Sports Sports en-us Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:10:34 GMT Synapse CMS 10 144 25 Royals Beat Giants 7-2, Even Series Sports Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:55:52 PM Associated Press Royals Beat Giants 7-2, Even Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Giants manager Bruce Bochy signaled to his bullpen and got no relief. Over and over.

While the Kansas City Royals showed off their late-inning heat, San Francisco's relievers melted down.

Given a sixth-inning tie to preserve, Jean Machi allowed Billy Butler's go-ahead single. Rookie Hunter Strickland then allowed Salvador Perez's two-run double and Omar Infante's two-run homer in the Giants' 7-2 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday night, which tied the World Series at one game apiece.

The lasting image of the evening for the Giants was of Strickland shouting and getting into a confrontation with Perez, then getting removed from the game.

San Francisco's bullpen had the fifth-best ERA in the majors during the regular season at 3.01, while Kansas City was 10th at 3.30. And while Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo are among the seven players who have played in all three of the Giants' postseason runs since 2010, there have been signs of unsteadiness.

Jake Peavy had retired 10 in a row before Lorenzo Cain's soft single to center leading off the sixth. Peavy walked Eric Hosmer before Machi came in, fell behind Butler 2-0 and allowed a go-ahead single to left.

Lopez retired Alex Gordon on a flyout, and Bochy brought in Strickland, who gave up Bryce Harper's third-deck home run in the NL Division Series opener at Washington and a splash shot to Harper that landed between kayaks in McCovey Cove during Game 4. Harper shouted at Strickland that afternoon. This time, the pitcher did the yelling.

He threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third, then one pitch later threw a 97 mph fastball that Perez sent to the wall in left-center on three hops.

Two pitches later, Infante deposited a 98 mph fastball into the left-field bullpen. It was the fifth home run Strickland has served up this postseason.

Strickland appeared to be shouting at himself as Perez neared the plate. Words were exchanged, and the benches emptied. No punches were thrown.

By that time, the game had gotten away from San Francisco, along with the chance to become the first World Series team since the 1999 New York Yankees to open with a pair of road wins.

Tim Lincecum - remember him? - even got in the game in the seventh and left with an injury in the eighth. The two-time Cy Young Award winner was demoted to the bullpen in August because of ineffectiveness and hadn't pitched since the regular-season finale on Sept. 28.

Unlike two years ago against Detroit, the Giants won't sweep.

Now the Series is even as San Francisco returns home for the weekend.

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Hawks Beat Spurs 117-107 in Pre-Season Game Sports Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:38:24 PM Associated Press Hawks Beat Spurs 117-107 in Pre-Season Game

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Jeff Teague scored 21 points and the Atlanta Hawks closed their preseason schedule with a resounding 117-107 victory over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Mike Scott added 19 points while Kyle Korver had 18 for Atlanta (4-3), which shot 52 percent from the field.

Tony Parker had 17 points and seven assists, Cory Josepha added 14 points and Boris Diaw had 12 points for San Antonio (2-4). Tim Duncan played just 13 minutes and the Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard (eye infection) and Tiago Splitter (calf).

There were a combined 50 fouls and 33 turnovers in a sloppy game.

The Hawks scored 42 points in the third, the most the Spurs have allowed in a quarter during the preseason.

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Revamped Offense Paying Off For No. 10 TCU Sports Wed, 22 Oct 2014 4:45:34 PM Associated Press Revamped Offense Paying Off For No. 10 TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - TCU coach Gary Patterson isn't afraid to say that the renovated offense he ordered after last season didn't look great in spring practice.

Yet, he's not sure where to start on how the 10th-ranked Horned Frogs turned into the nation's most improved offense in points scored and yards.

"People play better, your quarterback plays better," Patterson said this week. "Honestly, I think the guys have done a great job of calling it game-plan-wise. And there's a belief. I've always told them, as a defensive person, you're not just a coordinator, you're also a marketing major. You've got to make people believe what you do is the best that's out there."

Quarterback Trevone Boykin and his crew are playing like they're sold on what offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie brought in after Patterson decided it was time to try to keep up with the fast-paced Big 12 teams.

Coming off the gut punch of a loss to Baylor - blowing a 21-point lead in the last 11 minutes and losing on a last-play field goal - the Frogs made school history last week with having the first 400-yard passer, 200-yard receiver and 100-yard rusher in the same game, a 42-9 rout of then-No. 15 Oklahoma State.

Boykin threw for 410 yards, while Josh Doctson had touchdowns of 77 and 84 yards among his 225 yards receiving and B.J. Catalon finished with 102 on the ground and a pair of scores.

In other words, TCU (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) now looks a lot like Saturday's opponent, Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3), did when Cumbie was quarterback in 2004 and the Red Raiders beat the Frogs 70-35. That's the most points Patterson allowed in his 14 years as coach.

"It's exciting to see the guys scoring and having fun because last year I feel like we weren't having this much fun on the offensive side," said safety Sam Carter, who was a high school quarterback in the Houston area.

For years, the Frogs measured their national prowess in the defensive standings - only Alabama has more No. 1 finishes since 1937 with six, and all five of TCU's have been since 2000 under Patterson. But now it's the offense's turn.

Boykin leads the Big 12 and is fourth nationally in total offense at 370 yards per game. He's the first quarterback under Patterson to throw for at least 250 yards in six consecutive games, and he ranks No. 5 nationally in scoring and seventh in total yards.

"We were pretty excited about this offense just going through spring and everything," center Joey Hunt said. "... When we were doing good against our defense, we knew we were doing pretty good because our defense is always so good."

That defense is living with the fact that it gave up 782 total yards to Baylor - including 510 passing to Bryce Petty. And the proud unit always has to be ready to hop back on the field. TCU scored three touchdowns in a span of four offensive plays against the Cowboys.

"I tell anyone," Carter said, "as long as they're scoring, I don't care about going back out there."

It's easy to forget that Boykin wasn't established as the starter when preseason workouts started in August, as Matt Joeckel came aboard looking for a place to play one more season after graduating from Texas A&M.

But Joeckel has played sparingly, mostly getting mop-up duty in blowouts, while Boykin is learning how to be more of a passer in the new spread offense. He bounced between receiver and quarterback when Casey Pachall was the starter, and was thrown into the leading role as a freshman two years ago when Pachall was arrested on a drunken-driving charge.

