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Predicting Bengals-Bills and all Week 5 games

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:00 AM
Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 9:42 AM


            ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals scores a touchdown past Duke Williams #27 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals scores a touchdown past Duke Williams #27 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals beat writer Jay Morrison offers his predictions for Week 5 of NFL games.

New York Jets (2-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-4)

No idea why/how the Browns are favored in this one.

Pick: Jets 17, Browns 13

Carolina Panthers (3-1) at Detroit Lions (3-1)

There won’t be anything funny about this one, Cam

Pick: Lions 34, Panthers 24

›› Bengals receiver charged with drug possession

San Francisco 49ers (0-4) at Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

And the first pick in the 2018 draft goes to…..

Pick: Colts 21, 49ers 20

Tennessee Titans (2-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-2)

Both teams took a lashing from the ugly stick last week, but Miami bounces back.

Pick: Dolphins 27, Titans 14

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Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) at New York Giants (0-4)

The Chargers probably feel more comfortable on the road than their empty home.

Pick: Chargers 28, Giants 27

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

The water coolers will be safe Sunday.

Pick: Steelers 35, Jaguars 14

›› Bengals to wear specialty jerseys vs. Bills

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

Arizona has lost five of its last six in the Eastern time zone.

Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 20

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

A test of whether the Rams are for real. Psst, they are.

Pick: Rams 21, Seahawks 20

›› Bengals aim to get struggling run game going

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (2-2)

No Derek Carr, no problem.

Pick: Raiders, 24, Ravens 10

Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

It’s going to be Armageddon in Dallas when the team slips to 2-3

Pick: Packers 31, Cowboys 27

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Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) at Houston Texans (2-2)

How long will the only unbeaten team stay that way? At least one more week.

Pick: Chiefs 27, Texans 23

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) at Chicago Bears (1-3)

The Mitch Trubisky era begins with a thud vs. QB tormentor Mike Zimmer

Pick: Vikings 28, Bears 9

Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

The Bills aren’t as good as their record, and the Bengals aren’t as bad as theirs.

Pick: Bengals 16, Bills 13

Last Week: 10-5

This Year: 39-21

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Sampen gem carries Wright State into Horizon League tournament final

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:30 PM

Caleb Sampen takes no-hitter into seventh

Wright State coach Jeff Mercer used an unusual, yet thoroughly accurate word to describe his slight-framed starting pitcher Friday afternoon.

“That guy’s a monster,” Mercer said of Caleb Sampen after the lanky, 185-pound sophomore took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the winners bracket final of the Horizon League tournament.

Sampen lost his no-hit bid with two outs in the seventh on a solid single to left, but WSU had a double-digit lead by then, well on its way to a 10-1 triumph of UIC at Nischwitz Stadium.

“Going in I knew they were a very well-pitched, well-coached team so it was going to be a pitchers’ duel,” Sampen said. “So we talked about mixing early all of my pitches and getting everything in the zone. Just make them beat you. Being able to throw all my pitches for strikes was probably the biggest thing today.”

›› Butler grad comes up big as WSU wins tourney opener

Sampen (5-0) allowed just one baserunner through 5.2 innings, but he issued back-to-back walks and hit a batter to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. But Sampen got UIC cleanup hitter Scott Ota to ground into an inning-ending force out to keep his no-hitter intact.

“Caleb Sampen was absolutely tremendous,” Mercer said. “He’s a guy you can really rely on, and he showed up today. Great players are tough and competitive, they love the spotlight and they love to be in the big moment, and Caleb’s that guy to a T.”

After Sampen got out of his only jam in the top of the sixth, the WSU offense scored six runs with two outs to blow things open with a 10-0 lead that marked the fifth consecutive game the Raiders have scored in double figures.

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“We know we’re capable of, and we had good at-bats all day,” said WSU No. 9 hitter Zach Weatherford, who was 2 for 3 with two RBIs.

Weatherford’s two-run single in the bottom of the fourth was the first hit of the game sparked the four-run frame.

