Connect with us

Sports

No. 4 TCU finishes undefeated regular season with 62-14 rout

Source image: https://apnews.com/article/college-football-sports-texas-iowa-christian-horned-frogs-b952ed62889921526bc602cd0d020fa6

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Max Duggan and fourth-ranked TCU can now look forward to the Big 12 championship game since that is next. There is even much more to play for after quite a statement to finish an undefeated regular season

“Coming into every game, we have lot of doubters,” said Hodges-Tomlinson, the fourth-year cornerback. “We know what type of team we have. We showcased it constantly and we’re an undefeated team.”

Kendre Miller ran for two touchdowns as the Horned Frogs completed the first undefeated regular season by a Big 12 team since 2009 with a 62-14 victory over Iowa State on Saturday, getting them closer to making the four-team College Football Playoff.

Beat No. 15 Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game next Saturday, and there will be no question about that for TCU.

“It means we’ve got one more to play for a championship,” said Max Duggan, who threw three TDs to different receivers. “It’s the next game and I don’t think we’re supposed to make any bigger deal than we need to. … Same mindset.”

The Frogs (12-0, 9-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP), in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season, are one of only three undefeated teams remaining.

A week after having to score nine points in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds at Baylor, and getting the game-ending field goal when out of timeouts and the clock running, TCU led 17-0 with scores on each of its three drives against the Big 12′s top defense.

“It’s good to finally kind of play a game like that. It’s been a while,” Dykes said.

Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) had given up 16.5 points a game, the most being 31 and with only two teams scoring more than 24.

“Hats off to TCU. I mean, quite honestly, one of the best teams we’ve played in the last five, six years,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Just a complete team.”

The Frogs, who hadn’t won a game by more than 10 points since its Big 12 opener Oct. 1, led 24-0 at the end of the first quarter on Millard Bradford’s 36-yard interception return for their first defensive touchdown this season. Josh Newton added another one with his 57-yard pick and score after halftime.

It was the most-lopsided loss for Iowa State since 55-3 in the regular-season finale at TCU in 2014, the inaugural season for the four-team playoff and when there was no Big 12 title game.

One-loss TCU went into that game No. 3, but dropped to sixth in the final CFP rankings the next day. That was one spot below one-loss Baylor, the only team to beat the Frogs. Ohio State was fourth after a 59-0 win in the Big Ten title game.

Texas was the last Big 12 team with an undefeated regular season, in 2009, when they won the conference championship game but lost in the BCS National Championship Game. Oklahoma was undefeated in Big 12 games in 2016 after starting 1-2 in non-conference games.

MILLER IN THE (END) ZONE

Miller’s 25-yard TD run in the first quarter marked his 13th consecutive game with a rushing touchdown, the nation’s longest active streak. The school record is 15 in a row set in 2000 by LaDainian Tomlinson, the cornerback’s uncle. He added a 1-yard score, his 16th of the season, on fourth down at the end of the first half for a 34-7 lead.

WITHOUT Q

While standout receiver Quentin Johnston was held out because of a lingering ankle injury, Duggan completed 17 of 24 passes for 212 yards — with 10 different players making those catches. Dykes said Johnston went through warmups with no problem and was available, but that TCU wanted to try to keep him as healthy as possible going into next week.

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa State: The Cyclones had allowed 24 points combined in the first quarter of their previous 11 games. … It is their first losing record since 3-9 in Campbell’s debut in 2016 after taking over a team coming off six consecutive losing seasons.

“I feel like this team has fought, scratched and clawed every way,” Campbell said. “Our tank was on about E.”

TCU: The last time the Frogs got this deep into a season undefeated was 2010, then in Mountain West, when they finished 13-0 and with a No. 2 national ranking after winning the Rose Bowl.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

With No. 2 Ohio State’s 45-23 point home loss to No. 3 Michigan, the Horned Frogs should move up a spot in the new AP poll Sunday. That could also be the case in the new CFP rankings Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Iowa State: The Cyclones play their 2023 season opener at home vs. Northern Iowa on Sept. 2

TCU: The Frogs beat Kansas State 38-28 at home on Oct. 22 after overcoming an early 18-point deficit. The Big 12 title game is at AT&T Stadium, about 20 miles from the TCU campus. K-State beat Kansas 47-27 on Saturday night to get in the game.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Source: https://apnews.com/article/college-football-sports-texas-iowa-christian-horned-frogs-b952ed62889921526bc602cd0d020fa6

Continue Reading

Sports

49ers head into offseason with more questions at quarterback

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers head into another offseason with major questions at quarterback after a season filled with injuries to the most important position ended without any of them physically able to throw the the ball downfield.

