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Ravens-Falcons inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Falcons inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 15 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — After a 44-16 win over Tampa Bay in the preseason opener, the Ravens hope to build on what was an up-and-down performance from their starting units in their first live-game action of the summer.

Coach John Harbaugh said starters will likely play most of the first half against the Atlanta Falcons, but that’s always subject to change based on how the game progresses and preferences to rest certain starters more than others. Of course, starters are expected to receive their most extensive action in next week’s all-important third preseason game.

Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, cornerback Lardarius Webb, defensive tackle Marcus Spears, and tight end Ed Dickson were among the notable names scratched for Thursday’s game. Spears has been dealing with a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason opener while Yanda and Webb are still practicing on a limited basis.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Dallas Clark both suited up to at least go through pre-game warmups and weren’t listed as inactive, but it remained to be seen prior to the game whether either would play against the Falcons. Stokley took part in two full practices earlier this week while Clark only had one.

(Updated 7:35 p.m. — Clark was scratched for Thursday’s game right before the kickoff.)

For the Falcons, future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez will not play Thursday night.

Thursday night marks the 10th time these teams have met in the preseason, with the Ravens holding a 6-3 edge. The regular-season series is tied 2-2 with the Falcons winning their most recent meeting in 2010.

The Ravens will wear their purple jerseys with white pants while Atlanta wears its white tops and white pants.

Here are the inactives…

BALTIMORE
CB Lardarius Webb
DT Marcus Spears
CB Chris Johnson
LB Jameel McClain
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
G Marshal Yanda
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Deonte Thompson
TE Ed Dickson
TE Dennis Pitta

ATLANTA
TE Tony Gonzalez
FB Bradie Ewing
RB Jason Snelling
LB Sean Weatherspoon

Be sure to follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening as Glenn Clark, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium.

 

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Ravens-Falcons preseason primer: Five players to watch

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Ravens-Falcons preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 14 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Looking to build on an uneven performance from their starting units in the preseason opener, the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium for their first live-game action at home since last season in hosting the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Though starters won’t see their most extensive action until next week against Carolina, the first-team units will likely play deep into the second quarter before giving way to backups.

“It will be somewhere in that neighborhood,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Usually the second preseason game is a half, but again, like we say every time we play a preseason game, it will depend on different guys. Different guys will be on different plans, so it’s hard to say exactly.”

The second preseason game is often the best opportunity for younger players to make their biggest impression with the coaching staff since starters often play into the third quarter in the third preseason game. As a result, many rookies and backups won’t receive as many live-game reps again until the fourth preseason game after most 53-man roster decisions have already been made internally.

With veteran additions being made at wide receiver and tight end over the last week, fringe players at those positions find themselves in a precarious position trying to stand out despite the reality of there now being one or two fewer roster spots available to win.

“If you play well enough, you’re going to make it,” Harbaugh said. “And if you play well enough and you don’t make it here, you’ll make it somewhere else. It’s really more of a competition against yourself and how well you can play and how good you can get and then see what happens. That other stuff is pretty much out of their control, and I think they understand that.”

The Ravens and Falcons will meet in the preseason for the 10th time as Baltimore holds a 6-3 record. The two teams are tied 2-2 in the all-time regular-season series as Atlanta won the most recent meeting in 2010.

After last week’s 44-16 win over the Buccaneers, the Ravens are now 41-27 all-time in the preseason and 14-7 in the Harbaugh era. Baltimore has now won 13 of its last 17 preseason games and has produced seven wins in the last eight preseason contests played at M&T Bank Stadium.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released.

Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will be in question. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is not expected to play as he continues to increase his level of activity in 11-on-11 sessions during practices. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda just returned to the practice field on Monday on a limited basis but could take part in the third preseason game of the summer.

Newly-signed tight end Dallas Clark is not expected to play against the Falcons while veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley could see some very limited action as each player tries to learn offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s system. Both are good bets to receive extensive action in next week’s nationally-televised game against the Panthers.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: TE Ed Dickson (hamstring), WR Deonte Thompson (foot), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder), LB Jameel McClain (neck), OL Ryan Jensen (foot), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DOUBTFUL: DT Marcus Spears (hamstring), CB Lardarius Webb (knee), CB Chris Johnson (undisclosed)
QUESTIONABLE: OL Ramon Harewood (knee), LB Bryan Hall (hamstring), WR Marlon Brown (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: WR David Reed (groin), S James Ihedigbo (neck), CB Chykie Brown (undisclosed)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. WR Tandon Doss

With Stokley still in the process of picking up the offensive system, Doss must show the coaching staff that he can be a viable option working out of the slot after a disappointing performance in the preseason opener. It’s largely been a quiet summer for the third-year receiver who has a reputation for good hands and running crisp routes in practice.