Then his RBI bunt single with two outs in the sixth started the six-run onslaught.

“The call came from the dugout because the third baseman was back, and I just trusted it and put it down,” Weatherford said.

UIC manager Mike Dee, still stewing from a missed call a few minutes earlier on a pickoff throw to third base that would have ended the inning, earned an ejection just seconds after walking out to question whether Weatherford beat the throw at the first.

›› WSU offense in high gear

The Raiders added five more runs after the ejection on two-run singles by JD Orr and pinch-hitter Alex Alders and an RBI single by Peyton Burdick.

“We hammered balls the few innings and had nothing to show for it,” Mercer said. “Finally the competitiveness of our at-bats kind of wore on them and our ability to take balls and make (UIC starter Charle Cerny) be in the zone. And as good as he is, he eventually kind of lost feel.”

UIC scored its lone run on a play that put a scare into the WSU dugout. With the bases loaded and two outs, Raiders first baseman Gabe Snyder — the Horizon League Player of the Year — made a diving catch in foul territory in shallow right field and nearly threw out UIC’s Joshua Figueroa at the plate after he tagged up.

›› Snyder named Horizon League Player of the Year

Snyder hurt his left arm on the dive and had to come out of the game, but Mercer said he didn’t think the injury was serious.

“He just slammed the inside of his elbow and hopefully he just kind of hyper-extended it and kind of hit the funny bone,” Mercer said. “I almost yelled ‘don’t catch it.’ I didn’t care about that. We’re up by 10 runs. But players want to make plays. So you can’t take that competitiveness out of them.

“It was a great catch, but I just want to keep the best player maybe in program history healthy,” he added.

WSU goes into Saturday’s 12 p.m. game against the winner of the UIC-Milwaukee game needing to win one of two games to claim the title and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years.

If the UIC-Milwaukee winner beats Wright State in the first game Saturday, there will be a winner-take-all final at 4.

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Today in history: Jesse Owens dominates the Big Ten for Ohio State

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

BERLIN - 1936 :  Jesse Owens of the USA in action in the mens 200m at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany.  Owens won a total of four gold medals in the Olympics, winning the mens 100m final, 200m final and the long jump competiton as well as being part of the victorious USA 4x100m relay team. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images
BERLIN - 1936 : Jesse Owens of the USA in action in the mens 200m at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany. Owens won a total of four gold medals in the Olympics, winning the mens 100m final, 200m final and the long jump competiton as well as being part of the victorious USA 4x100m relay team. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)(Getty Images/Getty Images)

Did you know today is Jesse Owens Day? 

Well, there could be multiple Jesse Owens Days given his amazing career, but arguably his most dominant performances came 83 years ago today at the Big Ten track and field championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

At 3:15 he flashed down the track to win the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds, tying the world mark.

At 3:25 Jesse removed his sweat suit, bent over at the top of the broad jump runway and hurtled forward toward the take-off board. In his first and what was to be his only jump of the day he rocketed out 26 feet 8 ¼ inches, breaking the world record by more than half a foot.

At 3:34, just nine minutes later, Owens again slipped out of his sweats, this time for the 220-yard dash. He took his mark, went to the set position, was off with the gun and streaked home almost 15 yards ahead of the second man in 20.3 seconds, slashing three-tenths of a second from the world mark.

At exactly 4:00 p.m., 16 minutes later, he again took off his sweats and eyed the long row of barriers placed in position for the 220-yard low hurdles. Again the gun, and again there was Owens ripping away from the field, flying over the timbers to the tape. The time: 22.6 seconds, four-tenths of a second shaved from the world record.

(Keep in mind also this was back before Ohio State football made the Big House its second home every other year.) 

Owens of course went on to dominate at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, too, much to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler. 

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Sports Today: The surprisingly dramatic NBA playoffs

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 10:13 AM

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 24:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts late in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on May 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 24: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts late in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on May 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

While I was at the latest edition of The Hunter Greene Show on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field, the Houston Rockets pushed the unbeatable* Golden State Warriors to the brink of elimination in the NBA Western Conference Finals. 

