AP-TX--Texas Sports Digest 12 am, TX
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CLEVELAND — As his teammates sprayed each other with champagne and beer in Houston’s buzzing clubhouse, ace Justin Verlander stayed clear of the fray and foam while enjoying a cigar. This wasn’t the time to get soaked. Bigger parties lie ahead. The Astros are back in an October orbit. The defending World Series champions advanced to the AL Championship Series for the second straight year — with surprising ease — by completing a division-round sweep of Cleveland on Monday with an 11-3 lashing in Game 3 helped by two key throwing errors from Indians reliever Trevor Bauer. By Tom Withers. SENT: 1200 words, photos.
CLEVELAND — The master plan was for Trevor Bauer to be Cleveland’s secret weapon, the October surprise. But that idea, and just about everything else the Indians tried, was tossed away. Bauer’s two throwing errors in the seventh inning helped Houston rally for three runs and the Astros overwhelmed the Indians 11-3 in Game 3 to complete a surprising sweep in the AL Division Series. After waiting months for a chance at redemption from blowing a 2-0 lead and losing to the New York Yankees in last year’s ALDS, the Indians fell flat in the fall once again. And the majors’ longest World Series title drought has aged to 71. By Tom Withers. SENT: 850 words, photos.
FBC--T25-TITLE CONTENDER TEXAS
AUSTIN, Texas — Game by game, win by win, Texas is going all in on Tom Herman. Just check his phone. In the 24 hours after his Longhorns beat Oklahoma 48-45 to rise to No. 9 in the Top 25 rankings, his phone lit up with nearly 200 text messages of congratulations. Herman remembers how many he got after a season-opening loss to Maryland. “Nine,” Herman said Monday. “I got nine.” Everyone loves a winner and Herman has the Longhorns winning at a rate most think they should. And now, a decade removed from its last Big 12 crown and the last time it played for a national championship, Texas (5-1, 3-0) is back on top of the league standings and cast as a favorite to get to the conference championship game. Do that and there could be national playoff talk in the future. By Jim Vertuno. SENT: 430 words, photos.
FBN--TEXANS-RED ZONE WOES
HOUSTON — The Houston Texans got their second straight win on Sunday after an 0-3 start, but they still have plenty of room for improvement. Notably in the red zone where they managed just one touchdown in six trips against the Cowboys. “We’ve got to make major improvements there because we’re moving the ball, but we’re not scoring touchdowns,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “We’re kicking too many field goals ... that’s not a sustainable way to win games in this league and we know that. So, we’re going to work hard to get it better this week.” By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 750 words, photos.
FRISCO, Texas — Jason Garrett decided to trust his defense by punting on a short fourth down in Houston territory in an overtime loss to the Texans. The choice by the Dallas coach also said a lot about a sputtering offense that simply hasn’t looked good enough to get the Cowboys where they want to go in 2018, even with NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott. Moments after Elliott was stuffed on third-and-1 from the Texans 42 closing in on the halfway mark of the 10-minute extra period, Garrett opted not to try it again on a night that his best offensive player was averaging just 2.7 yards per carry. DeAndre Hopkins’ spectacular 49-yard catch and run to set up Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 36-yard field goal in a 19-16 Texans win sparked a steady round of second-guessing for a coach already fending off questions about a bland offensive scheme with a bunch of receivers failing badly at trying to replace Dez Bryant. And it led to more questions about those receivers, with a sobering answer from executive vice president of player personnel Stephen Jones on his radio show Monday. The Cowboys (2-3) host Jacksonville (3-2) on Sunday. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 650 words, photos.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Blake Bortles was largely ineffective despite a career-high 430 yards passing against Kansas City. His offensive line was the biggest problem. The Jacksonville Jaguars failed to give Bortles enough time or protection in a 30-14 loss at the Chiefs on Sunday. Bortles was sacked five times, fumbling once, and hurried way more often. The Jaguars (3-2) might have to make some roster changes to find help. Left tackle Josh Wells has a groin injury that could cause him to miss Sunday’s game at Dallas (2-3), and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is headed to injured reserve and will have core muscle surgery. By Mark Long. SENT: 580 words, photos.
— FBH--PREP POLL-LIST
SAN ANTONIO — Dejounte Murray was driving past James Harden and on his way to the basket, showing one of the skills that made the San Antonio Spurs convinced he’s the right point guard for their team. And then Murray’s knee gave out. In an instant, the entire trajectory of the Spurs’ season might have changed. Murray’s season is almost certainly over, after the Spurs learned Monday that their starting point guard has a torn ACL in his right knee. The team hasn’t revealed when Murray will have surgery, nor has it determined a timetable for his return, but ACL reconstruction and rehabilitation is a process that typically takes around a full year. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 620 words, photos.
— BKN--MAVERICKS-WORKPLACE CONDUCT — The Dallas Mavericks have reportedly fired a team photographer amid allegations of sexual harassment from several women. SENT: 160 words.
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