"I'm excited for him," Patterson said of Boykin. "For as much criticism as he's taken over his younger years here - only a junior, seems like he's been here forever. The way coach Cumbie and coach Meacham have handled him, the way it's turned out, has been awesome."

And a lot better than it looked in the spring.


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Giants Roll Past Roylas in Game One 7-1 Sports Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:51:58 PM Associated Press Giants Roll Past Roylas in Game One 7-1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Madison Bumganer took a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning, Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer off James Shields in a three-run first and the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in Tuesday night's World Series opener.

In a matchup of streaking teams, the Giants won their seventh Series game in a row dating to 2010 and ended a perfect postseason for the Royals, who had been 8-0. San Francisco also ended the Royals' 11-game postseason winning streak dating to their 1985 title, one shy of the record set by the Yankees on two occasions.

Bumgarner extended his Series scoreless streak to 21 innings before Salvador Perez's seventh-inning homer, which also ended Bumgarner's record streak of 32 2-3 scoreless postseason road innings.

Shields allowed five runs and seven hits and needed 70 pitches to get nine outs.

The Game 1 winner has captured 15 of the last 17 titles.

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Mavericks Appear to be Title Contenders Sports Tue, 21 Oct 2014 8:47:56 PM Associated Press Mavericks Appear to be Title Contenders

DALLAS (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki welcomed Tyson Chandler to Dallas with little fanfare four years ago, and certainly not amid talk of potential championships.

Now that they're reunited after leading the Mavericks to their only title in 2011, it's a hard for the team not to be a little giddy, even in the face of the Texas dynasty that is the San Antonio Spurs and a potent Western Conference.

"I don't think anyone knew what to expect the first time around," Chandler said. "But clearly this time around and having the success and winning the championship here, the expectations are a little different on the return."

There a couple of other reasons for the bubbly atmosphere.

The first is that Dallas, seeded eighth last season, gave the Spurs their toughest playoff series before Tim Duncan and company marched to their fifth title since 1999, dethroning LeBron James and the Miami Heat. The second is several major roster changes besides Chandler, most notably adding Chandler Parsons on a $46 million, three-year offer sheet that the Houston Rockets wouldn't match.

"I feel like we got better again," Nowitzki said. "I think every summer, that should be the franchise's goal. I feel like we got better and took a great step forward, but we all know how tough the West is. It's going to be tough to break into the top four."

Here are some things to consider as the Mavericks try to win a playoff series for the first time since 2011, after which they were immediately dismantled in the name of salary cap flexibility. Dallas opens the season at the Spurs on Oct. 28.

MORE ROSTER CHURN: Coach Rick Carlisle is going into his sixth straight season with at least two new starters - Parsons and Chandler included this time - and four new players in the rotation.

Jameer Nelson is third starting point guard in the three seasons since Jason Kidd left. He signed as a free agent after he was released by Orlando, where he spent his first 10 seasons.

Another significant newcomer is backup forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who'll bring a defensive presence to try to offset the loss of Shawn Marion to the Cavaliers. The Mavericks also have to find a way to replace the 3-point threat that Vince Carter took with him to Memphis.

"It's such a new roster that I think we've got to go into it with an open mind and then see what's what," Carlisle said.

BACK IN THE BIG D: Chandler was offered a one-year deal by the Mavericks coming off the 2011 championship, because owner Mark Cuban thought a long-term contract would be crippling under the new labor deal. Now, he's back for the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Knicks after an offseason trade.

So, the obvious question is: Will the center beloved by Mavericks fans be a one-year wonder again?

"If you would have asked me that question the last time I would have said yes, and I would have said I would have finished my career here," Chandler said. "It still could happen."

DOUBLE CHANDLER: It will be confusing all season: Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons. Carlisle tried to set some ground rules early in training camp, settling on "Tyson" for references to the center and "Parsons" on references to Nowitzki's new sidekick at forward. If they want to think in basketball terms, it will be "rebounder-defender" for Chandler and "all-around guy" for Parsons.

"He's a very good all-around player and he's another guy that brings some personality, some real personality to the team," Carlisle said of Parsons. "If you don't believe me, just ask him."

WEIGHTGATE: During training camp, Carlisle called out Parsons for being overweight, prompting Parsons to tweet a shirtless picture of himself frowning. Carlisle thought better of it a day later and apologized to Parsons and reporters.

Parsons never had much of a problem with it, joking as he passed his coach talking to reporters that he was going to go do crunches.

AND DON'T FORGET: For all the talk about the return of Chandler and the arrival of Parsons, Monta Ellis is back at the off-guard spot and Devin Harris decided to re-sign after playing on a one-year deal last season. Harris will again play a significant role at the point, this time behind Nelson instead of Jose Calderon.

"We have so many versatile guys off the bench to give you different looks," Parsons said.


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Cowboys #2 in NFL Power Rankings Sports Tue, 21 Oct 2014 6:18:09 PM Associated Press Cowboys #2 in NFL Power Rankings

1. Denver Broncos (11)5103831
2. Dallas Cowboys (1)6103633
3. Philadelphia Eagles5103504
4. Indianapolis Colts5203457
5. Arizona Cardinals5103318
6. Green Bay Packers5203299
7. San Diego Chargers5203092
8. New England Patriots52030410
9. Baltimore Ravens52029312
10. Detroit Lions52027413
11. San Francisco 49ers4302676
12. Seattle Seahawks3302625
13. Kansas City Chiefs33023317
14. Cincinnati Bengals32122511
15. Miami Dolphins33020223
16. Buffalo Bills43020119
17. Pittsburgh Steelers43019822
18. Carolina Panthers33119314
19. Chicago Bears34015116
20. Cleveland Browns33014815
21. New Orleans Saints24014220
22. Houston Texans34014118
23. New York Giants34013621
24. St. Louis Rams24011727
25. Atlanta Falcons2507724
25. Minnesota Vikings2507726
27. Washington Redskins2507228
28. Tennessee Titans2506625
29. New York Jets1606429
30. Jacksonville Jaguars1604032
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers1503030
32. Oakland Raiders0601331

John Czarnecki, Fox Sports

Tony Dungy, NBC Sports

Herm Edwards, ESPN

Bob Glauber, Newsday

Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News

Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune

Pat Kirwan, SiriusXM NFL Radio/

Jeff Legwold, ESPN/

Jenny Vrentas , Monday Morning Quarterback

Alex Marvez,

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Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star Telegram


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Rockets Motivated by Early Playoff Exit Sports Tue, 21 Oct 2014 4:21:11 PM Associated Press Rockets Motivated by Early Playoff Exit

HOUSTON (AP) - The shot still stings more than five months later.