Next week, you would expect the Ravens to take long looks at both Stokley and Clark working the middle of the field in the passing game, meaning Doss has a critical opportunity against the Falcons to show he can be more than just an afterthought offensively. It’s time for Doss to show why the Ravens thought highly enough of him to draft him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.

2. DT Terrence Cody

The fourth-year defensive lineman has been maligned for much of his run in Baltimore, but Cody has received positive reviews from the coaching staff this summer as he’s finally healthy after offseason hip and elbow surgeries. His roster standing appears to be safer now than it was at the start of camp, but he’s fighting for playing time in what’s shaping up to be a crowded defensive line rotation.

Cody may never live up to his original second-round billing, but the Ravens need a strong option to back up Haloti Ngata at nose tackle, which will allow defensive coordinator Dean Pees to be more creative in moving the Pro Bowl defensive tackle around when warranted. There’s no reason why Cody can’t feast against the Falcons’ second-team offense and further impress the coaching staff as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

3. LB Courtney Upshaw

Many have been surprised to see Upshaw work so extensively with the starting defense — and ahead of pass-rush standout Elvis Dumervil — but all you have to do is focus on his ability against the run to see why the Ravens are high on him. He has shed the excess weight he was carrying in the spring and looks to be carving out his spot as the starting strongside outside linebacker who will play against offensively-balanced teams in early-down situations.

Upshaw’s ability against the run allows Pees to be more judicious in how he uses both Dumervil and starting rush linebacker Terrell Suggs, which will hopefully keep both veterans fresher over the course of games and the entire season. He doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, but Upshaw will factor heavily in what the Ravens expect to be a stout run defense.

4. LB Arthur Brown

Brown’s athleticism and ability in pass coverage have been impressive, but he just doesn’t look the part of a three-down linebacker right now with his 235-pound frame, which is probably a generous listing. That said, Brown will serve an important role as a nickel linebacker spelling Josh Bynes in passing situations.

The second-round pick may not become a full-time starter until he can benefit from a full offseason to put on 10 pounds of muscle, but the Ravens struggled to cover tight ends over the short-to-intermediate middle portion of the field over the last few years and Brown can be a major boost in that department. Brown has a bright future, but he has a lot of work to do in order to close the gap between him and Bynes for the starting weakside inside linebacker spot next to veteran Daryl Smith.

5. TE Matt Furstenburg

Furstenburg is just one of several young players who are feeling the effects of the recent veteran signings as he now trails Ed Dickson, Visanthe Shiancoe, and Clark and is battling veteran Billy Bajema for the fourth spot on the depth chart. The Maryland product’s most realistic destination is the practice squad at this rate, but he will have an opportunity to distinguish himself Thursday like Doss and the other young wide receivers fighting for playing time and roster spots.

A factor that many will overlook in the tight end battle is blocking and neither Shiancoe nor Clark are particularly strong in that department. Of course, much will depend on the status of Dickson’s injured hamstring in a couple weeks, but there could be a potential spot available to Bajema or Furstenburg if their blocking ability proves to be a necessary asset.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 13 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Atlanta Dream (Sunday 3pm from Atlanta live on NBA TV); Boxing: Daniel Geale vs. Darren Barker (Saturday 9:45pm from Atlantic City live on HBO)

10. George Thorogood/Buddy Guy (Tuesday 8pm Pier Six Pavilion); Huey Lewis & The News (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap), Chicago (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Uproar Festival feat. Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction, New Politics, Coheed and Cambria, Middle Class Rut (Friday 2pm Jiffy Lube Live), Jimmy Buffett (Saturday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live); Ted Nugent (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), En Vogue (Saturday 9pm Rams Head Live); Candlebox (Tuesday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Blues Traveler (Sunday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Bret Michaels (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); JD McPherson (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere), Edwin McCain Band (Saturday 7:30pm Birchmere); Great White (Friday 8pm House of Rock); Cherry Poppin’ Daddies (Saturday 8:30pm The Hamilton); Hot August Blues feat. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals/Galactic (Saturday 12pm Oregon Ridge Park)

Perhaps I’ll do a little drinking Tuesday night at the Thorogood show.

Obviously there’s no drinking allowed at a Jimmy Buffett show though. Obviously.

Judge all you want. Blues Traveler OWNS.

Last time Grace Potter was in town…she really killed it.

