in Toronto where he refused to play near the end when the issue was decided.


    With James now in Los Angeles, the Cavaliers have returned to being a normal team that most experts believe will miss the playoffs.

    As Lue also said, "LeBron is go great, he can cover up for a lot."

    Now, veterans such as Kevin Love, Tristin Thompson, George Hill, J.R. Smith, and Hood will be exposed -- for good or bad, depending upon how they produce. There won't be any more throwing the ball to James and watching him create a shot. Nor will there be James' exceptional passes leading to easy layups and dunks for teammates.

    Younger players Collin Sexton, Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson will be "developed," in the words of General Manager Koby Altman.  

    A lot will be written about Hood, a talented scorer who now has a fresh start.


    The things Lue said about playing with James also apply to coaching him. If anything goes wrong, the first fingers tend to be pointed at the coach.

    "How can he not win with The Best Player in the World?" would be the narrative.

    The media scrutiny, the pressure, the dealing with egos took a physical and emotional toll on Lue. He missed three weeks late in the 2017-18 regular season dealing with exhaustion and other issues.

    Lue is only 41. This is only his third training camp as a head coach. He has often said he had to change his style of coaching to fit James. Of course, James led to a championship ring on Lue's finger, a 5-year, $35 million contract and coaching in the Finals for three years in a row. Very few men in his profession have experienced that.

    Now, as with Hood, Love and the rest -- it's a new and much different season.

    He can coach the team his way, and do it far from the spotlight of the national media. Maybe it will bring the best out of him.

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    The Buckeyes will be down two starters when they play Minnesota today.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State will be down two defensive starters for Saturday's game against Minnesota. Defensive end Jonathon Cooper and linebacker Malik Harrison were not dressed as the team took the field for warmups.

    Both players have been in concussion protocol this week.

    Jashon Cornell is expected to start in place of Cooper, and Justin Hilliard is expected to start in place of Harrison.

    Harrison is second on the team with 25 tackles this season. Cooper has been starting for the last few weeks with Nick Bosa out following surgery. He has eight tackles and a sack this year.

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    Perriman was a first-round pick in 2015.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Browns gave up on one recent first-round receiver in Corey Coleman this season. They are giving another one a chance in Breshad Perriman.

    They signed the Ravens' 2015 first-rounder Saturday to help fill their gaping hole at the position Sunday against the Chargers.

    The Browns were already in a bind from the loss of Rashard Higgins to a sprained MCL when his replacement Derrick Willies broke his collarbone in practice on Friday.

    Willies, who made a big 39-yard catch-and-run in last week's 12-9 overtime victory over the Ravens, was placed on injured reserve to make room for Perriman (6-2, 215). It has yet to be determined if he's out for the season, but he must miss a minimum of eight games. The Browns also waived fullback Danny Vitale from injured reserve.

    The Browns also worked out former Titans receiver Rishard Matthews, 29, on Monday, but opted for Perriman instead.

    Perriman, whose Ravens career was derailed by injuries and dropped passes, was released just before the final cuts this year. Heading into his fourth season, he was the only Ravens' first-rounder in team history to be waived before his rookie contract expired.

    The Redskins signed him, but cut him four days later on Sept. 23.

    Drafted No. 26 overall out of Central Florida, Perriman's career got off to a horrible start when he suffered a partially torn PCL in his left knee on his first day of training camp and missed the entire season. Last year, Perriman was sidelined for all of the preseason with a hamstring injury.

    Willies breaks his collarbone

    His best season was in 2016 when he caught 33 passes for 499 yards and 3 TDs. Last season, he caught only 10 passes for 77 yards. The Ravens failed to pick up his fifth-year option.

    Perriman took a lot of heat from Ravens fans and on social media for being a bust.

    "I know there is some negative stuff out there, and there is always going to be some negative people that want to bring you down," Perriman told in July. "I like they have a higher standard for me. I have a higher standard for myself than they have of me. I'm more p----ed at me than they are when I drop a pass."