The Houston Rockets talk about how they've moved on from Damian Lillard's buzzer beater that knocked them out of the playoffs in the first round in May. But the shot remains with the Rockets and is one of many motivations for a team determined to do more this season.

"Our focus is getting there, and losing in the first round was disappointing for all of us and still hurts," general manager Daryl Morey said of the postseason. "We don't want to go through that again."

Houston has made two straight trips to the postseason after a three-year layoff, but the team hasn't advanced to the second round since 2009.

They added Dwight Howard before last season and thought he'd be the piece to get them to the next level. He had a great first season in Houston, averaging 18.3 points and 12.2 rebounds a game, but the Rockets were sent home after the first round again when Portland beat them in six games.

"We learned a lot the whole year," Howard said of his first season with the Rockets. "Especially understanding that each moment of the game counts."

The Rockets missed out on signing a big-name free agent when they wooed Carmelo Anthony before he decided to remain with the New York Knicks. Still, Morey thinks the Rockets can do better this season if they focus on improving in all areas.

"Overall we were an average team, we want to be a top-10 team," Morey said. "If we can be a top-10 team on both sides of the ball that's the entry card to compete for a championship."

A few things to know about the Rockets before they open the season Oct. 28 in Los Angeles against the Lakers:

HARDEN'S DEFENSE: James Harden's defense was the subject of a lot of criticism in the offseason and Houston's star admits it was warranted. "Obviously at times my defense is pretty bad ... I know I have to be better," he said.

Harden led the team and was fifth in the NBA with 25.4 points a game last season in his third year with the Rockets. Coach Kevin McHale said Harden is a hard worker and that he expects him to rise to the challenge this year.

"There's a lot of offensive pressure on him to deliver every single night, but you've still got to go out there and play on the other side," McHale said.

ADDING ARIZA: The Rockets beefed up their defense by adding Trevor Ariza in an offseason trade with Washington.

"The season is probably going to come down to our defense," Morey said. "We need that to be championship caliber."

It is Ariza's second stint with the team after he played for the Rockets in the 2009-10 season. He doesn't think it will be that difficult to improve the defense.

"Just staying solid the whole game," he said. "They had the capabilities of being a good defensive team, maybe they just weren't too focused on it."

POST PARSONS: Houston's biggest loss this offseason was free agent forward Chandler Parsons, who left town to join the in-state rival Mavericks in Dallas. Parsons was a key starter for the Rockets in his first three years in the league and averaged 16.6 points and 5.5 rebounds a game last season, which were both career highs.

TIME LEFT FOR TERRY?: The Rockets picked up guard Jason Terry in an offseason trade and hope he'll add a veteran presence that was lacking on this young team last season. He began last season with the Nets and averaged 4.5 points in 35 games before being traded to the Kings. He didn't appear in a single game in Sacramento because of a left knee injury.

He's recovered now and feels good, but knows people will wonder what he has left.

"Obviously there's a lot of questions," he said. "I'm 37 years old but I feel young."

JONESING FOR MORE: After playing only sparingly as a rookie, Terrence Jones had a breakout season last year by starting 71 games and averaging more than 12 points and almost seven rebounds a game. With Parsons gone, the Rockets will look to him to become a bigger contributor this year.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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Cowboys Release Sam From Practice Squad Sports Tue, 21 Oct 2014 3:20:31 PM Associated Press Cowboys Release Sam From Practice Squad

IRVING, Texas (AP) - The Dallas Cowboys have released Michael Sam from the practice squad, another setback as the NFL's first openly gay player tries to make an active roster during the regular season for the first time.

Sam was signed to Dallas' practice squad on Sept. 3, four days after he was among the final cuts by the St. Louis Rams at the end of the preseason.

The Rams drafted Sam late in the seventh round of the NFL draft in May. The former SEC defensive player of the year at Missouri was pick No. 249 out of 256.

While releasing Sam on Tuesday, the Cowboys added linebacker Troy Davis of Central Florida and defensive tackle Ken Bishop of Northern Illinois to their practice squad.



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Steelers Rally Past Stunned Texans 30-23 Sports Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:55:27 PM Associated Press Steelers Rally Past  Stunned Texans 30-23

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Ben Roethlisberger passed for two touchdowns and wide receiver Antonio Brown added another on a gadget play during a dizzying stretch late in the first half, helping the Pittsburgh Steelers rally for a 30-23 win over the mistake-prone Houston Texans on Monday night.

Pittsburgh (4-3) needed just over a minute to turn a 10-point deficit into an 11-point lead as the Texans self-destructed while losing their third straight.

Roethlisberger finished with 265 yards passing. Le'Veon Bell racked up 145 yards of total offense and rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant caught a momentum-swinging touchdown pass in his first NFL start.

Arian Foster ran for 102 yards for Houston (3-4), but just 29 over the final three quarters. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 21 of 32 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception but the Texans were undone by three turnovers.

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Garrett Shuns Contract Talk With Hot Start Sports Mon, 20 Oct 2014 5:26:55 PM Associated Press Garrett Shuns Contract Talk With Hot Start

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Add Jason Garrett to the list of questions about new contracts facing Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Dallas is already watching the price go up for receiver Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, the first running back in NFL history to start a season with seven straight 100-yard games.

And now Garrett has his first six-game winning streak after the season started with him on the hottest seat in the league coming off 8-8 records in all three of his full seasons, extending the Cowboys' playoff drought to four years.

Jones said plainly during the preseason that he had no intention of extending Garrett's contract before the end of the year. The answer wasn't quite as clear after a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.

The Cowboys (6-1) are off to their best start since winning six of the first seven in 2007, when they went 13-3 and were the top seed in the NFC under Wade Phillips. They play their second straight NFC East opponent when Washington visits next Monday night.

"We've got so many contracts that we're supposed to be needing to be talking about now that things are going good," Jones said after the Cowboys moved a half-game ahead of idle Philadelphia atop the NFC East. "I'm not even going to begin to start anywhere."