Judging from the box score, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were good while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant played below their admittedly high expectations. 

With Andre Iguodala out, there’s not much need to check anyone else in the box score. (Dayton fans might like to know Xavier legend David West did pretty much nothing in his 11 minutes, though.)

*The obvious irony about Durant throwing away his chance to challenge LeBron James as the second-greatest player of all time to chase rings with the Warriors is the way it changed the dynamic of Golden State. 

That move necessitated GSW going from a team that beat you with depth to one that had virtually none and instead has to overwhelm teams with star power. 

That’s cool if everyone is healthy, but it is also a great risk. 

Given that I liked the first incarnation of the Warriors and can’t stand the super teams phenomenon, I guess I don’t mind seeing the experiment blow up — if it does. 

The defending champs still have a heartbeat, and it will take some guts to get it together and rally from a 3-games-to-2 deficit… 

Speaking of LeBron, he and his merry band of Cleveland Cavaliers could be done after facing off against the Boston Celtics in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight. 

The Silver Medal Series has been all home teams so far, but I am leaning toward the Cs in this one. 

James’ gang has played much better at home than on the road, but Boston was respectable for about three quarters despite losing the last game in Cleveland. 

If the Celtics can avoid getting rocked early — a big if — they should have a shot to close things out. 

Then again, LeBron might be due for another unstoppable performance. 

Regardless, this NBA playoffs that at one time looked like it would be pretty boring has the potential for a lot of drama over the next few days…

Plus if you really want to add some juice to your viewing experience, how about taking bets on who will be healthy after the game? 

While injuries became a dominant part of the narrative in the NFL last season, they’ve arguably had an even greater impact on the NBA postseason. 

The Warriors were missing Iguodala while Klay Thompson was apparently playing hurt and the Rockets’ Chris Paul came out of the game with a bad hamstring. 

Meanwhile, the other series likely wouldn’t be much of one if Boston weren’t missing its two best players...  

As for the aforementioned Hunter Greene, he was impressive in four-plus innings against the Lake County Captains

His eighth start for the Dayton Dragons was one of his best as he continued to show dazzling stuff and some intestinal fortitude. 

The 18-year-old pitched out of trouble — not all of his doing — twice before yielding a home run in the fifth inning. 

»ARCHDEACON: Greene has all the tools, and plenty of heart, too

Turns out the secrets to his recent upturn are establishing a consistent pregame routine and doing a better job with the pregame scouting report. 

Greene is young and raw, but he and the Dragons coaching staff seem to be attacking his development on multiple fronts. 

He has the type of fastball that can blow many hitters away, but he doesn’t seem to have any hesitation to go to his changeup or slider. 

Greene is already working hard on the mental side, too, which is noteworthy considering how many stories there are today of young prospects in the upper minors and even the majors who have a lot of arm talent but don’t know what to do when they can’t just dominate with their stuff… 

Cincinnati Reds prospect Hunter Greene overcame some adversity to turn in one of his best starts yet in Dayton.

And how about the big club? 

The Cincinnati Reds beat the Pirates 5-4 on getaway day to win their three-game series. 

Eugenio Suarez hit a grand slam, but Jesse Winker’s solo home run in the fifth ended up being the winning run for the Reds, who survived without closer Raisel Iglesias and got a strong start from Luis Castillo. 

Via Hal McCoy: 

Of his pitching, with his record leveled at 4-and-4, Castillo said, “Like last year, I’m just going out there to do my job and that’s all I’m feeling right now. My four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball and slider all were working today.”

Castillo said Suarez giving him a 4-0 lead was appreciatred, but it didn’t change his approach and he tried to pitch as if it was still 0-0.

“I wasn’t thinking about that 4-0 lead, but it is always good to have a four-run lead so I can more easily go out there and do my job,” he said.

