Joe Paterno Statue — a statue of legendary coach Joe Paterno in front of Penn State’s Beaver Stadium — may be the next casualty in the nasty ongoing fallout of the child sex abuse scandal.The decision whether to remove or move Joe Paterno statue is expected to be made by the school president Rodney Erickson within the next three days, a source familiar with Erickson’s plans told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”Much of the consternation on what to do about the statue stems from how the NCAA will perceive the actions. The school is fearful of the governing body leveling the “death penalty” on the football program.Trustees said on the show that the board had a spirited discussion about the statue in a conference call Thursday night — the same call in which the resignation of former board chairman Steve Garban was discussed. But the decision is not theirs, they said.Various tweets Friday morning said the board had voted and/or made a decision about the statue and that it would be removed this weekend. If the board had taken a vote during the call, it would have violated state law, which prohibits votes from being taken outside of declared board meetings.The trustees who spoke Friday morning said board members did discuss possibilities for the statue, including moving it from the stadium area, perhaps to the library on campus that bears the Paterno name or the Penn State All Sports Museum near the stadium. Board spokesman David LaTorre declined to comment Friday morning.The trustees have been concerned this week that the NCAA will hand down an extreme punishment, possibly the death penalty for its football program for its “loss of institutional control” during the Sandusky years. Dealing with the statue issue, and the resignation of Garban, has been needed to show the public the board was serious about “moving forward,” one trustee said.“It’s a highly sensitive decision,” another trustee said Friday. “The decision is a symbolic one. We have to be very careful about what kind of message we send.”
NFL Things That Caught My EyeTrump vs. the NFLPresident Trump spent the weekend arguing that players shouldn’t take a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence against African-Americans. Trump also urged NFL team owners to do something to stop them. Trump may be reading the results of polls showing that most Americans disapprove of the players’ protests, and believes he can take political advantage of a cultural divide. And he may be right — for now. [FiveThirtyEight]NFL shocker: Bengals score touchdownSunday the Cincinnati Bengals scored three touchdowns, which is huge news for them: In the first two games of the season they scored no touchdowns, leading to their offensive coordinator getting promptly sacked. Prior to 2017, only 23 other offenses in NFL history failed to obtain a touchdown in their first two games. [FiveThirtyEight]Carmelo to Oklahoma CityCarmelo Anthony has been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder by the Knicks in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second round draft pick. Oklahoma City is spending a small fortune on the acquisition indicating they think they seriously have a shot this year. [FiveThirtyEight]Not ready for prime time playersWith Washington beating Oakland and New York suffering a humiliating defeat in Philly, the Giants are down to a 4 percent chance of winning the NFC East. Isn’t ii delightful we got already got two primetime games out of New York? I root for these guys and am sick of seeing them televised nationally. The Eagles are up to a 41 percent chance of winning the inevitably contentious division, Cowboys have a 32 percent shot, and Washington’s got a 23 percent odds. Enjoy primetime, jerks! [FiveThirtyEight]Canucks vs. Kings vs. FogThe Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings played a preseason game in Shanghai, the first such NHL event held in China. Kings won 5-2, but the game was lightly attended and Shanghai humidity plus ice-based sporting events meant lots of fog in practice. Hey, they managed to jam NHL franchises in Tampa and Arizona of all places, this league will make this sport work in any climate. [The Globe and Mail]Mess with the frog you get the hornsIt’s college football upset time: Texas Christian University (ranked 12th) beat Oklahoma State (ranked 6th) 44-31 on Saturday. [ESPN]Big Number32 percentThe Jets can’t even tank right: their win Sunday means that San Francisco is now the favorite to get the number one pick in next year’s draft, roughly a one in three chance. [ESPN]Leaks from Slack[This transcript of a private conversation between NFC East rivals lightly edited to remove extensive use of profanity]neil:How on earth did the Giants find a way to not score on that drive???neil:Not even trolling…. that was crazywalt:I hate this teamwalt:Also, lol, this was the first thing I read after landing in Los Angelesneil:Eagles both had no business winning and had no business losingneil:Today was just a weird day. Jags crush the Ravens at 9AM in London, go figure that one outThen Browns almost win in a huge comeback on the road, Pats almost lose at home to TexansEagles win on the 4th longest game winning/tying FG everWeirdest of all, Bengals actually score a TDPredictions MLB See more NFL predictions Oh, and don’t forgetNeutral zone infraction, #45, offense See more MLB predictions We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe All newsletters