    The Ravens kept hoping Perriman could live up to his first-round status. He's big, fast, and showed plenty of potential. On his Pro Day, he clocked in a blazing 4.24 and 4.27 in the 40.

    "When Breshad is healthy, he's got a really, really uncommon skill and ability," Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told "When he's healthy, the man can help a team win -- period, done, complete."

    Perriman said during camp that was eager to prove himself.

    "I know I have a lot of confidence in myself,'' he said. "I want to have that swag back again."

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    Football weather returns to Cleveland for Sunday's game between the Browns and Chargers.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio-- The Browns are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since 2014 on Sunday.

    Whether they're able to pull off a victory or not, the teams will be taking the field in cool conditions that could also be described as "football weather."

    Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m., FirstEnergy Stadium

    Be sure to bundle up if you're heading out to tailgate before Sunday's game, as temperatures will be in the mid-40s at 7 a.m., rising to 50 degrees around 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service Cleveland.

    Temperature at kickoff is expected to be 54 degrees, and it will rise to a high of 58 before the game ends.

    Precipitation chances are less than 5 percent throughout tailgating and the game under partly cloudy skies.

    The last time the Browns won consecutive games was November of 2014 with three straight victories against the Raiders, the Buccaneers and the Bengals. 

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    Check out K.J. Hill's one-handed touchdown catch against Minnesota on Saturday.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- H-back K.J. Hill might have the best hands of any Ohio State receiver.

    He made a case for it on Saturday when he made a one-handed touchdown catch in the second quarter against Minnesota.

    Hill pulled a pass from Dwayne Haskins out of the air with one hand and ran 36 yards to the end zone.

    Watch the catch here.

    Check out another angle.

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    Here is Dan Labbe's prediction for Sunday's Browns vs. Chargers game. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It's not that I don't believe this Browns team is truly better than what we have seen the last two seasons. I've been harping on it every week that I believe they are and each game is a chance to prove it.

    It's just that I'm having trouble picking the Browns this week. A big part of it is that the Chargers have lost two games, one to the undefeated Chiefs and one to the undefeated Rams. Those are clearly the two best teams in the league right now.

    The flip side of this is the Chargers' three wins have come against the Bills, 49ers after Jimmy Garoppolo and the Raiders. It's not exactly a murderers' row.

    This is a winnable game. That's the theme so far this season. You go into each week truly believing anything can happen. If the Browns want to turn this season into something real, they'll have to stack wins. I don't think it happens this week.

    Judging by my record so far, that's good news for the Browns.

    My pick: Chargers 30, Browns 27.

    My record: 1-4.

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    Ohio State moved to 7-0 despite a sloppy performance on Saturday against Minnesota.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- So maybe it was a two-game Penn State hangover?

    No. 3 Ohio State turned in its sloppiest performance of the season on Saturday against Minnesota, giving up big plays to one of the worst offenses in the country while struggling to score against a team that had given up a combined 90 points over its last two games.

    The Buckeyes still won, but their warts were laid bare for everyone to see, warts that had been there all along and explained away with promises to work on things and improve them. A game against Minnesota should have been an opportunity to get those lingering issues corrected, or at least show signs of progress.

    Instead Ohio State slogged its way to a 30-14 win. It wasn't a hangover. It was a bad game. Teams have those sometimes, and when they come with a win, perhaps it's better to flush it and move on. But the breakdowns against Minnesota weren't new.

    The one thing that's been good all year, Dwayne Haskins and the passing game, still was. Haskins went over the 400-yard mark for the second straight game, completing 33 of 44 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

    Receiver K.J. Hill had nine catches for a career-high 187 yards. His 27-yard touchdown with 2:15 left iced the game and allowed the Buckeye offense to leave things on a high note.

    That passing game continues to be the best thing about this team.

    Kicker Blake Haubeil, playing in place of the injured Sean Nuernberger, made three field goals to bail out an offense that moved the ball between the 20-yard lines with some consistency, but went without a touchdown in three red zone trips.