9. Feast of St. Gabriel Italian Festival (Saturday & Sunday Little Italy); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Monday throughout Baltimore County); Paul Rodriguez (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv); Jobs“, “Kick-Ass 2” and “Paranoia” out in theaters (Friday); Olympus Has Fallen” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Just reading the words “feast” and “Italian” in the same sentence make something really weird happen in my pants…

I assume someone will be working on a replication of my fiancé’s buffalo chicken shells…

“I Wish It Was Christmas Today.”

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Second half surge leads Loyola past Air Force

Posted on 16 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Second-Half Surge Leads Men’s Lacrosse Over Air Force In Mile High Classic

DENVER – Loyola University Maryland scored five of the second half’s first six goals, and the Greyhounds raced pushed out to a six-goal lead late in the third quarter as they defeated the United States Air Force Academy, 13-7, on Saturday afternoon in the Whitman’s Sampler Mile High Classic on Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Loyola (5-2 overall, 2-0 ECAC) led 4-2 after the end of the first quarter when Zach Herreweyers scored his first collegiate goal with 12.3 on the clock off a Justin Ward assist, but the teams managed just one goal each in the second 15 minutes, and the Greyhounds were up 5-3 at the break.

Nikko Pontrello, who led all players with a career-best four goals, scored his second of the game 2:37 into the third quarter after Davis Butts rolled off a check near midfield got free to the top of the box and slid a pass to Pontrello on the crease.

Air Force (4-4, 1-1) responded just over four minutes later as Kyle Cassidy scored on an eight-yard shot at 8:07.

Just nine seconds later, however, Pontrello scored again, igniting a 4-0 Greyhounds’ run. Harry Kutner picked up the ground ball off a Blake Burkhart faceoff win, sent a pass to Ward who slipped it again to Pontrello near the crease.

The Greyhounds picked up their next goal in transition that started when Jack Runkel made a save on a one-versus-one attempt by a Falcons’ midfielder. Reid Acton picked up the ground ball and sent an outlet pass to Pat Laconi who ran into the box. He shot a pass to Scott Ratliff who whipped a 12-yard shot into the goal at 7:27.

Ratliff was in on the next goal, as well when he caused a turnover on a Falcons clear, ran it into the Loyola zone and fed a past to Herreweyers. The freshman spun around an Air Force defender and scored at 6:10.

Loyola tacked on another goal with 90 ticks left in the quarter as Sean O’Sullivan on a Ward assist from up top of the box.

Loyola’s starting attack of Pontrello, Ward and Herreweyers combined for nine goals and seven assists, three of those goals coming during the 4-0 run. Ward, who was named the game’s most valuable player, scored two goals and tied his career-high with five assists. Pontrello set his career-high with four goals to go with two assists, and Herreweyers scored his first three collegiate goals.

Less than a minute after O’Sullivan’s extra-man goal, Air Force ended the Loyola run and started one of its own. Tommy McKee hit a seven-yard shot off an Erik Smith feed with 32 seconds left on the third-quarter clock, and the Falcons got another goal 55 seconds into the fourth quarter when Christopher Allen rolled off a check and shot high-to-high from over 10 yards out.

Mike Crampton, who also scored the game’s first goal for Air Force, completed the 3-0 Falcons run with a score on an Allen assist at 6:33, cutting Loyola’s lead back to three, 10-7.

Herreweyers, however, responded to complete his hat trick at 4:35, scoring on the doorstep of the crease when Chris Layne dodged hard to the center of the box and sent a pass down low.

Ward and Pontrello then tacked on goals in the final 3:36 to seal the Greyhounds’ victory.

Loyola had another big run early in the game after Crampton scored tehg ame’s first goal at 11:48. Phil Dobson scored 22 seconds later with a step-down shot from 10 yards, the first of three-straight Loyola goals.

Ward hit Pontrello with a pass on the right side of the crease, and he scored at 10:30. Ward then dodged hard to the left from behind the crease and scored with a sidearm shot.

Loyola benefited from a solid possession game, as the Greyhounds won 15-of-24 faceoffs. Burkhart was successful on 14-of-22 restarts.

The Greyhounds also controlled a significant advantage in ground balls, 36-22, led by Ratliff’s five. Ratliff also caused three turnovers, while Laconi had a pair.

Runkel made nine saves in goal for the Greyhounds, seven in the second half.

Loyola is back in action with its final midweek game of the regular-season. The Greyhounds travel down I-95 on Wednesday, March 20, for a 7 p.m. game at Georgetown University.

