Brent SuterMIL001+0.0 Corey KnebelMIL2652+2.0 Brandon KintzlerMIN1932+1.8 Junichi TazawaMIA220-0.5 Jordan LylesCOL210+0.0 Darren O’DayBAL832+0.2 Kenley Jansen25211089 David PhelpsMIA1171-1.1 Brad Hand232131510 Alex Colome23259105 Tyler WilsonBAL111-0.2 Joakim SoriaKC1942+1.5 Edwin Diaz2113668 Tony BarnetteTEX630-0.1 Source: Baseball-REFERENCE.COM Seung-hwan OhSTL1944+1.3 Tyler LyonsSTL011-0.4 FIREMAN APPEARANCES Logan VerrettBAL400+0.6 Jason MotteATL212-0.1 Kevin SiegristSTL811+0.8 Brandon Kintzler1924222 Chris HatcherLAD121-0.6 Kenyan MiddletonLAA210-0.1 Travis WoodKC331-0.6 Blake WoodCIN231-0.8 Mark MelanconSF940-0.2 Dario AlvarezTEX201+0.3 Fernando Rodney1922035 Brock StewartLAD200+0.3 Aaron LoupTOR326-0.3 Jared HughesMIL811+0.8 2017 goose stats through All-Star break Jason GrilliTOR332-0.6 Sean DoolittleOAK823+0.5 Kelvin Herrera1619025 Goose-egg leaders pitch in clutch situations, but that doesn’t help earn savesTop goose-egg pitchers through 2017 All-Star break Kenley JansenLAD2501+3.6 Ian KrolATL623+0.1 PITCHER▲▼TEAM▲▼GOOSE EGGS▲▼BROKEN EGGS▲▼MEHS▲▼GWAR▲▼ Daniel HudsonPIT444-0.9 Koda GloverWSH822+0.4 Brad BrachBAL2130+2.2 Luis GarciaPHI611+0.5 Danny FarquharTB832+0.1 Archie BradleyARI2023+2.3 J. J. HooverARI622+0.2 Tony WatsonPIT1664+0.1 Sammy SolisWSH120-0.6 Robby ScottBOS228-0.4 Aroldis ChapmanNYY602+1.0 Mike MorinLAA101+0.2 Johnny BarbatoPIT010-0.4 Mike MinorKC1621+1.8 Adam ConleyMIA010-0.4 AJ RamosMIA1132+0.4 Matt GraceWSH112-0.2 Ken GilesHOU933+0.2 Justin WilsonDET1940+1.5 John BrebbiaSTL001+0.0 Asher WojciechowskiCIN100+0.1 Ross StriplingLAD641-0.6 Rafael MonteroNYM131-1.0 Chris DevenskiHOU1663+0.2 Robert StephensonCIN220-0.4 Cody AllenCLE1242+0.5 Emilio PaganSEA110-0.2 Ryne StanekTB013-0.4 J. C. RamirezLAA020-0.7 Matt BushTEX1561+0.2 Jim Johnson1719206 Dustin McGowanMIA201+0.3 Hector SantiagoMIN010-0.4 Joaquin BenoitPHI1370-0.7 Casey FienSEA/PHI320-0.3 Source: Seamheads.com Frankie MontasOAK110-0.2 Danny BarnesTOR621+0.2 Rob ScahillMIL110-0.2 Dellin BetancesNYY1341+0.6 Michael LorenzenCIN1931+1.7 Randall DelgadoARI500+0.8 Cory GearrinSF721+0.3 Jose AlvaradoTB743-0.4 Joely RodriguezPHI524+0.0 Tom WilhelmsenARI112-0.2 Alex Colome23259105 Alex WoodLAD301+0.4 Jose RamirezATL1241+0.3 Francisco RodriguezDET382-2.5 Steve CishekSEA211-0.1 Andrew Miller25214128 Chasen ShreveNYY622+0.2 Giovanny GallegosNYY010-0.4 PITCHERGOOSE EGGSSAVESMULTI-INNINGRUNNERS ONTIE GAMES Adam OttavinoCOL1372-0.4 Josh CollmenterATL020-0.7 Mike DunnCOL602+1.0 PITCHERGOOSE EGGSSAVESMULTI-INNINGRUNNERS ONTIE GAMES Ken Giles919151 Robert GsellmanNYM210-0.1 Neftali FelizMIL850-0.7 Kyle BarracloughMIA1031+0.3 Tanner ScheppersTEX101+0.2 Dan JenningsCHW024-0.7 Alex ColomeTB2352+1.7 Hansel RoblesNYM422-0.2 Matt BarnesBOS1053-0.2 Alex WilsonDET1064-0.7 James PazosSEA924+0.6 Chase De JongSEA010-0.4 Chris BeckCHW002+0.0 Shawn KelleyWSH620+0.1 Kelvin HerreraKC1642+1.1 Hector NerisPHI1542+0.7 Jeanmar GomezPHI721+0.3 Jim JohnsonATL1761+0.3 Brandon Maurer1519246 Raisel IglesiasCIN2110+2.7 Tyler ClippardNYY486-2.3 Jake McGeeCOL832+0.2 Keone KelaTEX831+0.2 Chad GreenNYY022-0.7 Matthew BowmanSTL1544+0.7 Craig KimbrelBOS1920+2.3 Yusmeiro PetitLAA1012+1.2 Heath HembreeBOS724+0.4 T. J. McFarlandARI501+0.8 Joe KellyBOS724+0.4 Trevor RosenthalSTL1661+0.1 Jake JunisKC100+0.2 Roberto OsunaTOR1641+1.1 Matt BelisleMIN1333+0.9 Corey Knebel2614698 Ryan GartonTB030-1.1 Pedro BaezLAD734-0.1 Miguel CastroBAL101+0.2 Roberto Osuna1622033 Source: Baseball-REFERENCE.COM Wily PeraltaMIL120-0.6 Jonathan HolderNYY311+0.1 Jeremy JeffressTEX131-0.9 Xavier CedenoTB013-0.4 Austin BriceCIN300+0.4 Raisel Iglesias21161065 Felipe Rivero276111312 Bud NorrisLAA1160-0.5 Brad BoxbergerTB100+0.2 Eric O’FlahertyATL211-0.1 Andrew ChafinARI146-1.3 Chase WhitleyTB641-0.6 Luis AvilanLAD222-0.5 Parker BridwellLAA001+0.0 Kenley Jansen25211089 Carl EdwardsCHC1233+0.6 Dan AltavillaSEA331-0.6 Save leaders avoid many clutch pitching opportunitiesTop save pitchers through 2017 All-Star break Blake TreinenWSH441-0.9 Zach PutnamCHW200+0.3 Pat NeshekPHI1613+2.0 Brandon MaurerSD1570-0.5 Donnie HartBAL313+0.1 Will HarrisHOU1630+1.3 Adam WarrenNYY521+0.1 Andrew MillerCLE2531+3.0 Hector RondonCHC721+0.3 Fernando AbadBOS500+0.8 Jacob TurnerWSH520+0.0 Joe SmithTOR1411+1.8 Miguel DiazSD010-0.4 Jorge De La RosaARI1041+0.1 We shouldn’t get too carried away here. With the possible exception of the Astros’ Chris Devenski — who leads the majors with 52.2 relief innings but whose effectiveness has diminished as the season has worn on — none of these pitchers are being used in the Goose Gossage mold of the 1970s, when star relievers often threw 100 or more innings in a season. This is particularly true for Jansen, whose workload has always been managed carefully. (He’s on pace for only 68 innings this year.) But if teams are still using pitchers such as Jansen, Rivero and the Indians’ Andrew Miller for only 60 to 80 innings a season, they’re increasingly picking the right innings for them to pitch. By