Neither is Garrett.

"I just know where I need to focus, where our team needs to focus and it needs to focus on playing our best football," he said when reporters brought up the subject Monday. "That's really what I think about."

Garrett wouldn't address whether his agent and Jones will talk during the season about extending his four-year deal, or if he wants that to happen.

"That was the last answer I'm going to have about my contract," he said. "Seriously, I'm thinking about getting ready for the Redskins."

Jones heaped considerable praise on Garrett a week after the Cowboys dominated statistically in a 30-23 win at Super Bowl champion Seattle.

"I've always thought he had the potential to be a serious consistent winning coach in the NFL and still think that," Jones said. "I'm just proud that he has structured his staff the way that he has, the way he's coaching them the way he has. I'm glad he's coaching the coaches the way he is."

Jones hired Garrett, a backup quarterback on Dallas' Super Bowl teams in the 1990s, as offensive coordinator in 2007 before he brought Phillips in as head coach. Garrett kept the play-calling duties when he replaced the fired Phillips after a 1-7 start in 2010.

At Jones' urging, Garrett tried to step away from calling the plays last year, but re-inserted himself when the offense sputtered with Bill Callahan in that role.

Then came the offseason hiring of Scott Linehan, who worked with Garrett in Miami and hit it off with quarterback Tony Romo from the beginning. The passing game coordinator, with a history of running quarterback-first offenses, has Murray on pace for just the sixth 400-carry season in league history.

What does that mean for Garrett? More time in defensive meeting rooms, where Jones says he tells coaches how he would attack their scheme. And more time for game management, which he struggled with early in his career.

"He's very driven. Extremely driven," Jones said. "He's deceivingly competitive, but when you have an opportunity to be a part of a team or in that role, that stuff really comes out in Jason Garrett. He's really good in front of a team. They see he's very genuine."

Jones has long praised Garrett for how he handled the death of practice squad player Jerry Brown in an intoxication manslaughter case that landed defensive tackle Josh Brent in jail. The Cowboys won three straight games in the midst of that crisis to stay in playoff contention.

But that season ended the same way as the one before it and the one after: with a loss to an NFC East foe with a playoff berth on the line. Dallas started 2014 at risk of matching the franchise record of five straight years without a trip to the postseason.

"Jason has certainly shown even in .500 situations that he's got a lot to bring to a football team and a lot to bring to the NFL," Jones said. "He's had those pretty unfortunate things that didn't go his way as far his record is concerned as a coach. I'm glad to see it going his way for him now."



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Refugio #1, Flour Bluff #5 in AP HS Football Poll Sports Mon, 20 Oct 2014 4:16:48 PM Associated Press Refugio #1, Flour Bluff #5 in AP HS Football Poll

Here is The Associated Press high school poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, points based on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and the team's ranking in last week's poll:
Class 6A
1. Allen (17)(7-0)2411
2. DeSoto (8)(7-0)2302
3. Southlake Carroll(7-0)1793
4. Pearland(8-0)1356
5. Manvel(7-0)1245
6. Dallas Skyline(7-0)1127
7. Euless Trinity(7-1)814
8. Cibolo Steele(7-1)758
9. SA Northside Brennan(7-0)609
10. Denton Guyer(6-1)4610

Others receiving votes: 11, Katy 35. 12, Cedar Hill 22. 13, Hewitt Midway 12. 14, SA Northside Brandeis 7. 15, Mansfield 5. 16, The Woodlands 4. 17, Amarillo 3. 18, Lake Travis 2. 19, Denton Ryan 1. 19, Rockwall 1.
Class 5A
1. Aledo (21)(6-1)2421
2. Temple(6-1)1953
3. Fort Bend Ridge Point (2)(7-0)1836
4. Mansfield Timberview (1)(6-1)1785
5. CC Flour Bluff(7-0)1257
6. Richmond George Ranch (1)(6-1)1159
7. Ennis(5-2)7910
(tie) Fort Bend Elkins(6-1)792
9. Cedar Park Vista Ridge(7-0)36NR
10. Houston King(7-0)27NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Tyler 24. 12, Mesquite Poteet 11. 13, Canutillo 10. 14, Longview 9. 14, Lufkin 9. 16, EP Del Valle 7. 16, FW South Hills 7. 18, Crosby 6. 18, Richmond Foster 6. 20, Boerne Champion 5. 20, Lancaster 5. 22, Cedar Park 4. 22, Georgetown East View 4. 24, Georgetown 3. 24, Hutto 3. 26, Mercedes 2. 27, Lake Dallas 1.
Class 4A
1. Navasota (20)(7-0)2431
2. Argyle (2)(7-0)2172
3. Gilmer (2)(7-0)2083
4. Kennedale (1)(7-0)1584
5. La Grange(8-0)1345
6. Stephenville(6-1)1246
7. La Marque(7-1)857
8. Van(7-0)698
9. Gladewater(6-1)6410
10. La Vernia(6-1)27NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Sour Lake Hardin-Jefferson 11. 12, Graham 6. 12, West Orange-Stark 6. 12, Sweetwater 6. 15, Atlanta 5. 15, Andrews 5. 17, Celina 4. 18, Coldspring-Oakhurst 1. 18, Big Spring 1. 18, Huffman Hargrave 1.
Class 3A
1. Cisco (22)(7-0)2411
2. Franklin (2)(6-0)2232
3. Rockdale (1)(7-0)1863
4. Corrigan-Camden(7-0)1574
5. Wall(6-1)1505
6. Teague(7-0)1277
7. Malakoff(7-0)1068
8. Waskom(6-1)709
9. Blanco(7-0)4810
10. Buna(7-0)17NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Goliad 12. 12, Kirbyville 10. 13, Eastland 9. 14, East Bernard 6. 15, East Chambers 4. 16, Coleman 3. 17, Spearman 2. 17, Newton 2. 19, Pilot Point 1. 19, Shallowater 1.
Class 2A
1. Refugio (15)(7-0)2321
2. Mart (8)(7-0)2312
3. Canadian(7-0)1783
4. Bremond(8-0)1634
5. Mason (1)(8-0)1435
6. Albany(7-0)1196
7. Crawford(7-0)887
8. Alto (1)(6-0)868
9. Shiner(6-1)549
10. Iraan(8-0)3510

Others receiving votes: 11, Seagraves 17. 12, Abernathy 12. 13, Shelbyville 5. 14, Booker 4. 15, Stratford 3. 16, Hamlin 2. 16, Menard 2. 18, Tenaha 1.