The Houston Astros currently sit on top of the American League West with a 2.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, a team paying Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, and the rest of the squad a combined $146.4 million. The Astros, meanwhile, will spend less than half that figure on players in 2015. Their total payroll comes in just north of $69 million, 29th out of 30 MLB teams and a remarkable $158 million less than the Los Angeles Dodgers are spending to field a team this year.The success of the Astros and the (comparatively) minuscule payrolls of other plucky small-budget teams is often cited by people trying to advance an egalitarian narrative: that the amount a team spends does not matter. In recent years, Time called the Royals the future of baseball. The New York Times went with Smaller Markets and Smarter Thinking. Baseball America wrote an article asserting, “if you look at competitive balance as the opportunity for teams to make the playoffs and legitimate runs at titles, baseball is truly in a golden era.” Sports Illustrated argued that the average payrolls of playoff teams show that money isn’t the factor it used to be and the Providence Journal offered, “money can’t buy success.” Andrew McCutchen, 2013 National League MVP, is the poster boy for what small-budget teams can accomplish, saying, “Payroll doesn’t mean everything. If that was the case, the Yankees would win every year.”That’s all heart-warming, but evidence suggests that the relationship between money and winning is as strong now as it’s been any time in the free-agency era. Check out the figure below, which shows the relationship between spending and win percentage during each of the three 10-year spans since 1985.1Salary and win percentage were standardized within each season to account for the league’s financial growth and changes in league competitiveness. Data collected from baseball-reference.com. Each team season is one dot in the figure, and the red line reflects a smoothed curve fit through the points. The smoothed curves represent the general relationship between spending and performance for each team season in each decade; aggregating all the decade’s data points shows a pattern: More money generally means more wins.The line gets steeper going from left to right, implying that in recent seasons, jumps in salary have been associated with larger gains in win percentage. Altogether, none of the 20 teams with the highest relative salaries since 1985 have finished below .500. GRAPHIC: Using data from the last 30 years, we created win-pay curves for every team in Major League Baseball. Click here to see how well your favorite team spent its money.J.C. Bradbury, an economics professor at Kennesaw State University, found that winning more increases revenue exponentially. “Going from 85 wins to 90 is worth more than 80 wins to 85,” he says. As a result, while it might cost more per win for a team that wins 90 games than 85, it makes financial sense because the revenue reward will be higher as well. This leads to a self-perpetuating cycle. Additionally, fans of teams that win frequently expect them to continue winning, and management pays more to do so. For a team like the New York Yankees, paying 10 percent more than anyone else for a second baseman who is only 5 percent better than his closest peer is worth the money (and they can afford it).But though the current narrative revolves around small-budget success stories as an argument against the importance of salaries, baseball has always had small-budget overachievers. “Just because you don’t spend money doesn’t mean you can’t win,” Bradbury says. As long as there has been baseball, there have been teams with low payrolls that have exceeded expectations in the win column.Perhaps one reason for the renewed focus on the success of small-budget teams is the importance of playoff success versus the regular season. Postseasons in American sports offer a smaller sample size than, say, soccer’s English Premier League, where the winner is determined by 38 games. In baseball, the better team (the one with the higher payroll) is less likely to prevail over the course of a short playoff series than they would be over an entire season. That, combined with the expansion of the playoffs, means it’s easier for a small-budget team to reach the World Series, as the Kansas City Royals did in 2014, losing to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7. Winning a playoff series can come down to a few factors — a couple of good pitchers and luck — that are less important during the regular season. “The formula seems to be: limp through regular season, get into playoffs, then win,” said Rodney Fort, professor of sport management in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan.Fort, however, also thinks that the case for the relationship between payroll and wins is overstated. “When have we ever been satisfied that a simple relationship between one variable and another variable tells the whole story of the determination of winning?” he says. “What you really need to do is stop and think about what are all the other things: nothing about coaches, nothing about front office/GM acumen.” In Fort’s view, equating payroll and wins leaves out too many other variables.He has a point, as the relationship between salary and winning can be drastically different among different franchises. Some teams don’t get results when they spend more — the New York Mets frowny face is almost too perfect given their fortunes.For a few small-budget teams such as the Cleveland Indians and the Royals, though, there’s a strong relationship between spending and winning.As you can see in the chart of every team’s win-pay curves, spending usually helps, but incompetent spending gets a team nowhere. It’s a waste.Click here to see every team’s win-pay curves.