contrast, closers such as the Rockies’ Greg Holland and the Twins’ Brandon Kintzler have rarely made fireman appearances but have often been used to close out big, relatively safe leads. Although they have more saves than pitchers like Jansen and Rivero, Holland and Kintzler have fewer goose eggs and have provided less overall value to their clubs. Joe BlantonWSH320-0.3 Tyler PillNYM010-0.4 PITCHER▲▼TEAM▲▼GOOSE EGGS▲▼BROKEN EGGS▲▼MEHS▲▼GWAR▲▼ Jeurys FamiliaNYM412+0.2 Brad ZieglerMIA412+0.2 Ryan PresslyMIN420-0.1 Dodger closer Kenley Jansen has had a lights-out first half with a 4-0 record, a 0.96 ERA, 57 strikeouts and just two walks allowed in 37.2 innings pitched.He also has only 21 saves, which ranks seventh in the league through the All-Star break. But Jansen has been considerably more valuable to the Dodgers than those save numbers imply. That’s because Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been deploying Jansen in high-leverage situations that other managers often shield their closers from. Jansen has made 10 multi-inning appearances so far this year. He’s been brought into the game with runners on base nine times. And he’s entered in tied games in eight appearances. l call all of these “firemen appearances” because they resemble how teams used their top relievers in the era a few decades ago when the best relievers were referred to as “firemen” instead of closers.These firemen appearances have not necessarily helped Jansen earn saves; a pitcher can’t earn a save when he enters in a tied game, for instance. But they do provide opportunities for him to earn goose eggs, the new relief-pitcher statistic that we developed this spring. (The short version: A pitcher gets a goose egg for a clutch, scoreless relief inning, including in a tied game.) Jansen has 25 goose eggs, which ties him for third this season. He and his fellow goose-egg leaders — including the Pirates’ Felipe Rivero, who leads MLB with 27 — are routinely making firemen appearances: Brian DuensingCHC300+0.4 Jake PetrickaCHW001+0.0 Deolis GuerraLAA720+0.3 Brandon MorrowLAD010-0.4 Addison Reed2115568 Luke GregersonHOU632-0.2 Mychal GivensBAL1223+1.2 Jonathan BroxtonSTL120-0.6 Jerry BlevinsNYM1246+0.2 Tommy KahnleCHW1171-0.9 Robbie RossBOS100+0.2 Fernando RodneyARI1943+1.4 Luke JacksonATL100+0.1 Ben HellerNYY001+0.0 Sam DysonTEX/SF1271-0.8 Blake ParkerLAA1031+0.4 Erasmo RamirezTB712+0.7 Jandel GustaveHOU010-0.4 Josh SmokerNYM722+0.3 Hunter StricklandSF1130+0.5 Dominic LeoneTOR323-0.3 Drew StorenCIN322-0.3 Derek LawSF1131+0.5 Ernesto FrieriTEX010-0.4 Sergio RomoLAD230-0.8 Cam BedrosianLAA613+0.5 Sam TuivailalaSTL320-0.3 Josh FieldsLAD321-0.3 Greg Hollland1828141 Vidal NunoBAL010-0.4 Ben TaylorBOS101+0.2 Tony CingraniCIN423-0.2 Pedro StropCHC1113+1.2 Daniel StumpfDET212-0.1 Wade LeBlancPIT132-1.0 Bryan MitchellNYY010-0.4 Matt StrahmKC231-0.8 Josh OsichSF224-0.5 Sam FreemanATL502+0.7 Neil RamirezNYM012-0.4 Bruce RondonDET210-0.1 Josh EdginNYM525+0.0 Ryan BuchterSD1252-0.1 Bryan MorrisSF300+0.4 Tommy HunterTB621+0.2 Steven OkertSF637-0.3 Scott ObergCOL613+0.6 J. P. HowellTOR010-0.4 Adam KolarekTB010-0.4 Carlos TorresMIL642-0.6 Phil MatonSD211-0.1 Liam HendriksOAK731+0.0 Kyle RyanDET210-0.1 Addison ReedNYM2143+1.5 Fernando SalasNYM554-1.2 Tyler DuffeyMIN811+0.9 Bryan ShawCLE1122+1.1 Edubray RamosPHI2110-3.8 Jean MachiSEA101+0.2 Peter MoylanKC403+0.6 Chris YoungKC100+0.2 Jayson AquinoBAL010-0.4 Brett CecilSTL1322+1.1 Jhan MarinezMIL/PIT320-0.3 Ryan DullOAK422-0.1 Jeff BeliveauTOR100+0.2 Warwick SaupoldDET012-0.4 Wandy PeraltaCIN1020+0.7 Richard BleierBAL311+0.1 Alex ClaudioTEX625+0.2 Al AlburquerqueKC010-0.4 Brad PeacockHOU101+0.2 FIREMAN APPEARANCES Brad Brach2115236 Craig BreslowMIN010-0.4 Check out our latest MLB predictions. Greg HollandCOL1820+2.2 Chris RusinCOL823+0.6 Justin HaleyMIN110-0.2 Stefan CrichtonBAL010-0.4 Matt AlbersWSH924+0.6 Wade DavisCHC1501+2.2 Casey LawrenceTOR010-0.4 Michael FelizHOU110-0.2 Nate JonesCHW410+0.2 Shane GreeneDET1033+0.4 Kevin QuackenbushSD110-0.2 Mike MontgomeryCHC1211+1.4 Enny RomeroWSH1336+0.8 Daniel CoulombeOAK123-0.6 Jose AlvarezLAA553-1.1 Tony ZychSEA432-0.5 Marc RzepczynskiSEA404+0.6 Brad HandSD2345+1.8 Paul SewaldNYM122-0.6 Jarlin GarciaMIA002+0.0 Blaine BoyerBOS310+0.1 Nick WittgrenMIA611+0.5 Drew SteckenriderMIA010-0.4 Juan NicasioPIT846-0.3 Koji UeharaCHC1443+0.5 Oliver PerezWSH514+0.4 Boone LoganCLE003+0.0 Edwin DiazSEA2141+1.7 Nick VincentSEA1214+1.5 Zach BrittonBAL600+0.9 Gabriel YnoaBAL001+0.0 Ty BlachSF101+0.1 Jumbo DiazTB643-0.6 Kirby YatesLAA/SD321-0.3 Joe BiaginiTOR432-0.5 Felipe RiveroPIT2722+3.2 Ronald HerreraNYY010-0.4 Domingo GermanNYY010-0.4 Craig Kimbrel1923566 Tony SippHOU100+0.2 Grant DaytonLAD112-0.2 James HoytHOU110-0.2 Jose LeclercTEX522+0.1 Santiago CasillaOAK1452+0.3 Ryan MadsonOAK1231+0.7 The Dodgers have managed Jansen’s opportunities smartly, but he also deserves credit for making the most of every one of them — literally. Jansen has 25 goose eggs on