Trey Lance, who began the season as starter, is getting close to being fully cleared following two operations on his broken right ankle.

Brock Purdy, who went from third-string rookie to the starter that helped lead the Niners into the NFC title game before getting hurt himself, is figuring out how to treat his injured throwing elbow.

Jimmy Garoppolo, the starter in between those two before breaking his foot, is set to become an unrestricted free agent in six weeks.

And rumors are sure to swirl about whether the best answer for coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will be adding a veteran like Tom Brady to help a franchise that has gone to the NFC title game or further in three of the last four seasons get over the hump and win its first Super Bowl in nearly three decades.

The first big question at the position will be about Purdy’s health after he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on the first drive of a 31-7 loss in the NFC title game to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Purdy was forced back into the game in the second half when Josh Johnson left with a concussion but was unable to throw the ball more than a few yards because of the injury.

“The minute I started throwing literally like I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t throw,” he said. “So obviously the adrenaline and stuff I think helps in terms of allowing me to go back in the game and hand the ball off — even that was pretty painful. But just overall it sucked that I wasn’t able to throw.”

An MRI revealed the tear and Purdy said he will undergo more tests and speak to more doctors to figure out whether recovery, repair or full reconstruction is the best option.

The injury is much more common in baseball pitchers, who often undergo reconstructive “Tommy John surgery” that sidelines them up to a year. But Purdy is hoping to avoid that; a simpler repair would keep him out for six months but allow him to return to practice around the start of training camp in July.

“The way a quarterback throws compared to a pitcher, two different things. It’s similar but more violent as a baseball player,” Purdy said. “So they’re saying the recovery process could be a little bit faster as a quarterback. I’ve looked at guys who have gone through this kind of thing. I’m just trying to find what’s right. Everyone’s situation is different and I’m trying to find out which one is right for myself.”

Purdy showed a lot in his first season in the NFL, going from the last pick of the draft to starter in the conference title game. He won all seven of his starts before the loss on Sunday and threw for 1,374 yards with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions in the regular season.

That performance could make him the favorite to begin next season as starter if he’s healthy.

“For me to claim or say anything in terms of what’s going to happen moving forward, that’s out of my control,” he said. “I’m going to do what I can to get back healthy and be ready to compete come fall.”

Lance was supposed to be in that role after San Francisco traded three first-round picks to draft him third overall in 2021. But he started only two games as a rookie when Garoppolo got hurt and then went down with a season-ending injury early in Week 2 this season.

Lance needed a second operation in late December but said he expects to be fully cleared in a few weeks and to be 100% for the start of the offseason program.

But after he started only five games combined in the last three years in college and the NFL, there are questions about whether Lance can be the long-term answer for San Francisco.

“I’m excited to go out and show what I can do,” he said. “Same situation that it’s been for me the last two years and really my whole life. Nothing has really changed and I still have the same mindset. … I just worry about what these guys think in this locker room, what the coaches think, what people in this organization think. Anything outside of that is totally out of my control. So I don’t let that have any effect on me.”

NOTES: All-Pro DE Nick Bosa said he wants to sign a long-term contract to stay in San Francisco but will be patient and leave that up to his agent.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Continue Reading

Sports

Banchero headlines field for All-Star Rising Stars event

Paolo Banchero’s rookie season will include a trip to NBA All-Star weekend.

The Orlando Magic forward and No. 1 pick in last year’s draft was announced Tuesday as a participant in this year’s Rising Stars Game, to be held in Salt Lake City on Feb. 17, two nights before the All-Star Game.

Banchero — who leads all rookies with a 20.7 points-per-game average — may still be selected as an All-Star reserve. Those players will be revealed Thursday.

“Anytime you can get a chance to be a part of All-Star weekend, you can’t say no,” Banchero said. “Especially me, being a rookie, first year, never experienced it before, it’s always been the dream to just be a part of that whether it was Rising Stars or as a reserve. I’m definitely excited to get there and just see what it’s like.”

Banchero is on pace to be the first rookie to average 20 points per game since Luka Doncic in 2018-19. He also is fourth among rookies in rebounds per game entering Tuesday and third among them in steals per game.

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said the All-Star experience — whether just for Rising Stars or not — will have an impact on Banchero.