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Cowboys Win 6th Straight Sports Sun, 19 Oct 2014 7:46:03 PM Associated Press Cowboys Win 6th Straight

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - DeMarco Murray moved ahead of Jim Brown in the NFL record book. Tony Romo moved the Dallas Cowboys up and down the field for their sixth straight win.

Murray broke Brown's 56-year-old mark with his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game to start a season, Romo threw three touchdown passes and the Cowboys beat the New York Giants 31-21 Sunday.

Romo had a fourth scoring pass overturned on replay. Instead, Murray wound up with his seventh rushing touchdown of the season on a 1-yard plunge.

He finished with 128 yards on the ground to pass Brown, who hit the century mark in the first six games of the 1958 season for Cleveland.

The Cowboys (6-1) are off to their best start since winning six of their first seven on the way to a 13-3 finish in 2007, when they were the top seed in the NFC before losing to New York in their first playoff game.

Eli Manning had three touchdown passes for the Giants (3-4), who have lost road games to the NFC East's top two teams in consecutive weeks. New York now has two-game skids on either side of a three-game winning streak.

Dallas tight end Gavin Escobar had his first two-touchdown game, and Dez Bryant finished with a season-high 151 yards receiving. Romo was 17 of 23 for 279 yards with an interception.

Bryant had a touchdown taken away when he stretched his left arm over the goal line as he was being tackled by Prince Amukamara. The call was overturned on review, and Murray scored on the next play for a 28-14 fourth-quarter lead.

Murray didn't return in the first half after falling down in the open field on his longest run before halftime, a 21-yard sprint around right end. He spent a few minutes with trainers on the sideline but didn't leave the field.

The fourth-year back from Oklahoma returned in the second half and broke Brown's record on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter after a 15-yard carry put him on the verge of setting the mark.

After the Giants pulled within seven on Odell Beckham Jr.'s second touchdown catch, Murray had seven carries on a time-killing drive to Dan Bailey's 49-yard field goal for a two-score lead with 1:05 to go.

New York tight end Larry Donnell had team highs of seven catches for 90 yards but fumbled twice. The first one set up a Cowboys touchdown for a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and the second clinched the Dallas victory in the final minute.

Beckham was starting in Victor Cruz's place in the Giants' first game since their star receiver was taken off the field in tears when he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in last week's 27-0 loss at Philadelphia.

The first score for Beckham was a 9-yard catch for a 7-all tie in the second quarter. The Giants went ahead less than 4 minutes later on Manning's 27-yard pass to Daniel Fells on the first play after Bryant fell on a deep route, giving Amukamara an easy interception that he returned 38 yards.

Manning was 21 of 33 for 248 yards.



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(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Finals: Friday Night Fever Scoreboard Week 8 Sports Fri, 17 Oct 2014 5:45:03 PM Finals: Friday Night Fever Scoreboard Week 8

Keep up to date with high school football every week with the Friday Night Fever. LIVE updates on your Facebook, Twitter, and of course


District 16-3A I

Aransas Pass Aransas Pass Panthers (4-3)30
Bishop Bishop Badgers (0-7)13

District 28-6A
Ray Ray Texans (6-1)42
Carroll Carroll Tigers (6-1)62
 Listen LIVE: 1150 AM (KCCT) & TSRN

King King Mustangs (6-1)29
South San SA South San Bobcats (2-5)6

District 30-5A
Alice Alice Coyotes (5-2)13
Victoria West Victoria West Warriors (6-2)34
 Listen LIVE: 92.1 FM (


Calallen Calallen Wildcats (5-3)24
Gregory Portland Gregory-Portland Wildcats (3-4)27
 Listen LIVE: 1440 AM (KEYS)


Tuloso Midway Tuloso-Midway Warriors (2-5)21
Miller Miller Buccaneers (0-8)0

Victoria East Victoria East Titans (5-3)10
Flour Bluff Flour Bluff Hornets (7-0)37
 Listen LIVE: 104.1 FM & 1590 AM


District 16-4A II
Progreso Progreso Red Ants (1-6)0
Orange Grove Orange Grove Bulldogs (6-1)61

West Oso West Oso Bears (1-6)6
Raymondville Raymondville Bearkats (4-3)42

District 15-4A II
Jourdanton Jourdanton Indians (5-3)8
Ingleside Ingleside Mustangs (5-2)45

Final OT
Yoakum Yoakum Bulldogs (5-3)46
Sinton Sinton Pirates (5-3)40

District 16-4A I
Zapata Zapata Hawks (6-2)20
Kingsville Kingsville Brahmas (3-4)21

District 15-4A I
La Vernia La Vernia Bears (6-1)51
Beeville Beeville Trojans (3-4)7

Rockport Fulton Rockport-Fulton Pirates (4-3)14
Gonzales Gonzales Apaches (2-5)42

Pleasanton Pleasanton Eagles (5-2)42
Robstown Robstown Cotton Pickers (3-4)24

District 16-3A II
Cotulla Cotulla Cowboys (3-5)38
Hebbronville Hebbronville Longhorns (5-2)56

Dilley Dilley Wolves (2-6)39
Freer Freer Buckaroos (0-8)12

District 16-3A I
Santa Rosa Santa Rosa Warriors (5-3)27
Falfurrias Falfurrias Jerseys (2-5)7

Lyford Lyford Bulldogs (2-5)15
San Diego San Diego Vaqueros (5-2)43

District 15-3A II
Banquete Banquete Bulldogs (1-6)26
Taft Taft Greyhounds (6-1)30

Canceled Due to ForfeitCanceled Due to Forfeit
SGA Santa Gertrudis Academy Lions (6-1)
Bloomington Bloomington Bobcats (2-5)Forfeit

Odem Odem Owls (6-1)52
Skidmore-Tynan Skidmore-Tynan Bobcats (4-3)7

District 15-3A I
Goliad Goliad Tigers (7-1)47
Mathis Mathis Pirates (5-2)36

District 16-2A II
Agua Dulce Agua Dulce Longhorns (6-2)28
Pettus Pettus War Eagles (0-7)26