Next up is a trial-by-fire for the pitching staff in Colorado, where Cincinnati’s terrible defense could also be a problem given the bigger outfield and tendency for their to be longer innings…

 

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Milton-Union senior makes a final push to state track

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 9:42 AM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 9:47 AM

Milton-Union senior Beyonce Bobbitt won the shot put in the D-II regional track and field meet at Piqua on Thu., May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

It was a given Milton-Union senior Beyonce Bobbitt would punch another ticket to the state track and field meet. Qualifying a combined seven times in the shot put and discus the previous three seasons makes her an annual favorite in those events.

“It’s rewarding to see all the hard work I’ve put into this to finally pay off,” said Bobbitt, who won the girls Division II regional shot put at Alexander Stadium on Thursday. “It’s a big confidence statement for next week.”

»NO JOKE: Northwestern teammates are a 1-3 punch

»REGIONAL TRACK: “It’s all about moving on”

The top four in each event advance to the season-ending high school state track and field meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus next week. The 4x800 relay was Thursday’s only running final, along with half the field events. All the other racing was to qualify for Saturday’s finals.

Miami East junior Blaine Brokschmidt won the pole vault during the first day of the D-II regional track and field meet at Piqua on Thursday, May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Bobbitt launched a winning heave of 39 feet, two inches. “I knew that I could do it,” she said. She’ll be a favorite to double in the discus on Saturday because she’s the defending regional champion in that event.

»IT’S A RECORD: Lakota East flash passes mark that stood since 1990

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track at Wayne

• As they have all season, Northwestern junior Adam Riedinger and sophomore teammate Korbin Spencer nearly dominated in their specialty. Riedinger led from his opening discus throw and won with a final heave (164-11). Spencer (159-4) was overtaken by runner-up Chase Smith of Eaton (164-6) and placed third.

Those 16 points were enough to vault Northwestern to the top of the boys first-day team scoring, 16-15 over runner-up Versailles.

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

»RELATED: Butler making surprise D-I baseball run

Riedinger will attempt to add a regional shot put title on Saturday. He was third at state in the discus last season and is looking to better that.

Northwestern discus throwers Adam Riedinger and Korbin Spencer went 1-3 in the D-II regional at Piqua on Thu., May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“That would mean the world to me (to win state),” he said. “That’s when it really counts.”

• Other area winners were Fenwick senior long jumper Jonathon Hoerlein (22-5.75) and Miami East junior pole vaulter Blaine Brokschmidt (15-0).

Hoerlein fouled his first two attempts, then launched what stood as the winner with his only remaining jump in flight competition.

»RELATED: Elks’ vaulters push each other to the limit

»OHSAA: No more stacking teams

• Boosted by senior sprinter Jalani Allen, defending D-II boys state champ Dunbar is in great qualifying position to contend for the regional boys title.

Allen is attempting a tough meet-opening double, qualifying second in the 110 high hurdles (14.58) and first in the 100 (11.24). Those events are back to back. He also was third in 200 qualifying (22.32).

Tippecanoe (right) placed second in the girls 4x800 relay during the first day of the D-II regional track and field meet at Piqua on Thursday, May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dunbar fared the best of any area team by placing fifth in the 4x800 relay, but the Wolverines are in contention to win the three remaining relays. Dunbar placed first in the 4x200 (1:29.18) and 4x100 (43.32) qualifying and second to Thurgood Marshall in the 4x400 relay (3:20.95). Dunbar senior Nigel Beal also was second in 300 hurdles qualifying (39.24).

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• Springfield Shawnee sophomore Robie Glass posted the top qualifying time in the 200 (22.14). Glass will play a big part in Shawnee’s bid to push Dunbar for a team title. He’s cleared 6-8 four times and is the defending D-II state high jump champ. That event will go on Saturday. He also ran on Shawnee’s finals-qualifying 4x200 (1:30.05) and 4x400 (3:21.11) relays.

Shawnee also advanced in the 4x100 relay (43.72) and senior Jack McCrory in the 100 (11.35).

»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

• Saturday’s field events start at 11 a.m. and running finals at 12:30 p.m.

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