the season, but no broken eggs, our term for when a pitcher enters the game with an opportunity to earn a goose egg but is charged with at least one earned run instead.1Jansen does have one “meh,” which is when a pitcher enters the game in a goose situation but is awarded neither a goose egg nor a broken egg because a run was scored yet not charged to the reliever. The record for most goose eggs in a season without a broken egg is held by Brad Lidge, who had 34 goose eggs and no broken eggs in 2008.As a result of this perfect conversion rate, Jansen leads baseball with 3.6 goose wins above replacement (GWAR) and is on pace for 6.5 GWAR, which would make for one of the top half-dozen relief pitching seasons of all time. Rivero and Miller are second and third in GWAR this season. You can find goose-egg statistics for these and all other relief pitchers in the sortable table below. Evan ScribnerSEA020-0.7 Blaine HardyDET121-0.6 Arodys VizcainoATL1652+0.5 David HernandezLAA811+0.9 Diego MorenoTB010-0.4 Austin PruittTB300+0.5 Alec AsherBAL311+0.1 Chad QuallsCOL210+0.0 Rubby De La RosaARI011-0.4 Carlos EstevezCOL100+0.2 Jesse ChavezLAA010-0.4 Antonio BastardoPIT010-0.4 Ryan TeperaTOR1420+1.5 Chad BellDET001+0.0 Josh HaderMIL100+0.1 Oliver DrakeMIL421-0.2 Jacob BarnesMIL1843+1.2 George KontosSF743-0.5 Anthony SwarzakCHW1000+1.5 John AxfordOAK120-0.6 David RobertsonCHW1631+1.3 Miguel SocolovichSTL101+0.1 Brooks PoundersLAA100+0.2 Jose TorresSD231-0.8 Justin GrimmCHC201+0.3 Taylor RogersMIN1323+1.3 Scott AlexanderKC320-0.3
Matthew Stafford21.71927-8 Aaron Rodgers22.13532+3 Blake Bortles25.41411+3 Among the 47 games Brees started in the past three seasons, the Saints would have won 10 more games (technically, they would have won 12 games they actually lost and lost two they had actually won, for a net increase of 10). In both 2014 and 2016, Brees’s record would have been 11-5, and New Orleans would have made the playoffs. To be sure, this is just a back-of-the-napkin calculation, and several variables can distort this expected-win statistic — for instance, Brees and the Saints probably wouldn’t have scored as much if they hadn’t been constantly losing.But when you look at all the non-Brees starting quarterbacks who also started from 2014 to 2016, the connection between clearing the league-average point total and winning games is quite strong: The quarterbacks in our sample average 0.97 wins for every one time they clear that bar. Brees, on the other hand, registered 0.68 wins for his better-than-average offensive days. Matthew Stafford is the anti-Brees in this regard: The Detroit Lions’ QB has 27 wins since 2014 despite leading an offense that beat the league-average point total just 19 times. Alex Smith18.82730-3 WINS Eli Manning23.52523+2 Tom Brady18.63335-2 Carson Palmer20.72625+1 Joe Flacco20.32321+2 Matt Ryan24.32925+4 Drew Brees28.23121+10 Cam Newton23.02726+1 Jay Cutler26.11112-1 Drew Brees is in a league of his own statistically. He has led the NFL in passing yards three years in a row and seven times as a Saint (no other player in history has hit that mark more than five times). He has topped 5,000 yards five times — all other quarterbacks in history have combined for only four such seasons. Brees’s New Orleans offenses have finished in the top 10 in scoring in six straight years, and his nine consecutive seasons of 30 or more TD passes are nearly twice as many as the next closest QBs (Brett Favre 1994-98 and Peyton Manning 2009-14). Brees’s passing résumé would force the office printer to run out of paper.But there is one reasonably important statistic that Brees struggles in: winning football games. The Saints last had a winning season in 2013, finishing 7-9 for three straight years. And in the 16-game era, no quarterback has started every game and missed the playoffs more often than Brees, who has done this seven times. Even some Saints fans are asking whether Brees is merely a compiler of gaudy passing numbers who can’t deliver in the clutch.But Brees isn’t the reason the Saints have lost 27 games in three seasons — the defense is. Among all 32 teams from 2014 to 2016, the Saints ranked 28th, 32nd and 31st in points allowed per game, respectively. Over those three seasons, the Saints gave up 28.2 points on average in Brees’s starts — that’s practically a touchdown more than the league average during that time (22.7). No other current starting quarterback in this time period has nearly this high a hurdle to clear to get a win.1For this, we looked at the 18 quarterbacks who are currently starters and also started for any team in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The three quarterbacks with the most wins during that time — Tom Brady (35), Aaron Rodgers (32) and Russell Wilson (32) — have defenses that have allowed an average of 18.6, 22.1 and 17.1 points per game, respectively.2Only counting games in which they started.Let’s pretend for a second that New Orleans had an average