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Loyola battles Air Force Saturday in Mile High Classic

Posted on 15 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Opponent Air Force Falcons | Whitman’s Sampler Mile-HIgh Classic
Date Saturday, March 16, 2013
Time 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) | 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Location Denver, Colo. | Sports Authority Field at Mile High
TV | Radio ESPN3
Series Record Loyola leads, 6-1
Last Meeting Loyola 15, Air Force 8 – March 17, 2012, in Baltimore


Game Data

Loyola University Maryland returns to ECAC Lacrosse League action on Saturday, March 16, 2013, when it participates in the Whitman’s Sampler Mile High Classic, an Inside Lacrosse Experience.

The Greyhounds will play the Air Force Academy at Sports Authority at Mile High, home of the National Football League’s Denver Broncos. Faceoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Mountain time, 4 p.m. Eastern.

Notre Dame and Denver follow the Greyhounds and Falcons with the Classic’s second game, starting at 4:30 p.m. Mountain.

 

Follow The Action

Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3, the broadband arm of ESPN. Mark Dixon will call the play-by-play, and Jamie Munro will provide the analysis.

 

Series History

Loyola and Air Force will meet for the eighth time in series history when the teams take the field Saturday, the fourth time in ECAC Lacrosse League action.

The Greyhounds hold a 6-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Falcons after winning the March 17, 2012, contest, 15-8.

Air Force reeled off four-straight second-quarter goals in last year’s game to take a 7-4 lead on Ryland De Pol’s goal with 2:42 to go before halftime. J.P. Dalton, who won 18-of-26 faceoffs in the game, scored off a Scott Ratliff assist 16 seconds into the second half to ignite a 10-0 Loyola run that would put the Greyhounds in control of the game.

Mike Sawyer scored three goals in last year’s game, while Davis Butts had a career-best four assists. Ratliff tallied two goals and an assist while picking up seven ground balls, and Sean O’Sullivan and Chris Layne each scored twice.

Since Air Force joined the ECAC in 2009, Loyola is 2-1 against the Falcons with the lone loss coming on May 19, 2011, when Air Force took an 8-6 decision in Colorado Springs.

 

In The Polls

Loyola sits at No. 8 in the USILA Coaches and 10th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media polls.

 

Inside Lacrosse Events

Saturday’s game will be the second Inside Lacrosse-run event that the Greyhounds have competed in.

Loyola lost, 11-9, to Notre Dame, another participating in this year’s Mile High Classic, on March 6, 2010, in the Konica-Minolta Face-Off Classic at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

It will also be Loyola’s second game at what is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Greyhounds played Denver in a regular-season game on May 2, 2010, and lost, 12-4, to the Pioneers.

 

Last Time Out

Duke scored five goals in the fourth quarter to overcome a deficit to start the period, and the host Blue Devils held off Loyola for a 9-8 non-conference victory in Durham, N.C., last Friday night.

Phil Dobson broke a 4-4 tie with his first goal of the season with 7:28 to go in the third quarter, and the Greyhounds carried the 5-4 lead into the final 15 minutes.

Duke’s Case Matheis took a Jordan Wolf feed from behind and scored with 13:59 left in regulation after Wolf picked up a ground ball when a Duke shot went wide of the cage and directly to him.

Josh Offit then put the Blue Devils in front for the first time since the second quarter with a goal 1:33 later. Sean O’Sullivan tied the game for Loyola with an extra-man goal at 10:36, but Duke tallied the next two goals to go up 8-6.

Justin Ward led the Greyhounds offensively, scoring twice and adding an assist.

Scott Ratliff scored a goal in transition and had game-highs of seven ground balls and four caused turnovers. Joe Fletcher picked up five ground balls, and Pat Laconi scored once, had a pair of ground balls and a caused turnover.

 

Ratliff Earns ECAC Award

Scott Ratliff was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, March 11, after scoring a goal, causing four turnovers and picking up seven ground balls against Duke last week.

It was the second time in as many weeks that a Loyola player has earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Week honors after Jack Runkel won the award on March 4 following a week with 18 saves in two games.

Ratliff has now won an ECAC weekly award five times in his career after picking up three last season and one the year before.

 

Davis Off The Ground

Davis Butts is second on the team this season with 25 ground balls and has picked up five in four of the Greyhounds’ five contests: Delaware, Maryland, UMBC and Bellarmine. He also had two in the game at Towson.

Through five games this season, he is already more than halfway to his total of 40 a year ago. He has also scored at least one point in all but one game this year and has three goals and five assists.

 

Ward’s Big Night

The foul weather did not slow Justin Ward on Tuesday against UMBC, as the junior finished with seven goals and three assists for 10 points. His goal and point outputs were career-highs.