    Without any kind of running game, OSU's offense sputtered when it got into scoring position. The struggles of a run game without a mobile quarterback were compounded on Saturday by an offensive line that collectively played its worst game of the season. Minnesota's defensive front won nearly every battle, and Ohio State was held under 100 rushing yards for the first time since the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson in 2016. The Buckeyes were held under three yards per carry (2.9 average) for the first time since a loss to Virginia Tech in 2014.

    Ohio State finished with 92 yards on 32 carries. Haskins was sacked three times and Minnesota had nine tackles for loss.

    Urban Meyer talked this week about concerns with the running game and the defense giving up big plays. The Buckeyes didn't appear to make progress with either this week.

    The defense again buckled down late, falling in line with the trend over the first six games. Minnesota burned Ohio State with run-pass option throws through the first three quarters, but the Buckeyes defended them well late in the fourth quarter, leading to missed field goals on back-to-back Minnesota possessions.

    The Gophers, though, put up 387 yards of offense, their second-highest total of the season and most since racking up 527 against New Mexico State in their season opener.

    Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 146 yards, two killers coming on 20-plus runs up the middle on third down when OSU had its nickel package on the field. Gophers quarterback Zak Annexstad threw for 218 yards, including 41 on a gutsy double reverse flea-flicker in the fourth quarter. But he also threw two interceptions, one on the opening drive of the game and another in the fourth quarter when Minnesota had a chance to cut Ohio State's lead down to one score.

    Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Pryor had the interceptions for the Buckeyes. Safety Jordan Fuller led OSU with a career-high 12 tackles.

    The Gophers had 238 yards of offense in the first half, putting together two 75-yard scoring drives and holding a 14-10 lead for a stretch after three-yard rush by Ibrahim. Minnesota's first scoring drive was kept alive by a 25-yard run by Ibrahim on third down in the first quarter. The second scoring drive was prolonged by a pass interference call on Shaun Wade on third-and-10.

    Those are lingering problems for Ohio State's defense. But this wasn't Minnesota finding one or two chunk plays but otherwise being shut down. This was an opponent consistently moving the ball until the fourth quarter.

    The Buckeyes passing game, though, allowed OSU to go into the half with a lead.

    Hill's one-hand catch on a ball throw behind him led to a walk-in 36-yard touchdown. Haskins connected earlier in the half on a 41-yard touchdown to Terry McLaurin. OSU's first drive stalled in the red zone, leading to a field goal from Haubeil.

    The Buckeyes led 17-14 at the half.

    Munford leaves with injury

    Ohio State lost left tackle Thayer Munford to injury in the second half. Munford appeared to injure his leg on a play in the third quarter, walked off the field under his own power, but did not return. Josh Alabi played in his place for the remainder of the game.

    Harrison, Cooper out

    Ohio State was without linebacker Malik Harrison and defensive end Jonathon Cooper on Saturday. Both players were in concussion protocol this week.

    Justin Hilliard started at outside linebacker, and Jashon Cornell replaced Cooper. Those were the first career starts for a pair of players from OSU's 2015 recruiting class who committed to the Buckeyes on the same day.

    What's next?

    Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) is back on the road next week against Purdue. Kickoff from Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana is set for 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

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    The Buckeyes won 30-14 over the Golden Gophers but struggled all day.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Every question you've had about undefeated Ohio State was thrown right in your face Saturday.

    This 30-14 win over Minnesota looked like two evenly-matched teams all day, except the home team was ranked No. 3 in the nation and the Golden Gophers lost by 29 to Maryland earlier this year.

    Ohio State won. But Ohio State was lucky.

    With injuries that showed up, individual player breakdowns at multiple positions, a defensive game plan that allowed Minnesota to succeed on similar plays over and over and a problematic run game that can't be relied upon, the Buckeyes played poorly enough to lose.