Benavides Benavides Eagles (1-7)6
Woodsboro Woodsboro Eagles (3-5)55

District 16-2A I
Three Rivers Three Rivers Bulldogs (7-0)21
Ben Bolt Ben Bolt Badgers (5-2)19

La Villa La Villa Cardinals (2-5)39
London London Pirates (6-1)34

Santa Maria Santa Maria Cougars (3-4)0
Riviera Riviera Seahawks (5-2)54

District 15-2A I
Refugio Refugio Bobcats (7-0)56
Schulenburg Schulenburg Shorthorns (1-6)3

Regents Regents Knights (6-1)52
John Paul II John Paul II Centurions (0-8)0



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Islanders Volleyball Blanks Incarnate Word, 3-0 Sports Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:01:16 PM Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders Volleyball Blanks Incarnate Word, 3-0

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi volleyball team swept Incarnate Word 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-10) tonight in the McDermott Convocation Center. The Islanders exploded in the third set to hit .348 and clinch their fourth win in Southland Conference play.

Senior Brianna Brink propelled the Islanders' (11-12, 4-2 SLC) offense with 10 kills on .280 hitting while Ashley Phelps added eight kills. A&M - Corpus Christi who hit .242 in the match held the Cardinals (6-15, 2-6 SLC) to .047 hitting. Hailey King led the defense with 12 digs and Kate Klepetka added eight digs. Junior Chelby Stanford and freshman Kristyn Nicholson split setting duties tonight and they both finished in double figures with 17 and 14 assists, respectively.

The first set featured a back-and-forth battle that featured six ties and four lead changes. The Islanders and Cardinals tied early on before the Islanders scored three straight to push ahead 14-11. After a UIW timeout sparked two straight points for the Cardinals, Haley Satterwhite Day kept the Islanders in front with a solo block. Brink then followed with an ace before an attacking error by the Cardinals gave the Islanders a 17-13 lead. The Islanders maintained the lead and closed out the first set, 25-20, on a 3-0 run that included a kill by Brink, an ace by King and a block assist by Satterwhite and Brittany Gilpin.

The Islanders and Cardinals went neck-and-neck in the second set with 12 ties. A&M - Corpus Christi led early on with a 8-5 lead after a kill by Phelps and an ace by Ivy Baresh, but the Cardinals rallied back to knot the set at 9-9. After battling back-and-forth the Islanders garnered the lead at 17-14 on a 3-0 run. However, UIW answered back to even things up at 20-20. After trading points, the Islanders gained momentum and put together a 4-1 run to clinch the second set, 25-22. During the run, Gilpin put down a pair of kills while Satterwhite added one. A&M - Corpus Christi hit .333 in the set and held the Cardinals to .212 hitting.

The Islanders came out on fire in the third set to open with an 8-1 lead. A&M - Corpus Christi padded its lead to 10-3 after an attacking error by the Cardinals. The Islanders kept cruising as they built a 10-point lead after a kill by Brink, and then closed out the set on an 8-1 run to win 25-10. The Islanders hit an impressive .348 in the set and limited UIW to -.129 hitting.

The Islanders will continue Southland Conference play at Abilene Christian on Saturday, Oct. 18. First serve is set for 2 p.m.

For all the latest on Islanders Volleyball, like the team on Facebook (IslandersVolleyball) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersVB).



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Lawsuit Against Jerry Jones Dismissed Sports Thu, 16 Oct 2014 4:46:00 PM Associated Press Lawsuit Against Jerry Jones Dismissed

DALLAS (AP) - A judge threw out a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Thursday, saying the claims were barred by Texas law limiting the time in which a case can be filed.

Jana Weckerly had accused Jones of grabbing her genitals and forcibly kissing her in 2009. Weckerly also alleged an attorney for Jones took a memory card with photos and destroyed it, and that she was paid hush money for several years after the incident. Jones denied the allegations.

State District Judge Dale Tillery ruled that the allegations, even if true, fell outside the five-year statute of limitations for civil sexual assault cases.

Tillery's order also redacted certain allegations made by Weckerly in court filings, and it banned attorneys on both sides from discussing the case with the media even after its dismissal.

Weckerly's attorney, Thomas Bowers, said his client did not receive any money from Jones or the Cowboys as part of the case ending. He declined to comment further.

An attorney for Jones, Levi McCathern, said in an email that Weckerly's allegations were false and that he was pleased with Tillery's order. McCathern was also sued by Weckerly.

Bowers argued in court last month that Weckerly's case wasn't past the deadline because she was receiving payments and feeling pressured not to report the alleged incident. But McCathern denied that any payments were made to Weckerly and said that even if they were at first, Weckerly could not have felt pressure for several years afterward not to go to authorities or file a lawsuit.


AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon contributed to this report.


Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Aggies Look to Bounce Back Against Alabama Sports Thu, 16 Oct 2014 4:40:50 PM Associated Press Aggies Look to Bounce Back Against Alabama

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - No. 21 Texas A&M has moved on from consecutive tough losses and is focused on bouncing back this week at No. 7 Alabama.

They're using the challenge of playing in front of a hostile crowd as motivation to get back on track and remembering that they're the last team to beat the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

In their last trip in 2012, Johnny Manziel led the Aggies to a 29-24 upset of the nation's top team at the time.

Senior receiver Malcome Kennedy, who grabbed a 24-yard reception for the go-ahead touchdown in that game, spoke to the Aggies (5-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) at a practice this week. He told them to stay positive, ignore outside noise and fix the mistakes from the last two weeks.

"Some guys might not be sure about themselves at certain positions or as players so you've ... got to tell them: 'You came to Texas A&M for a reason. We play SEC football, there's going to be some tough games,'" said Kennedy, who missed the last two games with a separated shoulder but expects to play Saturday.

Quarterback Kenny Hill, who has had six turnovers in the last two weeks, is ecstatic to have his best receiver on the field again.

"He's a person that's been there and has a lot of experience and leadership for us and to have him back I think will be huge," Hill said.

Coach Kevin Sumlin is looking for more than the Aggies showed in a 48-31 loss to Mississippi State on Oct. 4 followed by last week's 35-20 defeat by Mississippi. But he has been impressed with the attitude of his players and says he isn't worried about his team's psyche after two tough games.