He became the first player to score at least seven goals in a game since Gavin Prout tallied eight in a 19-11 win at Hobart on April 28, 2001.

Ward’s 10-point effort was the first 10-point game for a Greyhound since Tim Goettelmann tallied the same amount in a 19-9 win on March 25, 2000, against Fairfield. In that game, Goettelmann scored four goals and had six assists. Later that season, he would score seven goals on May 16 in the NCAA First Round against Notre Dame.

His seven goals are tied with Ohio State’s Logan Schuss and Army’s Garrett Thul for the most in a game this season, and his 10 points tie Schuss for game-high honors, as well.

He then chipped in two goals and an assists on Saturday versus Bellarmine.

With 43 career assists, Ward is now tied for 18th in Loyola’s Division I history with Gunnar Goettelmann who registered the same total in 1999-2001 and 2003.

Through six games this year, Ward leads the team with 16 goals and 11 assists for 27 points.

 

Pontrello Puts Up Points, Too

Somewhat lost in Justin Ward’s 10-point night against UMBC were the career-high numbers put up by fellow attacker Nikko Pontrello. The sophomore finished with career-bests in goals (3), assists (3) and points (6).

It was his first career multi-goal game, and his assists exceeded his previous best of two.

Pontrello now has three multi-point games this season after scoring a goal and assisting on two at Towson on February 20 and tallying one of each against Bellarmine. In four games, he has six goals, and his eight assists are second-most on the team.

 

Back-To-Back Hat Tricks

Mike Sawyer recorded his second hat trick in as many games last week when he tallied three over a six-minute stretch of action against Bellarmine. He also finished with three goals against UMBC earlier in the week.

Sawyer scored with 1:46 to play in the first half and then twice within 20 seconds in the third quarter, his third goal of the day putting Loyola in front, 7-2, with 11:17 left in the stanza.

He now has 20 hat tricks in his career, one of only four players currently active to reach that plateau. Colgate’s Peter Baum leads the nation with 29, while Army’s Garrett Thul has 26. Saywer is tied with Cornell’s Steve Mock with 20 each.

 

Eighth To 100

With his goal at 9:25 in the third quarter against UMBC, Mike Sawyer became the eighth player in Loyola men’s lacrosse history to score 100 in his career, the seventh in the program’s Division I history.

Sawyer joined a list that includes Gary Hanley (151), Pat Lamon (133), Gewas Schindler (120), Tim O’Shea (115), Kevin Beach (114), John Carroll (112) and Chris Colbeck (108).

 

Layne Keeps Tallying Points

Chris Layne had his fourth multi-point game in as many contests this season, recording two goals and an assist for the Greyhounds against UMBC after tallying the same amount three days prior against Maryland.

Through six games this year, Layne has scored nine goals and has five assists.

Last season, he had a total of five multi-point games while finishing with 11 goals and 14 assists. With his two goals against Delaware, Maryland and UMBC, Layne has more than doubled his multi-goal games during his time at Loyola to five. He also had one as a sophomore in 2010 for North Carolina.

At Delaware in the season-opener, Layne tallied the first and last goals of the game for the Greyhounds, the initial coming at 12:17 in the first quarter, and the second with 4.4 seconds left in the fourth. He also assisted on a Scott Ratliff transition goal just over five minutes into the third quarter.

 

Spreading The Scoring

Nine Loyola players scored goals at Towson with seven recording two or more points, and nine was also the number of scorers versus Maryland and UMBC, and seven had two or more points against the Retrievers. Against Towson, Mike Sawyer and Justin Ward led the way with four points, Chris Layne and Kevin Ryan tallied three, while Nikko Pontrello, Sean O’Sullivan and Brian Schultz each recorded two.

Last season, Loyola had just two games with seven players scoring two or more points (Michigan, Air Force).

 

Two At The ‘X’

Loyola has had two primary faceoff men in their six games this season. Brendan Donovan started the season at Delaware, and he then took all but two of the 33 restarts against UMBC. He won 19-of-31 against the Retrievers where his 19 wins were the most by a Loyola player since Dan Kallaugher went 27-of-33 in the NCAA First Round at Albany on May 13, 2007. He also went 7-of-14 versus Bellarmine

In the Greyhounds’ other three games, Blake Burkhart took the majority of the restarts, winning 17-of-28, a career-high, at Towson, and 14-of-25 against Maryland. Burkhart then all 21 face-offs at Duke, winning 12.

