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#pounditFriday, January 28, 2022

Stories by Aaron Mansfield:

Oregon LB somehow forces a fumble while lying on his back

The way football players are coached to protect the ball nowadays, it takes a lot to strip a ball-carrier of the pigskin. You’ve got to hit the ball at just the right angle, with just the right amount of force. Forcing a fumble is an underappreciated accomplishment.

That makes it all the more amazing that Oregon sophomore linebacker Troy Dye was able to force a fumble while lying on his back Saturday. Dye forced the fumble in the second quarter, with Oregon trailing Washington State 13-10.

Washington State wideout Renard Bell hauled in a pass, made a spin move, and looked to speed past two defenders who were on the ground. The next thing he knew, Dye — who reached back with his right arm and swatted at the ball — had stripped him.

The Ducks’ Tyree Robinson recovered the fumble.

Dye leads the Ducks in tackles this year with 41. Last year he was named a freshman All-American by USA Today and ESPN.

Washington State currently leads Oregon, 20-10, in the third quarter. With Washington 5-0 and Oregon 4-1, this is a critical matchup in the Pac-12. The game is airing on Fox.

Gus Johnson screams about BBQ after OSU corner lays out Maryland WR

Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward laid a massive hit on Maryland’s Taivon Jacobs in the first quarter of Ohio State’s easy 62-14 win Saturday. The hit was so vicious, however, that it was deemed illegal targeting. Ward was ejected from the game.

Nonetheless, it was enough to get the passionate announcer Gus Johnson fired up. Johnson — who is never one to hold back on the emotion in big moments of sporting events — had quite a call following the hit.

“What a hit!” Johnson exclaimed. “Denzel Ward. You’ve got barbecue back there and you didn’t invite me? Hurt my feelings.”

Ohio State led 41-7 at the half, as J.T. Barrett threw for three scores and ran for another; this was never a competitive game.

With the win, the Buckeyes improved to 5-1, while Maryland fell to 3-2.

Navy stays undefeated, edges Air Force in wild finish

Air Force nearly pulled off a huge comeback in its rivalry game with Navy Saturday. In a wild, back-and-forth matchup, the Falcons took the lead in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 21 points in the second half.

With Air Force up 45-41, however, Navy scored the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds remaining.

Though the game seemed all but over at that point, Air Force put up a fight on its final play from scrimmage. The Falcons kept the play alive for 30 seconds with laterals.

Navy stayed undefeated, improving to 5-0, while Air Force fell to 1-4 on the season.

Western Michigan outlasts Buffalo in crazy 7OT game

Western Michigan and Buffalo took #MACtion to the extreme Saturday afternoon. The teams played in a game that lasted more than four hours and ended as the highest-scoring game in FBS history.

Western Michigan eventually pulled out the win, 71-68, in the seventh overtime.


Klay Thompson says Warriors aren’t on Jordan Bulls level yet, but they’re ‘close’

Klay Thompson

Over the past three years, the Golden State Warriors have pieced together one of the most impressive runs in sports history. If it weren’t for an act-of-God performance from LeBron James, the Warriors would currently be back-to-back-to-back champions. They also set the NBA’s regular season wins record in 2015-16, and went 16-1 in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

Long story short: these guys are really, really good.

Klay Thompson was asked how the Warriors’ current run compares to that of the Bulls in the 1990s. There is definitely a comparison to be made.

“Every time the Bulls came to town, that was the ticket of the year,” Thompson told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “Now it’s when the Warriors come to town, that’s the must-see game. And we don’t take that for granted; that’s such a cool position to be in. We rarely play in front of a crowd that’s not sold out. That’s so special. It’s hard to really grasp that as a player. So I think it’s close. I still think we’re not on their level yet, but that’s what we aspire to be of the 2000s. We aspire to be that dynasty that will be in the minds of NBA fans forever.”

It’s a perfectly reasonable assessment from Thompson, a three-time All-Star. If the Warriors win another title or two — which certainly seems possible — this debate will get a whole lot more heated.

Kenny Hill scores three ways as TCU stays unbeaten

Kenny Hill has had a fascinating college football career. He took over for Johnny Manziel and pieced together a magical September as a freshman at Texas A&M, but since then he’s had some real struggles — both at A&M and at Texas Christian University, where Hill transferred after one season in Aggieland.

This season, however, he is off to a strong start. Saturday, the Horned Frogs stayed unbeaten — they’re the only undefeated team in the Big 12 through six weeks — with a tough, 31-24 win over West Virginia.

Hill displayed his versatility and scored three different ways in the showdown.


Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman hit clutch home runs to lead Nationals over Cubs

Bryce Harper

With the Nationals trailing the Cubs 3-1, and Washington facing the imminent threat of falling behind 2-0 in the NLDS, Bryce Harper stepped up. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the 24-year-old five-time All-Star clobbered a two-run home run to right center field.

He absolutely destroyed the pitch from Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr.


Tampa Bay RW JT Brown raises fist during national anthem

JT Brown

Prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s game against the Florida Panthers Saturday night, Lightning right-winger J.T. Brown raised his fist in protest during the national anthem.

It is the first time this NHL season we have seen a hockey player join in the peaceful anthem protest that began with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. The protests — which many other players, and even some entire teams have joined in — have been a major topic of discussion this NFL season. Around 250 players have sat or knelt during the anthem thus far this season.

Brown is one of 30 black players in the NHL. He also raised his fist during the anthem in the preseason this year.

Brown previously told the Tampa Bay Times his protest was not intended to disrespect the flag or military.

“Some will tell you that’s disrespecting the military, well I wanted to hear it from someone who is serving, not some person on Twitter,” Brown said. “Some thought (kneeling) it was disrespecting, but most felt that we have a right to do it, regardless of whether they agree with you or not, or would stand next to you.”