“Just being around other young players that have found themselves in that position, it does so much because it’s your peers,” Mosley said. “You’re around a group of young men who are the elite of the league in that class. I think it says something to the work that you’ve put in, the work that he’s put in. It’s going to do wonders for how he continues to believe in himself, what we’re doing as a team and his continued growth.”

Also picked for the game from this year’s rookie class: Detroit’s Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey, Atlanta’s A.J. Griffin, Utah’s Walker Kessler, Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard, Sacramento’s Keegan Murray, Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr., San Antonio’s Jeremy Sochan and Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams.

The second-year players selected were New Orleans’ Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III, Toronto’s Scottie Barnes, Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey, Houston’s Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, New York’s Quentin Grimes, Denver’s Bones Hyland, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Orlando’s Franz Wagner.

There also will be a team of G League players in the Rising Stars event, composed of Sidy Cissoko, Mojave King, Scoot Henderson, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Mac McClung, Leonard Miller and Scotty Pippen Jr.

The 21 NBA players will be drafted into three seven-player teams. Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Deron Williams will serve as coaches for those teams, while Jason Terry will coach the G League team.

All four teams will play a semifinal game with a target score of 40, and the two winners will then play the championship game with a target score of 25.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Continue Reading

Sports

Griner’s return, free agency raises charter flight concerns

Brittney Griner’s return to the WNBA this summer after being traded in a dramatic prisoner swap in December with Russia has collided with free agency, creating potential travel complications for the league out of safety concerns for her.

If Griner, who is a free agent but has said she’ll return to Phoenix, needs special travel accommodations — such as chartered flights — the league will have to come up with a plan for the 6-foot-9 star. Griner’s safety when traveling will be a top priority for the team and the league.

“We are very cognizant of BG’s unique situation,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told The Associated Press. “We’ve been planning and we’ve been thinking it through with security experts. BG’s side, our side. We’ll find the right time to comment on it when she signs with a team.”

That could come Wednesday, when free agents can officially sign.

While the Griner situation is unique, other marquee players raised the issue of charter flights, which teams have deemed too costly.

The current collective bargaining agreement requires that all teams fly commercial and doesn’t allow teams to charter flights. Any change in that would have to be approved by both the union and the league.

“No one wants to make this work more than me,” Engelbert said. “That’s why we’re working so hard to transform the economic business model. We’ve had positive changes over the last couple years, but we’re not going to jeopardize the financial viability of the league. We are on the cusp of something big here.”

HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST THE WNBA TO CHARTER FLIGHTS?

Engelbert says it would cost the league about $25 million each season for each of its 12 teams to charter flights to every game. That number has increased about $5 million from previous estimates by the commissioner due the new 40-game WNBA schedule this season, fuel costs and other factors.

The estimated cost per franchise to charter flights would be approximately $2 million. Air travel expenses currently for each team is about $150,000, according to two people familiar with the costs. The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly address the issue.

“We did it last year for the Finals and we have experience on how much it costs for routes we need to fly,” Engelbert said. “We are monitoring and updating our analysis. We are going to try and get an economic model to fund this as soon as we can.”

WHAT HAPPENS IF A TEAM CHARTERS FLIGHTS?

If teams violate the current CBA they could be fined.

The New York Liberty were fined a WNBA record $500,000 in 2021 for chartering flights to away games during the second half of that season.

HAS THE WNBA CONSIDERED SUBSIDIZING FLIGHTS?

Coveted free agent Breanna Stewart, who has narrowed her choices to a few teams including New York, started a social media campaign to try to help get chartered flights for the league. She tweeted, “I would love to be part of a deal that helps subsidize charter travel for the entire WNBA. I would contribute my NIL, posts + production hrs to ensure we all travel in a way that prioritizes player health + safety, which ultimately results in a better product. Who’s with me?”

Many current and former WNBA and NBA players offered their support. Though any change to travel restrictions would have to be voted on by the union and the league.

“We would need a commitment to it in perpetuity,” Engelbert said. “That’s 250-300 million dollars. Look at the gate and media deal and sponsorship dollars. We’re not close to being able to afford $250 million over the next decade.”

DO WOMEN’S COLLEGE TEAMS CHARTER FLIGHTS?

WNBA players are used to flying charter flights. That’s how they traveled in college.

Title IX legislation requires universities to have equal opportunities for their men’s and women’s athletic programs. The NCAA flies both the men’s and women’s teams on charter flights for the tournament if they are more than 400 miles from the site of their game.

That legislation doesn’t apply to the pros so NBA teams chartering between cities has no effect on what WNBA teams do.

Continue Reading

Trending