 

Acton Active On Defense

Reid Acton tied his career-high on against Delaware with five caused turnovers to lead all players. He also picked up five ground balls, one shy of Scott Ratliff’s team-best six. He was part of a unit that held Delaware’s starting attack to just three goals in the game. Acton also caused five turnovers last season against Ohio State.

Acton has logged at least two ground balls in all but one game (at Towson) this year.

 

A Lot Of Everything

The adage that a player does a little bit of everything does not necessarily apply to long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff. The Loyola senior does a lot, as he led the team last year in ground balls (88) and caused turnovers (37), was fifth in goals (12) and seventh in assists (7). His 37 caused turnovers were second-most in Loyola history – behind P.T. Ricci’s 51 in 2009 – since the stats became official that year.

Ratliff, who was also an USILA All-America Third Team member, an All-ECAC First Team honoree and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year.

He has scored a goal in three of the Greyhounds’ five games this year, at Delaware and versus Maryland and UMBC to bring his career totals to 20 goals and 10 assists. He is currently second among active long-poles in scoring behind Bryant’s Mason Poli who has 35 goals and 11 assists.

With his game-opening goal against Canisius in the NCAA First Round, he set the Loyola single-season record for long-pole scoring, surpassing the record of 16 points set by current assistant coach Matt Dwan his senior season in 1995 when he tallied 11 goals and five assists and earned All-America honors.

 

Helmet Stickers

Loyola players are wearing three stickers on their helmets this season to remember those who have passed away. The stickers are in memory of Adam Pomper, a member of the 2012 team who passed away on June 12, 2012, Mandy O’Sullivan, mother of current players Sean and Ryan O’Sullivan who died in March 2012 from pancreatic cancer, and the 26 victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting in December 2012 where Loyola put on a youth lacrosse clinic in January.

 

Well-Represented In MLL Draft

Five members of the Loyola men’s lacrosse team were selected in the top 26 of the January 11 Major League Lacrosse draft. The Greyhounds tied Virginia for the most draft picks in the selection process.

Josh Hawkins and Mike Sawyer were both taken in the first round, going fifth and eighth overall to the Hamilton Nationals and Charlotte Hounds, respectively.

Scott Ratliff was the first pick of the second round, going ninth to the Boston Cannons, and Davis Butts was taken early in the third round, 19th overall to the Denver Outlaws.

Joining Hawkins in Hamilton will be Reid Acton, the team’s fourth round pick, 26th overall.

Sawyer will be joined in Charlotte by former teammate Eric Lusby who was the top waiver pick after the NCAA season ended in early June. After missing the majority of the MLL season with an injury, the NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player made his MLL debut on July 28 at Long Island and scored a goal. He then tallied three goals  in an August 11 win over Rochester.

 

Newtown Youth Clinic

Fourteen members of the Loyola men’s lacrosse team took time from their holiday vacation to travel to Newtown, Conn., for a clinic with the Newtown Lacrosse Association.

Led by freshman Jason Crane, the Greyhounds worked with more than 100 elementary and junior-high school-age players, many of whom attended Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shooting that killed 26 took place in December.

 

Preseason Accolades

Six Loyola players were named to the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America teams: defender Joe Fletcher and short-stick midfielder Josh Hawkins (first team); attackman Mike Sawyer and long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff (second); midfielder Davis Butts (third); and, defender Reid Acton (honorable mention).

All six earned All-America honors last season with Sawyer earned Second Team honors and Ratliff was named to the Third Team. Acton, Butts, Fletcher and Acton earned Honorable Mention along with graduate student Eric Lusby.

In his first year as a starter, Fletcher was named to the NCAA and ECAC Championships All-Tournament Teams and earned a reputation as one of the top defenders in the nation. In 19 games as a sophomore, Fletcher caused 26 turnovers, second most on the team, and had 41 ground balls.

Hawkins has continued to be one of the top defensive midfielders in the nation and garnered considerable respect nationally for his play during the NCAA Championships. He earned NCAA All-Tournament honors and helped the Greyhounds limit Notre Dame and Maryland to a combined eight goals on Championships weekend. In addition to his six goals and two assists in 15 games last year, Hawkins was second on the team with 63 ground balls.

Sawyer was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top player last season when he scored 52 goals and assisted on 10 more and was named the team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. During the regular-season, he led the ECAC in goals and goals per game while earning All-ECAC First Team honors. He became the second player to score 50 or more goals in a season and was joined by a third on last year’s team.

Ratliff continued to be one of the top long-stick midfielders in the nation and set a Loyola scoring record for the position last year. He finished with 12 goals and seven assists, exceeding current Loyola Assistant Coach Matt Dwan’s previous record for a long-stick midfielder set in 1995. In addition to his scoring, he tallied 88 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers while earning ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, ECAC Championships Most Valuable Player, NCAA All-Tournament Team and team co-defenisve player of the year honors.