defense — not even a good one — over the past three seasons. If the actual points surrendered by the Saints in each of the 47 games that Brees started in 2014-16 were replaced with the league average for the season, how many more games would Brees have won? Russell Wilson17.13032-2 Ben Roethlisberger21.03028+2 It’s not Brees’s faultThe difference in win total for quarterbacks if their actual defense was replaced by a league-average defense in each game, 2014-16. Derek Carr25.82322+1 Andrew Luck24.22821+7 Andy Dalton19.72526-1 QUARTERBACKAVG. OPP. PTS/GAMEEXPECTEDACTUALDIFF. All newsletters The Saints need a defensive awakening to happen soon. Although Brees plays as though he’s ageless, he’ll turn 39 in January. He doesn’t even need his defense to be good for the team to be successful. The Saints have finished 20th or better in points allowed just five times in his 11 seasons in New Orleans, and Brees has led his team to the playoffs in each of these seasons — averaging 12 wins. Alas, those are his only winning seasons for Payton and his rotating cast of defensive coordinators.Check out our latest NFL predictions. For current starting quarterbacks who also started in the 2014 through 2016 seasons. Expected wins are based on whether the opposition team scored the NFL average points per game for a given season.Source: pro-football-reference.com Philip Rivers24.42218+4 The Saints offense does occasionally sputter, and for those games, the team’s chances of winning are solely reliant on the defense — in other words, virtually hopeless. In games when the Saints scored less than the league average, they went 2-14. Brady’s Patriots went 5-6 when they failed to best the league average.The Saints head into their season opener in Minnesota tonight determined to finally turn around their defense. Head coach Sean Payton said he’s “optimistic” about the unit. Players are even hoping a preseason stretch of eight consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown will prove meaningful now that the games actually count. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe
In the video above, FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner breaks down some things the Cleveland Cavaliers can do to stay competitive in the NBA Finals as the series heads back to Cleveland.
Tiger Woods returns to the course on Thursday after being away from competition for five months. In a press conference on Monday, Woods expressed his excitement to return to the course and was well received in the practice rounds. Woods is paired with K.J. Choi and Matt Kuchar. Woods has been paired with Choi 12 times and Kuchar twice. The threesome will tee off from the first hole at Augusta National at 1:42 p.m. Thursday and 10:35 a.m. Friday.Donovan McNabb was introduced Tuesday as the new quarterback of the Washington Redskins. McNabb, sporting a No. 5 Redskins jersey, is in the negotiation stage with the Redskins on a contract extension. McNabb has one year left on his 12-year, $115 million contract that he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski denies any interest in the New Jersey Nets coaching job. The Bergen Record reports that the Nets’ new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is targeting Coach K. Even if Prokhorov offers Coach K more than $12 million, making him the highest-paid coach in the NBA ahead of Phil Jackson, Krzyzewski maintained that he would not be leaving Duke. Coach K was offered the head coaching position with the Lakers in 2004, but opted to remain with the Blue Devils.Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers allegedly tried to carry a semiautomatic handgun through airport security over the weekend. The police report states that the gun had seven bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber, but was on safe mode. Rogers has pleaded not guilty to the charges. In an apology to his team and fans, Rogers claims he forgot the gun was in his carry-on bag when he went through security at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
If Ohio State men’s basketball sophomore forward Jared Sullinger’s recent injuries are still bothering him, he did a good job of hiding it on Tuesday night against Lamar. Sullinger led all players in both points and rebounds with 18 and 11, respectively, as No. 2-ranked OSU defeated Lamar, 50-70, at the Schottenstein Center Tuesday in the first-ever contest between the two schools. Sullinger, who was hampered by back spasms he suffered during OSU’s Nov. 29 victory against Duke and a bone bruise he suffered against South Carolina Friday, logged 30 minutes of playing time Tuesday. He had 31 combined minutes in the Buckeyes’ previous two games “It got better. The swelling went down,” Sullinger said of the foot injury that forced him from OSU win against the Gamecocks just six minutes into the game. “During the course of the game (Tuesday), it started to loosen up more. I played today, so that’s always a good sign.” OSU