    This was like the Iowa loss a year ago, but it was at home and Minnesota didn't have the quarterback and skill to turn a bad day for Ohio State into a loss.

    * The Buckeyes gave up easy slants all day and Minnesota gladly took them. The linebackers typically line up right at the line of scrimmage, threatening the offensive line and hoping to take pressure and double-teams off the defensive line. But that leaves the middle of the field wide open, and the Gophers went there again and again, beating OSU corners off the line and catching quick throws.

    Ohio State never really adjusted. But the play of the game may have been linebacker Justin Hilliard batting down a third-and-6 slant late in the third quarter from the 14. That forced a field goal try that Minnesota missed, and if Hillard hadn't batted that throw -- the route was open again.

    * The red zone issues are real. The lack of a running quarterback has the Buckeyes running their typical passing game in a compressed area, and it didn't work Saturday.

    The Buckeyes were limited to a 21-yard field goal on their first drive and a 27-yard field goal on their first drive of the fourth quarter in a game that was too tight to settle for three when seven was there. In three red zone trips, they didn't get in the end zone.

    * This week Urban Meyer was asked if he was more comfortable on third-and-7 than he was on third-and-1. Next question: Do the Buckeyes have a better chance to score a touchdown from the 40 than they do the 10?

    * The offensive line had a rough day, with right tackle Isaiah Prince really struggling and left tackle Thayer Munford heading to the locker room with a third-quarter injury.

    There was little push in the run game, but there may not be an answer to magically fix it. Branden Bowen, a starter a year ago who broke his leg in the middle of the season, is back at practice. Given the issues, when he's ready he may need a look at one of the guard spots. But there's little drive in the middle of the line, and the Buckeyes are getting stuffed on a regular basis.

    At tackle, Joshua Alabi played when Munford went down, but he's a career backup. The backup for Prince, a senior, three-year starter and captain, is true freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere.

    * There was day-long social media panic about the OSU defense. But an interception and forced fumble in the first half helped balance out two long, 75-yard Minnesota touchdown drives. Safety Isaiah Pryor saved Ohio State in the fourth quarter with a great read and interceptions on a sideline deep ball.

    So for all these defensive issues, the Buckeyes only allowed 14 points. That's pretty good. But it was troubling to see the Gophers move with ease.

    * The personnel losses for Ohio State were apparent.

    The Buckeyes really missed injured defensive end Nick Bosa, who has been out since suffering an abdominal injury in week three against TCU.

    Add the injuries that kept defensive end Jonathon Cooper and linebacker Malik Harrison out Saturday, and all day the Buckeyes were putting guys on the field they don't intend to play in tough spots.

    At one point on a key third quarter snap, sophomore defensive tackle Haskell Garrett was playing defensive end. The Buckeyes were running out of healthy bodies who weren't exhausted. That was part of what went wrong with the defense. Even at Ohio State, where the talent is deep, when you start stacking up injuries, you notice it.

    * The defensive scheme needs a tweak. The Buckeyes were saved by forcing three turnovers. But Minnesota really helped with that.

    While big plays have bothered Ohio State all season, this time, the Gophers were marching down the field much of the day. They turned it over three times, missed two field goals, but only punted twice.

    * Ohio State got a generous spot on a fourth-down Mike Weber run in the first quarter when it looked like he was short of the first down. But it was ruled a first down and Dwayne Haskins threw a 41-yard touchdown on the next play for a 10-7 lead.

    If Weber is marked short, and Minnesota took over on downs, that would have drastically changed the first half.

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    The Buffalo Bulls touted passing game was held under control by the Akron Zips, but the Bulls were successful on the ground to earn a victory over Akron.

    BUFFALO, New York - The Akron Zips lost a second straight game in Mid-American Conference play, 24-6, at Buffalo Saturday afternoon in UB Stadium. The game was laced with several NFL prospects, but it was Buffalo's 5-9 freshman tailback Jaret Patterson who shined brightest.