Butts was a first-line midfielder for the Greyhounds for the second year in a row. He excelled as a dodger and finisher and ranked fourth on the team in points (35) and third in goals scored (21). A versatile player, Butts also saw plenty of action on the wings of faceoffs and in the defensive midfield where he picked up 40 ground balls.

Acton will enter 2013 having started on the Greyhounds’ defense each of the last three years. He finished the 2012 season with 44 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers, while helping Loyola record a 7.21 goals allowed per game average, the fifth-best mark in Division I. The Greyhounds set a pair of defensive records during Championship Weekend, holding Notre Dame and Maryland to a combined eight goals in the two games and allowing the Terrapins just three in the title match.

 

Toomey Receives Morris Touchstone Award

Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey was named the ECAC Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven-year career, and in December, he received the coaches association’s Morris Touchstone Award as the national coach of the year.

The Greyhounds became the second team in USILA Coaches Poll history to start a season unranked and ascend to the No. 1 spot in the rankings. The only other team was Duke in 2007 – a year after the Blue Devils had their season suspended in March – which accomplished the feat after being unranked in the first poll, moving to second in the next version and first in the third. Duke was knocked from its perch as No. 1 that season when it lost to the Greyhounds at the First Four in San Diego.

The win over Canisius in the First Round was the 60th victory of his coaching career, becoming the fourth coach in Loyola history to win 60 or more – Dave Cottle (181-70, 1983-2001), Charles Wenzel (62-104, 1954-1970), Jay Connor (61-46, 1975-1982).  Toomey’s .640 winning percentage trails only Cottle’s .721 at Loyola.

 

Big Runs

Last season, runs of three-plus goals were critical in the Greyhounds success, as they had runs of 3-0 or better in all 19 games. In all, Loyola scored three or more in a row on 37 occasions last year.

The Greyhounds have opened the 2013 season in similar fashion as they scored three-straight in the second quarter to take a 4-2 lead against Delaware after trailing, 2-1. They then had two runs of 3-0 or better at Towson.

Against UMBC, Loyola had a 3-0 first-half run before putting together a 10-0 stretch in the third and fourth quarters. The Greyhounds then had a 4-0 run that spanned both halves to help beat Bellarmine

The game against Maryland marked the first time since May 5, 2011, against Fairfield that the Greyhounds did not put up a run of 3-0 or better.

 

Second-Half Success

The Greyhounds outscored opponents 66-22 in the third quarters of games, and 123-63 overall in the second half (including overtime), last season. The second-half scoring continued a trend from 2011 when Loyola outscored opponents, 69-52, after halftime (including two overtime goals), and 77-56.

This year, Loyola is outscoring opponents 23-10 in the third quarter and 38-28 overall after halftime.

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Ravens maintain longest odds of remaining teams to win Super Bowl

Posted on 14 January 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

Odds to win the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII

New England Patriots                 1/1

San Francisco 49ers                  2/1

Atlanta Falcons                         11/2

Baltimore Ravens                       15/2

 

2013 Super Bowl XLVII – Exact Super Bowl Matchups

Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons                   9/1

Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers            6/1

New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons             9/4

New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers      5/6

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“The Reality Check” Final Regular Season Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Final Regular Season Power Rankings

Posted on 02 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (32)

Okay, so no Josh McDaniels. Umm…Marty-ball?

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (30)

Mike Mularkey: “Are you sure you didn’t want to fire me?”

30. Arizona Cardinals (31)

I cannot believe they’re really considering hiring Todd Haley. OH.MY.GOD.

29. Oakland Raiders (29)

Now they get ready for their Super Bowl…the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine.

28. Detroit Lions (28)

The problem for Jim Schwartz is that he’s a former defensive coach for a team that can’t play defense.

27. Philadelphia Eagles (27)

Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole tells us the Eagles could keep Michael Vick around if they hire Chip Kelly.

26. Cleveland Browns (26)

While the Browns’ first choice is the same Chip Kelly, no one’s first choice EVER has been the Cleveland Browns.

25. New York Jets (23)

QUARTERBACKS FOR SALE!!!!!!!!!!

24. Tennessee Titans (25)

Check back in with me in five minutes to confirm Mike Munchak still hasn’t been fired yet.

23. Buffalo Bills (24)

I think a Ken Whisenhunt/Russ Grimm combo would be a good fit there.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)

Do you focus more on what went wrong? Or do you focus more on how to build off of seven wins?