coach Thad Matta agreed. “We’re getting him and we can continue to see the improvement on a daily basis,” Matta said of Sullinger’s injuries. OSU led by just five points halfway through the first half before outscoring Lamar and growing the lead to 13 by halftime. OSU fans also got a bit of a scare in the first half when senior guard William Buford came out with what looked like a shoulder injury. Buford winced and tugged on his right arm and wrist as he darted for the bench to receive medical attention. Buford would later return and Matta said after the game that he sustained a “stinger,” or temporary paralysis, in his neck. Sullinger scored 10 of his team’s first 12 points in the second half, during which the Buckeyes led by double digits the entire time. Eight of the 10 points were scored via dunk or layup. “He’s so quick with the ball,” Lamar coach Pat Knight said. “He had my guys so buried and he was so close, he had the ball up before we could even get anybody down there to double down on him.” Knight’s father, former OSU basketball player and Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, was presented with an alumni award during a halftime ceremony by former OSU football running back and two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. Knight was a member OSU’s1960 national champion men’s basketball squad. When play resumed after Knight addressed the crowd, Lamar was unable to mount a comeback. The visitors failed to connect on all 12 of its 3-point attempts despite numerous open looks. “We just couldn’t hit shots,” Pat Knight said. The lead grew to 20 on a Sullinger lay-up with just under eight minutes in the game. The Buckeyes never looked back. “If you told me we were going to win by 20 points tonight, I would have told you you’re crazy,” Matta said. “I thought Lamar was a really good basketball team and we probably did some things better than I thought we did.” The Buckeyes (11-1) conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule Thursday against the Miami Redhawks at Nationwide Arena. Opening tip is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
Ohio State wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a 29-15 win against University of Alabama-Birmingham. Here’s what we learned about the Buckeyes in their closer-than-expected battle with the Blazers, as well as observations from the first third of the season. The “freak show” was upstaged There was plenty of excitement surrounding OSU’s special teams unit this season, and for good reason. Meyer’s Gators blocked 21 punts, eight field goals and three extra points during the coach’s six seasons at University of Florida. The coach hoped to bring that success to Columbus, featuring a punt-blocking subunit called “the freak show.” But the stage on Saturday belonged to UAB’s special teams, who returned a blocked punt for the game’s first touchdown and later caught the Buckeyes unaware while recovering an onside kick. OSU’s special teams were woeful last season, most noticeably against Purdue when a blocked extra point cost them the game. It seems that even with Meyer in helm, the Buckeyes have a long way to go before the “freak show” is a featured act in Columbus. This is an imperfect team in a less-perfect conference OSU is not amongst the nation’s elite college football teams this year. This is less of an observation from one game, and more about the team’s performance through non-conference play. In the first four games of their season, OSU struggled to put away two teams from Conference USA and barely evaded an upset bid from a Cal team that is now 1-3. The young offense has been prolific yet inconsistent and occasionally inept. This was on perfect display against UAB, as the Buckeyes were held scoreless for the first third of the game, and then rattled off 21-unanswered points in a matter of 5:29. The offense followed up their scoring barrage by reverting back to lethargy, punting three times in three possessions as the Blazers crawled back into contention. Once victory was again in doubt, Miller drove the Buckeyes 71 yards on a 10-play touchdown drive to put the game away. In all, the Buckeyes put up 29 points and 347 yards against a defense that had allowed an average of 44 points and 477 yards through their first two games. Despite their most evident flaws the Buckeyes are still 4-0, preparing to play in a conference that has looked even more suspect. The Big Ten’s early season favorites – Wisconsin, Michigan State and Michigan – have all been beaten, and to various degrees embarrassed, in non-conference play. OSU will compete for the conference title that they are sanctioned from winning this season, just don’t confuse conference dominance with national prominence. Give an extra helmet sticker to… Jordan Hall. In his second game back from injury, the senior running back rushed for a career-high 105 yards on 17 carries. He also caught two passes for 21 yards. More importantly, Hall’s presence has allowed the Buckeyes to be less dependent on Miller as a rusher. In the two games without Hall, Miller carried the ball 17 and 27 times. In games with Hall, Miller’s workload decreased significantly, as he received 12 and 11 carries. Less carries means less hits for Miller, which will be important heading into conference play against the physical Big Ten defenses.
Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) carries the ball during a game against Cincinnati on Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 50-28.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorFor the first time ever, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Rutgers Scarlet Knights are set to meet on the football field. The matchup also marks the first time the Scarlet Knights will play a Big Ten game on the road.With so many firsts, and so many unknowns, there are a plethora of storylines to watch in the matchup. The Lantern sports editors picked five of the most important things to look for in the game.1. Will the Buckeyes be able to force Gary Nova turnovers?It has been well-documented that Rutgers senior quarterback Gary Nova is turnover-prone. With Nova coming off of an impressive performance in which he tossed for 404 yards through the air and three scores against Michigan, the Buckeye defense will have to do its due diligence to slow Nova and the Scarlet Knights down. The Rutgers run game is average at best, ranking ninth in the conference, which has forced the Scarlet Knights to throw the ball early and often in recent weeks. If they can force Nova into his old habits, the Buckeyes should succeed as Nova has thrown 46 career interceptions, five of which came in his first Big Ten game against Penn State. 2. Will sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott have his third-straight 100-yard game?After struggling to get off to a strong start, Elliott is coming off of back-to-back 100-yard rushing games against Cincinnati and Maryland, respectively. Getting his third-straight 100-yard game could prove to be easier than some think.While the Rutgers defense ranks tied for third in the country in sacks, they struggle to stop the run as they rank eighth in the conference in yards allowed on the ground. If the Buckeye offensive line has improved as much as many think they have, Elliott will have a chance to rack up considerable yards for a third straight game. 3. Can J.T. Barrett make a Heisman Trophy push?I know, I know. we are crazy. But are we really?After the recent Todd Gurley and Jameis Winston fallout, this could be the most wide open Heisman race in years.With that said, Barrett will have a chance to shine on national television for the next four weeks as games against Rutgers, Penn State, Illinois and Michigan State are scheduled to be televised on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.In addition, aside from Saturday’s game against Rutgers, all of those games are set for 8 p.m. kickoffs, putting Barrett and the Buckeyes in the spotlight for three straight weekends.Closing that stretch of games is the Michigan State matchup, one that most are claiming will be the de facto Big Ten Championship game. If Barrett can help the Buckeyes win out, and impress during prime time, there is a chance the redshirt-freshman could earn an invite to New York.However, it all starts with Rutgers on Saturday.4. How will a second early-season bye week effect the Buckeyes on the field?More than anything else, OSU coach Urban Meyer has made it clear that he didn’t want to have a week off after the Buckeyes beat Maryland on Oct. 4.If it were up to him, they would have kept on rolling after the 52-24 win, but it’s not.Instead, OSU had to take an off-week and get ready for a two-week gap between taking the field for an actual game. For some teams, that can be needed rest. For others, it can simply stunt momentum.It’s likely the Buckeyes will either have an extremely fast or an extremely slow start depending on how the players took the time off. If a slow start is in fact the case, look for OSU to be in an early hole with a need to scramble back late in the game.5. Will freshman running back Curtis Samuel be worked back into the fold?Through the first few games of the season, an argument could have been made that Samuel was the best running back on OSU’s roster.He might well be just that someday, but it’s clear that Elliott is the guy for the 2014 Buckeyes, especially considering Samuel missed the Maryland game with a leg injury. Meyer said he’s back and ready to go, but what will be the real point of rushing him back into the lineup when Elliott has been dominant for two consecutive games?Samuel has a bright career ahead of him, but an untimely injury might have put a damper on what could have been a standout first season in Columbus.The matchup between OSU and Rutgers is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State junior forward Andre Wesson defends a shot from Cleveland State sophomore guard Tyree Appleby on Nov. 23 in St. John Arena. Ohio State won 89-62. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorIn its first return to the only home court it has hosted a national championship season in, Ohio State did not disappoint.After failing to pull ahead substantially to open the game, the No. 23 Buckeyes poured it on in the second half, defeating Cleveland State 89-62 in the team’s first game in St. John Arena since 2010.In front of the sold-out crowd, Ohio State shot 53.1 percent, made seven 3s and forced 16 turnovers against the Vikings.For junior forward Kaleb Wesson and sophomore forward Andre Wesson, the moment was even greater because of the history that their dad, Keith, had as a player for the Buckeyes in the 1980s.“It was special, just everybody, there was a lot of hype around this game,” Kaleb Wesson said. “It was even more special for me and [Andre] because my dad played here.”After starting the second half with a nine-point lead the Buckeyes opened the half with a 10-1 run, extending the lead to 48-30 with 16:44 to go in the game.From there, Cleveland State began to bring the pressure with a few buckets on the other end. But Ohio State countered all of them, connecting on seven of its first nine shots from the field in the second half.Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann still was not pleased about the play in transition.“We had three or four possessions where it was, we score they score, we score they score, and we got beat in transition a couple times,” Holtmann said. “I thought we were really fatigued, and we got really loose defensively.”That was all it took for the Buckeyes to take charge.Ohio State shot 59.4 percent and 5-of-8 from deep to outscore the Vikings 51-33 in the second half to seal the victory.Of the Buckeyes first 56 points, 51 were scored by the starters. All starters except sophomore forward Kyle Young, who had eight, scored in double figures. The bench shot 8-of-20 and 3-of-7 from 3.Kaleb Wesson led all scorers with 19 points, followed closely by senior guard C.J. Jackson, who had 17.Wesson shot 8-of-16 and brought in six rebounds, tied for the team high, while Jackson shot 7-of-10 and 3-of-4 from 3.Wesson said he has found a stride this year because of the play of the guys around him.“I feel I have more opportunities because of my teammates, you know my teammates stepped up really in a year,” Kaleb Wesson said. “I feel like if more people step up I’ll get more shots.”Ohio State led Cleveland State 38-29 at the half, with Jackson leading all scorers with 10 points.The Buckeyes held the Vikings to 34.4 percent shooting overall in the first half, but struggled from behind the arc, making only two of their 11 3-point attempts.“I thought they really, physically challenged us and were the tougher team, certainly for 20 minutes of the game,” Holtmann said. “It was good for us, good to see us respond.”Young started the momentum early for Ohio State, making all three of his shots for six points and three rebounds in the first nine minutes of the game.The Buckeyes’ defense started out hot as well, forcing five turnovers in the first 10 minutes and nine overall in the first half.Ohio State moves on to face Syracuse at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “There is clearly an epidemic of banned phones entering our prisons. This is a shocking failure by the GovernmentDavid Hanson, the Labour former justice minister “These figures demonstrate how many phones are found, but don’t tell us how long it took to find them. Therefore, these mobiles and sims could have been in the hands of convicted criminals for weeks, if not months. This is a shocking failure by the Government.”Answering the parliamentary question, Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said the Government has brought in tough measures to find and confiscate phones. He said: “The illicit use of mobile phones undermines the safety and security of prisons, which is why we are taking urgent and decisive action.”Under measures introduced in late 2016, we can now apply for Telecommunications Restriction Orders at court to block specific mobile phones being used in prisons.”Since the legislation was introduced in August, we have had more than 150 mobile phones cut off.”In addition, we have announced new measures in the Prison and Courts Bill that will allow the Secretary of State to authorise mobile network operators to block illicit mobile phone signals across entire prison sites.”This will allow industry experts to work more creatively and effectively to block signals and means that we won’t require a court order to stop the illicit and harmful use of mobile phones in prisons.” Justice Secretary Liz Truss has announced new measures to crack down on their use, including giving prisons power to jam the signalsCredit:Ben Birchall/PA Wire At least 20,000 mobile phones and sim cards were discovered in prisons last year – more than double the