    The 195-pound back rushed for 91 yards on 17 carries to lead the Bulls. Meanwhile the Zips, after scoring just 17 points last week, could post only a pair of field goals against the Bulls.

    Akron finished with just 235 yards of total offense vs. 435 for Buffalo.

    "We've got to find ourselves,'' Akron head coach Terry Bowden said, noting a big part of their offense was missing in receiver Kwadarrius Smith (concussion).

    "We didn't know until Friday we wouldn't have him,'' Bowden said.

    The Zips (2-3, 0-2), 2017 defending MAC East Division Champions, lost their MAC opener last week to Miami while the Bulls (6-1, 3-0) entered the game undefeated and stay that way going into a huge test next Saturday at Toledo.

    On their first possession of the game, the Zips used a very generous spot on a fourth-and-one to ultimately get into position for 48-yard Nick Gasser field goal, taking a 3-0 lead with 8:44 to go in the first quarter.

    By the end of the quarter Buffalo had countered with a 17-yard Tyree Jackson touchdown pass to receiver George Rushing for a 7-3 Buffalo lead.

    Buffalo had several chances early in the second quarter to take a commanding lead, but a Jackson interception at the two spoiled one scoring opportunity, and another red zone chance ended with a 30-yard field goal instead of a touchdown for a 10-3 lead with 6:49 to go in the half.

    The Zips took advantage, tacking on another Gasser field goal, 44-yards, slicing Buffalo's lead to 10-6 at halftime. Akron got the ball to start the second half, but three-and-out followed, giving Jackson the ball with less than 90 seconds off the clock.

    But the 6-7, 245-pound Jackson, considered a potential first-round NFL draft pick,  was working on a second straight down performance and was also back on the sidelines in less than 90 seconds.

    The Zips showed a small spark, getting down to Buffalo's 27. But two straight sacks, then an offensive pass interference on a TD pass to Deltron Sands, ultimately ended with another sack, not even close enough for a field goal try.

    "That was huge,'' Bowden said. "We were in the hunt right there, in the lead. Then the defense got a little gassed after that."

    The Bulls promptly made it a two-score game, driving  85 yards in 12 plays, ending with a four-yard touchdown run by tailback Jared Patterson for a 17-6 lead with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.

    Moments later the Zips sealed their fate as a Kato Nelson interception led to a 75-yard drive by the Bulls, powered by Patterson's runs between the tackles, and ending with Jackson's one-yard plunge for a 24-6 lead with 12:00 left in the game.

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    The Cavs waived Bonzie Colson, Kobi Simmons and Emanuel Terry.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers waived four players on Saturday afternoon, trimming the roster down to 14.

    The Cavs waived Bonzie Colson, Kobi Simmons, Emanuel Terry and Isaiah Taylor. 

    Colson and Terry were always considered long shots to make the final roster. Simmons arrived at camp believing he had a chance to battle with Taylor for the third point guard spot.

    Taylor recently suffered a stress fracture in his leg and told that he could be out for a month. Despite a strong camp and head coach Tyronn Lue's support, the Cavs waived Taylor about 30 minutes after announcing their first three roster cuts. 

    The Cavs' current roster also includes a pair of players on two-way deals -- Billy Preston and John Holland.

    With one roster spot available, the Cavs will keep an eye on players waived around the NBA and could make one more addition. They could also stick with 14 heading into the regular season opener. 

    The Cavaliers will tip off the season on Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. 

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    The Browns can go over .500 for the first time since 2014. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A victory for the 2-2-1 Browns over the 3-2 Chargers Sunday would give them their first back-to-back victories since Nov. 2 and Nov. 6, 2014 over the Bucs and Bengals.

    It would also have them off to their best start since 2001, when they started 4-2, and have them over .500 for the first time since December of 2014.

    The Chargers were the lone team to lose to the Browns in 2016, and beat the winless Browns only 19-10 last year.