21. Miami Dolphins (17)

At least they have a quarterback.

20. St. Louis Rams (18)

Are they as close as their record would make you believe?

19. San Diego Chargers (21)

If Peyton Manning isn’t in the AFC West, they win the thing and save Norv Turner again.

18. New Orleans Saints (16)

I’ll go ahead and assume they win 13 games next season.

17. Carolina Panthers (19)

By keeping Ron Rivera, they’d give up potential “most desirable location” status for coaches.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (20)

If they had a healthy Ben Roethisberger for 16 games they would have won the division. Unless the Ravens had a healthy Suggs/Ngata/Webb/Lewis. I guess what I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter.

15. Dallas Cowboys (13)

What the eff do you do here?

14. Chicago Bears (14)

I’d want this job.

13. New York Giants (15)

“Hynocerous” is one of the Top 5 nicknames in football this year.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Reality Check Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

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The Reality Check Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 27 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (32)

Who’s a fit here? Josh McDaniels?

31. Arizona Cardinals (31)

At this point I have to assume Whisenhunt is gone. Players openly bitching there.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (29)

I can’t wait until they go 7-9 next year and somehow make the playoffs with Tim Tebow as quarterback.

29. Oakland Raiders (30)

I ASSUME Dennis Allen is safe, but you absolutely never know.

28. Detroit Lions (27)

But that was at least fun to watch Saturday night.

27. Philadelphia Eagles (28)

Nice of them to give Michael Vick a farewell show.

26. Cleveland Browns (26)

I honestly wouldn’t want the job of having to solve this puzzle.

25. Tennessee Titans (25)

Jake Locker gets another year before he’s fully labeled a bust.

24. Buffalo Bills (24)

I really have nothing to say about the Buffalo Bills.

23. New York Jets (20)

HIGH-LAIR-EE-USS.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (21)

I wish I had paid enough attention to the Bucs to know whose fault their collapse was.

21. San Diego Chargers (23)

“You think Jon Gruden would go there?” is the question you’ll hear most related to the Bolts in the coming weeks.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (16)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

19. Carolina Panthers (19)

Is the late push enough for Ron Rivera to keep his job?

18. St. Louis Rams (22)

They can finish ABOVE .500…

17. Miami Dolphins (18)

Please beat New England.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Reality Check Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

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The Reality Check Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 20 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (30)

We all knew they’d end up back here.

31. Arizona Cardinals (32)

Wha…what?

30. Oakland Raiders (31)

Don’t fail me now, Seabass.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (29)

They’ll finish the season lower.

28. Philadelphia Eagles (28)

LeSean McCoy is playing WHY?

27. Detroit Lions (25)

Stunning mess.

26. Cleveland Browns (24)

We knew it wouldn’t last.

25. Tennessee Titans (27)

But Jake Locker still stinks.

24. Buffalo Bills (23)

Hope they felt comfortable North of the Border.

23. San Diego Chargers (19)

Gave up?

22. St. Louis Rams (20)

They can still finish above .500.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17)

Completely fell apart.

20. New York Jets (18)

VICKMANIA!

19. Carolina Panthers (26)

They might be a year away.

18. Miami Dolphins (22)

Like Republicans, Fins fans want Bush back.

17. New Orleans Saints (21)

Did that whole Sean Payton thing ever get figured out?

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Reality Check Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

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The Reality Check Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 13 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Arizona Cardinals (31)

Worst game ever?

31. Oakland Raiders (32)

Congratulations on not being the Cardinals?

30. Kansas City Chiefs (29)

Normalcy likely still not fully returned.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (28)

So do I play Montell Owens next week?

28. Philadelphia Eagles (30)

I’d like to watch Jason Avant’s catch every day of the week.

27. Tennessee Titans (26)

Think they wouldn’t like to have Joe Flacco?

26. Carolina Panthers (27)

The Gus Johnson-Cam Newton connection is something I can support.

25. Detroit Lions (21)

Still think they’re better than their record.

24. Cleveland Browns (25)

Would you have ever believed there’d be a point they were above the Lions on this list?

23. Buffalo Bills (20)

That’s the sound of Fred Jackson owners scrambling.

22. Miami Dolphins (19)

Starting to wonder if they’re even a year away.

21. New Orleans Saints (17)

They probably needed some good news.

20. St. Louis Rams (22)

Wait…who?

19. San Diego Chargers (24)

I miss Jarret Johnson.

18. New York Jets (23)

Worst 6-7 team ever.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15)

Are they any good?

(16-1 on Page 2…)

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