number recorded two years earlier. The proliferation of handsets in jails has been linked to drugs and organised crime, while some inmates have used the devices to film themselves and post videos on websites such as Facebook.Justice Secretary Liz Truss has announced new measures to crack down on their use, including giving prisons power to jam the signals.But David Hanson, the Labour former justice minister who uncovered the latest figures in a parliamentary question, urged tougher action. At least 20,075 mobile phones and sim cards were found in prisons in 2016, according to the Ministry of Justice numbers.This is up around a fifth (18%) on the 16,987 finds – which can include handsets, sim, USB or media cards – which were found the year before, and more than double the 9,745 mobiles and sims found in 2014, according to the figures.The Ministry of Justice cautioned against drawing direct comparisons with the numbers as a new and “enhanced” incident reporting regime was introduced in October 2015 which “allowed better recording of the number of mobile phones and sim cards found”.But Mr Hanson said the figures show that an “astounding number of mobile phones are now washing through our prison system”.He said: “Each one of these phones and sim cards enables criminals to gain access to the outside world, empowering them to undertake further criminal activity such as intimidation of juries, operating drugs smuggling into their prison, or ordering violent attacks on people.
Nutritionist Professor Jamie Cooper, of the University of Georgia in the US, said: “Appetite hormones play an important role in regulating how much we eat.”These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs, like those found in walnuts, may favourably change appetite hormones so we can feel fuller for longer.”The study, published in the journal Nutrition, involved 26 young men and women aged 18 to 35 who had changes in hormone levels recorded as they were asked how hungry they felt.The participants were placed on a seven day diet high in polyunsaturated fats consisting of a typical American eating pattern. Then they consumed meals high in saturated fat again. Both diets contained the same number of total calories and percentage of fat – but the latter differed in the types. Salmon is also rich in polyunsaturated fatsCredit:Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo A daily handful of walnuts can suppress hunger and make you feel full, according to new research.The study shows that the nut contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) which prevent overeating.Researchers say that is because they dampen down a hormone that boosts hunger, while firing up another that increases feelings of fullness.Other foods rich in PUFAs include oily fish such as salmon and corn, grapeseed or canola oil. These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs, like those found in walnuts, may favourably change appetite hormones so we can feel fuller for longer.Professor Jamie Cooper Walnuts are unique among nuts because they are mainly comprised of PUFAs.Every ounce – about seven whole walnuts – contains a remarkable 13 grams of PUFA out of 18 grams of total fat.As a result they are the only nut to contain a significant amount of plant-based omega-3.Prof Cooper, whose study was funded by the California Walnut Commission, added that larger and longer term studies are now required.More clinical trials are also needed to determine the optimal intake of dietary PUFAs to offer the greatest health benefit. Those that consumed a diet high in PUFAs had a significant decrease in fasting ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger.Meanwhile, there was a similar increase in peptide YY (PYY), a hormone that increases fullness or satiety.Participants saw increases in PYY while fasting and after consuming a meal. These types of hormone changes imply better appetite control.There was also no difference in responses to how hungry or full they felt and how much they thought they could eat – whether they ate the PUFA-rich diet, or not.PUFAs are known to be good for health by helping reduce cholesterol and providing essential fats like omega-6 and omega-3 that the body can’t produce itself.But the latest findings show for the first time how eating foods high in these polyunsaturated fats, consumers can curb overeating.Through feedback, and by monitoring the hormone levels, the scientists were able to see the PUFA diet was more likely to leave consumers feeling full.It included whole foods such as walnuts, Alaska salmon, tuna, flaxseed oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and fish oil supplements. All meals were provided by the researchers.The control diet was comprised of 7% polyunsaturated fat, 15% monounsaturated fat and 13% saturated fat, compared to the PUFA-rich diet which was 21% polyunsaturated fat, 9% monounsaturated fat, and 5% saturated fat. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.