    "That was a scary game for us,'' said Chargers coach Anthony Lynn. "And now they're just learning how to win. They've won some close games, but they could be 4-1. It's a dangerous football team.''

    A victory would also improve the Browns to 3-0-1 at home, which would be their best start here since 1963 when they went 4-0.

    The Browns should trade for Odell Beckham Jr.: 5 reasons why

    But it will be a tough game and was difficult to pick. The Chargers' two losses have come to the only two undefeated teams in the league: the 5-0 Chiefs and the 5-0 Rams.

    QB Philip Rivers, the savvy 15-year veteran who's seen it all, is off to a rousing start, with 13 TDs, only two INTs, and is third in the NFL with a 116.4 rating.

    Their explosive offense is No. 8 in the NFL with 27.4 points per game, and they're No. 7 with 405.2 yards per contest. They don't give the ball away much, with only 2 picks and 3 lost fumbles, so the Browns will really have to try to pry it loose from the two-headed monster of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.

    Keenan Allen is always tough at receiver, and Denzel Ward will have to bring his A game. The Chargers also re-signed tight end Antonio Gates last month after an injury to Hunter Henry, and he's playing well.

    The Browns will need a blockbuster performance upfront from Myles Garrett to help pull this off. He must dominate like he did in week one against the Steelers. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert will also engage in a chess match with the brilliant Rivers to try to disguise defenses and keep him from calling out coverage like he did last year. Coach Hue Jackson has called on the fans to be loud so Rivers can't easily change plays at the line.

    Defensively, Joey Bosa is out, but the Chargers have star safety Derwin James and premier edge-rusher Melvin Ingram that Baker Mayfield will have to worry about. The Browns are thin at receiver with Rashard Higgins (sprained MCL) and Derrick Willies (broken collarbone) out. They signed Breshad Perriman on Saturday, but it will be tough for him to make a big impact a day later.

    Mayfield is going to have to work some of his magic and get some help from the young receivers to be successful. Jarvis Landry will need to come up big. The Browns should also use Duke Johnson more in the passing game and rely heavily on their running game. Special teams must be an asset and not a liability. A big return and some better field position would help immensely.

    I went back and forth on this one, but as Mayfield said, FirstEnergy Stadium must become a place where opponents fear to tread. I made my prediction based primarily on the fact the Browns are at home.

    My pick: Browns 24, Chargers 20.

    My record: 2-2-1.

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    Haskins threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns in Ohio State's win. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A complete transcript of everything Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins said after the Buckeyes' 30-14 win over Minnesota on Saturday.

    Q. This looked like a very tough defense to crack for you guys from a consistency basis. What was going on out there from your viewpoint? Number two, K.J. Hill, his right hand looks pretty sticky. What was your view of that play also?

    I'm pretty sure they're a top five defense in the country. What they did, they do it well. They're very consistent. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times with some penalties, some very long situations, first long situation. Put ourselves behind the ball a couple times. But K.J. did a great job, made a couple catches today that were really crazy. Proud of the offense, though.

    Q. Dwayne, that crazy catch, the one-handed by K.J., how did it look from your angle? How special was it? How special was that? How much does it help a quarterback to have someone helping you out like that?

    At first, I was kind of mad because that play we've been working on all week in practice, and it happens a lot faster. So I wanted him to get his head around, so when he looked, the ball was already there, and it was a little behind him. But he made a crazy play. Of course, K.J. is a little character. He was pretty hyped up. He had a career day today.

    Q. Offensive line struggled at times today. Could you assess the overall offense.

    The offense, not everything's going to be pretty. There's going to be adversity no matter who we play, especially a team like Minnesota. They're a great defense. We just had to fight through adversity, made the plays when they mattered, and that's a good learning tool for next week.

    Q. Dwayne, sometimes it looks like the offense is sputtering, and then you look down at the box score and you're throwing for 400 yards. What does it feel like when you're in a game like that? Do you feel like things aren't going well and then you look down and you're surprised by your stats? Or did you feel like things were going the way you wanted?