"Nobody said this was going to be easy," Sumlin said. "It's a difficult league and there's no doubt, based on the last couple weeks against these type of opponents, we've got to coach better and we've got to play better. ... Confidence is something you don't gain overnight and you don't lose overnight. It's something you build."

Though Hill has struggled to hang onto the ball recently, Sumlin is far more concerned about his team's inability to run the ball against Ole Miss. Texas A&M managed just 54 yards rushing on 35 attempts.

"In order to be consistent, we need to be able to run the ball efficiently," Sumlin said. "Does that mean we're going to rush for 200, 300 yards? I don't think that'll be the case, but we've had games where we were efficient.

"We weren't efficient the other night at 1.5 yards a carry," he said. "Getting four or five yards a carry puts pressure on defenses."

Hill is second in the nation in both yards passing (2,511) and touchdown passes (23), but knows he has a lot of work to do to help A&M win more.

He rates his performance in his first season as a starter as OK, but is looking to eliminate turnovers and be more accurate as the Aggies prepare for Alabama (5-1, 2-1), who ranks third in the country in yards allowed - just 277.2 per game.

"We could go in there and get a win and have momentum going into the bye week and hopefully roll for the rest of the season," Hill said.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Giants at Cowboys Preview Sports Thu, 16 Oct 2014 4:37:33 PM Associated Press Giants at Cowboys Preview


Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

OPENING LINE - Cowboys by 4

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Giants 3-3, Cowboys 4-2

SERIES RECORD - Cowboys lead 59-43-2

LAST MEETING - Cowboys beat Giants 24-21, Nov. 24, 2013

LAST WEEK - Giants lost to Eagles 27-0; Cowboys beat Seahawks 30-23

AP PRO32 RANKING - Giants No. 21; Cowboys No. 3NEW YORK GIANTS (3-3) at DALLAS (5-1)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

OPENING LINE - Cowboys by 4

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Giants 3-3, Cowboys 4-2

SERIES RECORD - Cowboys lead 59-43-2

LAST MEETING - Cowboys beat Giants 24-21, Nov. 24, 2013






STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Giants signed WR Kevin Ogletree this week after losing Victor Cruz for season with torn patellar tendon in right knee. Ogletree spent first four seasons in Dallas and had only career 100-yard game when Cowboys upset defending Super Bowl champion Giants in 2012 season opener. ... Giants QB Eli Manning won first four starts at AT&T Stadium, including first regular-season game in $1.2 billion stadium in 2009, before throwing interception on first play in loss last year. ... Giants WR Rueben Randle had only career 100-yard game at Cowboys last season (five catches, 101 yards). ... TE Larry Donnell has four TDs in past three road games, tied for second among NFC tight ends with career-high four TDs receiving. ... DE Jason Pierre-Paul has four sacks, 28-yard interception return for score in past three games at Cowboys. He's only DE in NFL with two interception returns for touchdowns since 2012. ... S Antrel Rolle tied for NFL lead with three interceptions and had one in last meeting with Dallas. ... Cowboys are 5-1 for first time since 2007, when they were NFC's top seed at 13-3 and lost first playoff game to Giants, who knocked off undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl. ... Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray leads NFL with 785 yards rushing and six touchdowns and can become first NFL back to start season with seven straight 100-yard games. ... Dallas WR Dez Bryant has 27 TDs receiving in past 30 games, and 38 TDs since 2011 are most by NFL wide receiver ... TE Jason Witten (32 years, 159 days) is second-youngest player to reach 900 catches. Texans WR Andre Johnson (32 years, 143 days) is youngest. Witten had two touchdowns in each of two meetings with Giants last season. ... WR Terrance Williams leads Cowboys with five TD catches, one more than Bryant. ... CB Brandon Carr had interception return for touchdown against Giants last season. He doesn't have interception this year but leads team with seven pass breakups.


AP NFL website: and

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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Rangers Hire Bannister to Lead Team Sports Thu, 16 Oct 2014 4:35:27 PM Associated Press Rangers Hire Bannister to Lead Team

The Texas Rangers have chosen Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their new manager.

Banister got the nod over two other finalists, interim manager Tim Bogar and Cleveland Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

Bogar was the perceived front-runner after leading the Rangers to a 14-8 record to end the regular season following manager Ron Washington's sudden resignation Sept. 5 for personal reasons. Bogar was in his first season as Rangers bench coach.

The 49-year-old Banister has been Pittsburgh's bench coach for manager Clint Hurdle the past four years and in the Pirates organization for 29 seasons. Hurdle became the Pirates manager after serving as the Rangers' hitting coach in 2010 when they went to their first World Series.

Banister, who was born in Oklahoma but went to high school, junior college and college in Texas, was drafted in the 25th round by the Pirates in 1986. The catcher played only one game in the major leagues, getting a pinch-hit single in his only at-bat on July 23, 1991.

Banister, a 1982 graduate of LaMarque High in Texas, overcame bone cancer and a bone/bone marrow infection to play baseball. While at Baytown Junior College in Texas, he was left temporarily paralyzed from the neck down after his vertebrae was crushed in a home-plate collision.

His coaching career began as a player-coach with Double-A Carolina in 1993, and his first managerial job was in the New York-Penn League in 1994. He had a 299-330 record in five seasons as a minor league manager, before serving as field coordinator at the big-league level for the Pirates from 1999-2002 and then as the club's minor league field coordinator for eight years after that.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels joined the team in 2002 and became GM after the 2005 season. A year later, he made his first managerial move, replacing the fired Buck Showalter with Washington and going through the most successful stretch in team history.

After back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and '11, the Rangers finished 67-95 this season - their most losses since 1985. They were plagued by injuries, playing most of the season without new slugger Prince Fielder and finishing the year without Yu Darvish and Shin-Soo Choo, among many others.

It was the first time in five seasons that the Rangers played only 162 games. After consecutive American League pennants, they played in the AL wild-card game in 2012 and a wild-card tiebreaker in 2013.

Until Washington unexpectedly resigned, the plan was for him to return in 2015 for his ninth season as Rangers manager.

There were eight known candidates that the Rangers interviewed in their managerial search.

Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and Triple-A manager Steve Buechele sat down with team officials after the season ended. Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo, Chicago White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing and former major leaguer Alex Cora, an executive in the Puerto Rico winter league, also interviewed before the three finalists were announced this week.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Cowboys Young Blockers Don't Like Nicknames Sports Wed, 15 Oct 2014 9:00:26 PM Associated Press Cowboys Young Blockers Don't Like Nicknames

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin are 23-year-old first-round draft picks anchoring the Dallas offensive line for NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray.

That has to mean there's a nickname coming, right?

"I hope not," says Frederick. "I hate nicknames."

And there's the essence of a young group that could form the core of the Cowboys' offense for years. The closest thing to Hollywood in this bunch is that Smith looks the part of a comic book hero at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds and he grew up in the Los Angeles area.

Otherwise, these are men of few words - unless you get Frederick talking about math or engineering - who live by the manta that you're doing your job when nobody says your name.

"They are old-school offensive linemen," coach Jason Garrett said. "They don't say a whole lot. They go out and do their job. They do it the right way."

Smith was Garrett's first draft pick as coach in 2011, a 20-year-old from Southern California at No. 9 overall. The Cowboys gave him a year at right tackle but believed all along he was the future at the marquee spot, left tackle, and just proved it by locking him up with the franchise's second $100 million contract after Tony Romo.

Frederick, the center, followed two years later near the end of the first round when the Cowboys traded down. Martin was the last of the three first-round picks this year after Dallas decided to keep the selection as everyone wondered whether owner Jerry Jones would grab the free-falling Johnny Manziel.

All three have started from the moment they walked into team headquarters, with the assumption always being the Cowboys were trying to make life easier on Romo. Jones said following the Frederick pick that the team was trying to buy their often-banged up quarterback an "extra half a second."

Turns out Murray is reaping the most benefits, with a chance Sunday against the New York Giants (3-3) to become the first back with seven straight 100-yard games to start the season and a nearly 250-yard lead in the rushing race with 785 yards. He also leads all running backs with six touchdowns, a big reason for Dallas' 5-1 start.

"Those are good guys," said Murray, who says he takes care of his linemen but hasn't added the downfield-blocking receivers and tight ends to his payroll yet.

"If I was making Romo's money I would," Murray said. "But I'm concentrating on the five guys right now. I appreciate the other guys, but I'm concentrating on the big fellas right now."

He hangs out with them - a bit.

"I wouldn't say all the time because fat guys like to hang out with other fat guys," Frederick said. "Skinny guys don't like hanging out with us too much. We eat too much. But he does a good job of making a point of being friendly and hanging out with us and making sure we know he cares."

And those "fat guys" do enjoy their time together. During training camp, their entrances looked choreographed - marching side by side, or just a few steps apart, even with the same pace and straight-ahead glare. But Martin, the right guard, says they weren't.

Mostly, they hang out because that's what offensive linemen do - and the bond goes beyond the young trio. Ron Leary, a 25-year-old undrafted free agent in this third year, starts at left guard.

The younger blockers are about to find out what life will be like without Doug Free, the 30-year-old right tackle who's expected to miss up to a month with a broken right foot sustained in the surprising win over Super Bowl champion Seattle last weekend. In updating Free's injury status on his radio show this week, Jones called Free the "daddy" of the offensive line.

And that also gets to Frederick's point about nicknames.

"The three of us can't do anything," he said. "It's a five-position group and usually you have to count at least a backup tackle if not two. It really has to do with a group as a whole and so I don't think there should be any attention paid to that."

There won't be by his linemates.

"Travis talks but I'm more of a quiet side," Martin, Frederick's neighbor in the locker room, said as he sat alone in a corner while Frederick was surrounded by reporters Wednesday. "Just kind of do your job and stay under the radar."

That says it all for this young group.



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(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

10/15/2014 5:42:23 PM (GMT -5:00)


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Texans Focus on Limiting Big Plays at Pittsburgh Sports Wed, 15 Oct 2014 6:15:43 PM Associated Press Texans Focus on Limiting Big Plays at Pittsburgh

HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Texans are near the bottom of the league in yards allowed per game and have dropped two in a row entering Monday night's meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The defense is searching for ways to improve and could get a boost this week with the return of No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who has been out since Week 1 after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. There's a 50-50 chance the outside linebacker plays Monday, Coach Bill O'Brien said Friday, but didn't have more information on Clowney's status.

Houston (3-3) is allowing 397.2 yards a game, which ranks 27th in the NFL, but has done a good job of limiting points - fourth in the league with just 20 points per outing.

The most glaring problem for the defense has been giving up big passes in the last two losses to the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys, with the secondary allowing seven receptions of 33 yards or more, including three for more than 40 yards.

Cornerback Kareem Jackson takes those kind of plays personally, saying they're disappointing and that the team is focused on eliminating them.

"If everybody does their job, we all hone in on the little things, the small details and pay attention to those things, I think we'll be able to keep the big plays off," Jackson said.

Defensive end J.J. Watt, who leads the NFL with 20 hits on quarterbacks this season and has four sacks, believes the linemen can help cut down on those plays as well.

"Obviously up front, we need to get after the passer," Watt said. "That's what I can control in my group. We need to get after the passer, we need to be sound in our coverages in what we do and put pressure on guys, and obviously we knock out some of those plays and it'll be a big help."

Though Watt has been solid in the pass rush, the rest of the Texans haven't done much. The Texans are tied for 19th in the NFL with just 10 sacks this season, and Watt believes he should do more to change that.

"We always want to put as much pressure on the quarterback as possible," he said. "Of course, I always want more pressure on the quarterback and that's my job. So, yeah, put that on me."

Clowney's return could certainly help the Texans. The 21-year-old made a career out of getting after quarterbacks in his three seasons at South Carolina, where he tallied 24 sacks, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures. He also set a school record in 2012 with 13 sacks.

The entire defense is anxious to get Clowney back after a five-game absence.

"It (would) help a lot," Jackson said. "Just going in the game knowing we won't have to cover as long. The guys we've had up front, they've been doing a great job thus far and to add (Clowney) is definitely going to make things that much better."

The Texans faced Colts QB Andrew Luck in their last game and hope the similarities between Luck and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will help them come Monday.

"He's a big quarterback that can run and extend plays and throw the ball, make all the throws all over the field," cornerback Johnathan Joseph said of Roethlisberger. "I think playing a guy like Luck gets you prepared for Ben."



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(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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