    Of course we wanted to finish a couple of drives, score some touchdowns, and have some penalties, but I wouldn't say frustration. Just like we have higher expectations for ourselves than what we do sometimes on the field. Today was just figuring out what worked and then going out and executing.

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    The Buckeyes moved to 7-0 on Saturday with a win over Minnesota. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A complete transcript of Urban Meyer's postgame press conference following Ohio State's 30-14 win over Minnesota on Saturday.

    Urban Meyer: A couple comments. As always, thank the Buckeye nation. I know it's fall break, and our students were there and thank them. Much appreciation for their support. A lot of credit to Minnesota, came in and they swung very hard.

    The saying right now that I'm using is enhance our strengths and let's fix our weaknesses. We're going to have to get some things fixed. What we're going to do is enjoy our win, 7-0. Not many teams are 7-0. Get some things fixed and get ready for the trip to Purdue.

    Q. Urban, along the lines of those strengths and weaknesses, when you walk out of here today, are you satisfied with this win just because you're 7-0, or you have some worries about what you saw today?

    I learned a long, long time ago -- I guess not that long ago -- enjoy every win, and like I said, come back tomorrow and get to work. Their concerns are certainly ours.

    Q. The defense only gave up 14 points, none in the second half. But a lot of yards, a lot of slants that went against you. Could you assess the play of the defense and the state of it right now?

    Yeah, I was disappointed in the run. That player, their back had 160 yards rushing against us, and that's not acceptable. And like you said, he was only 13 of 23, but I see the same thing, those slants, and we are -- we're a team that challenges every throw, and when you get beat, that's a problem. So that's something that's not a strength right now.

    The strength is that they came out and shut them out in the second half, a lot like the game last week where we held a team to 92 yards in the second half. And the best thing is we created some turnovers, and that was the difference in the game.

    Q. To follow up on that, Coach, in '12 you went over to the defense and made some drastic -- a drastic move. Not suggesting you had to change the middle linebacker. But do you see yourself poking your head in the defensive room or being more -- or do you do that every week?

    I do that every week, not just when it's negative, but positive, because I want to know what's going on. I have great confidence still. We lost really four starters for most -- I think five starters are out right now. You lost Damon Arnette, BB Landers really did not play, and then you have Malik Harrison and Jonathon Cooper. So everybody's dealing with it, but it's a fact, and we have to play better.

    Q. Urban, do you have an update on Thayer Munford yet?

    Yeah, he rolled his ankle a little bit, and he's got a little hip issue, but I think he's going to be okay.

    Q. Over the last few years, it seems like your offensive line has built momentum throughout the course of the season and finished strong. Just where do you think this group is now? I know today was tough, but are you seeing any consistency there, or is there improvement to be made?

    I don't think we played particularly well today. We'll know more when we get a film grade, and I'll let you know on Monday how they played. We gave up three sacks. We have to keep Dwayne upright. Short yardage is not a strength. Red zone is not a strength, and running the ball is not a strength. That's something we've got to get figured out.

    Q. K.J. Hill's day in a nutshell, the one-handed catch down the seam for a touchdown and the one at the end that pretty much put it away. What have you seen from him lately as far as just rising to the occasion?

    Not lately. He's been kind of our guy, as they all are. That group is as good of a group as I've been around. Good people, good unselfish guys that block hard and make plays for the quarterback.

    Q. Urban, you guys obviously have a different type of offense this year than you've had in the past. But 92 yards rushing, you've mentioned a few times that you think the rushing isn't the strength right now. How odd is that for you, just in general, considering how much success you've had your entire career rushing the ball on offense?

    Somebody told me at one time we've rushed for more yards than any school in the country for the last six, seven years. It's discouraging a little bit, but once again, 7-0, and looking down we're throwing for 412. It is what it is. I just know the game of football, I've been around. At some point, you've got to line up and do what you do.

    Q. Can this team get where you want to go --

    I think so.

    Q. Throwing for 400 yards and rushing for 90?

    As of today and last week, no, but there certainly are signs. We've got two good backs, and we've just got it get it worked out.

    Q. Urban, when you're in a passing team, and that's what you've been the last few weeks, is there a danger the offensive linemen are going to pass protect and lose a little of that blocking edge? Have you seen that in your career? Can that happen?

    I've seen and heard about it. Obviously, we haven't really witnessed it, and I've got to make sure that doesn't happen. We have to continue to have that edge that Ohio State's had for years and years and years and we've always had.

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    The days of standing around and watching James dominate the ball are done. The Cavs will now look to play faster, as well as pass the ball more.

    By Ryan Isley, Special to

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - When the Cleveland Cavaliers take the floor to open the regular season Wednesday night in Toronto, it will be the first time they have done so without LeBron James since 2013.

    It also brings a new offensive philosophy.

    The days of standing around and watching James dominate the ball are done. The Cavs will now look to play faster, as well as pass the ball more.

    "We have to play with pace," coach Ty Lue said. "The style of play we want to play, I think everyone is involved that way. I think everyone has fun that way."

    Getting more players involved will be a key because the Cavs are coming off a season in which James led the Cavs in scoring in 63 of 82 games and in all but one postseason game. But the Cavs believe they have plenty of guys who can step up on any given night.

    "We have a lot of guys on the team who can score," guard Rodney Hood said. "It's going to be different guys on different nights who put up numbers. We just have to play the game the right way."

    If the Cavs want to rely on one player to shoulder the bulk of the scoring load, Lue believes power forward Kevin Love is up to the task. Love averaged 26.1 points in his final season as the top offensive option for the Minnesota Timberwolves before being traded prior to the 2014 season.

    "I think Kevin can be that guy," Lue said. "I think Kevin now being the number one option, being able to create his own shot, get to the free throw line and post up, but also his passing to make his teammates better is going to be good for us."

    But when it comes to the other options behind Love, the roles aren't as defined.

    "We have to do it by committee," Lue said. "We are going to need five or six guys in double figures."

    So far, the players have bought in to what Lue and the coaching staff are selling. 

    "T Lue has done a great job," Hood said. "He is just asking us to be ourselves. If we all chip in and just play our game, we will be a really good team."

    Lue wants to push the ball, make passes and be unselfish. If someone doesn't want to do that, they will find a spot on the bench. That includes the starters as well.

    "They are going to have to. If not, guys are going to sit down," Lue said. "Everybody. Do the right thing."

    The players don't think it will be a problem.

    "You have guys who want to play the right way, you have guys who move the ball," Hood said. "If we just play unselfish basketball, I think we will be fine and we will be on the right track."

    Roster moves: The Cavaliers trimmed three players from the roster before the start of the season Saturday, waiving forward Bonzie Colson, guard Kobi Simmons and forward Emanuel Terry.

    Colson, a 6-6 wing, appeared in three preseason games, averaging 3.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes. Simmons averaged 4.0 points in 10.9 minutes over four games. Terry played in the preseason finale.

    Ryan Isley is a freelancer from Akron.

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    Cleveland Browns chase win No. 3 against Los Angeles Chargers, whose only two losses were to undefeated teams

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Today the Cleveland Browns (2-2-1) try for their third win of the season against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers (3-2).

    The Chargers were one of 13 teams that beat the Browns last season, but they were the Browns' only win the season before that. This season, the Chargers' only two losses have been to the L.A. Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs, both of whom are undefeated.

    The Browns will be trying to stay undefeated at home this season and also win two games in a row for the first time since 2014, when Mike Pettine was the coach.  

    Coach Hue Jackson reminded the team to stay focused on this week's opponent and ignore the hoopla over the team's better-than-anticipated start.

    The Browns are one-point favorites to beat the Chargers, who will be without the services of All-Pro DL Joey Bosa.

    Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on

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