So far, these investigations have primarily looked at the exterior of the baseball.Broadly, MLB baseballs — which are produced by Rawlings in Costa Rica — are made of three components: an exterior shell of cowhide, a winding of several layers of yarn, and a core of rubber-coated cork, also known as a “pill.”To analyze possible changes to the inside of the ball, particularly the core, “ESPN Sport Science” purchased one new ball from Rawlings and seven game-used baseballs from eBay, confirming their authenticity through MLB’s authenticator program.2Contractors working for MLB affix a tamper-resistant hologram sticker to balls that they personally witness being used in the game. The sticker includes a serial number that can be entered into the MLB authenticator program to confirm that the ball is real and to find out which game it was used in.The eight baseballs we tested were split into two groups: an “old group” of four balls used in games played between August 2014 and May 2015, and a “new group” of three balls used in games played between August 2016 and July 2017, plus the brand-new ball. The aim was to see if the internal composition of the baseballs had changed in ways that would affect the ball’s performance.3This sample is admittedly small, but according to the Kent State scientists we worked with, it’s sufficient to determine statistical significance in the two groups.The balls were first analyzed by Dr. Meng Law, Dr. Jay Acharya and Darryl Hwang at the Keck School of Medicine at USC using a computerized tomography, or CT, scan. This test is typically used to look inside a human head or body, but in this case, it allowed Dr. Law’s team to examine the interior of the baseballs without cracking them open and destroying them.Initial CT imaging showed that baseballs in the same group had a negligible variation in internal properties.When comparing the new and old groups, however, there was a clear difference in the density of the core.In an MLB baseball, the core consists of four parts: a cork pellet at the center, surrounded by a layer of black rubber held together by a rubber ring where the halves meet, all of which is then molded together in a layer of pink rubber.Dr. Law’s team isolated the density difference to the outer (pink) layer of the core, which was, on average, about 40 percent less dense in the new group of balls.While other parts of the ball showed slight differences in density and volume, none were as noteworthy as the changes to the core. On 6,105 occasions last season, a major leaguer walked to the plate and hammered a baseball over the outfield wall. The 2017 season broke the home run record that was set in 2000 — the peak of the steroid era — when players hit 5,693 homers, and it built upon the remarkable 5,610 that were hit in 2016. It was a stunning display of power that played out in every MLB park almost every night. And with spring training underway in Florida and Arizona, MLB’s power surge is showing no sign of letting up.But while we now know what caused the spike in home runs at the turn of the century — even if we didn’t at the time — the reason for the most recent flurry of long balls remains an unsolved mystery. Any number of factors might have contributed to the home run surge, including bigger, stronger players or a new emphasis on hitting fly balls. But none of those possibilities looms larger than the ball itself.MLB and its commissioner, Rob Manfred, have repeatedly denied rumors that the ball has been altered in any way — or “juiced” — to generate more homers. But a large and growing body of research shows that, beginning in the middle of the 2015 season, the MLB baseball began to fly further. And new research commissioned by “ESPN Sport Science,” a show that breaks down the science of sports,1ESPN owns FiveThirtyEight. suggests that MLB baseballs used after the 2015 All-Star Game were subtly but consistently different than older baseballs. The research, performed by the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and Kent State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, reveals changes in the density and chemical composition of the baseball’s core — and provides our first glimpse inside the newer baseballs.Looking inside the balls and testing their chemical composition revealed that the cores of recent balls were somewhat less dense than the cores of balls used before the 2015 All-Star Game. The newer cores weigh about a half a gram less than the older ones, which might be enough to cause baseballs hit on a typical home run trajectory to fly about 6 inches farther. That alone is hardly enough to explain the home run surge of recent seasons, but when combined with previous research finding that baseballs began to change in other small ways starting around the same time, it suggests that a number of minor differences may have combined to contribute to the remarkable upswing in home run power we’ve witnessed since 2015.Asked about these findings, MLB noted that it had commissioned a group of scientists and statisticians to investigate any changes to the ball, and that the committee would issue a report on its research soon. According to Alan Nathan, one of the physicists on the commission, the task force found that all the characteristics that MLB regularly measures, including the weight, circumference, seam height and bounciness of the ball, were within ranges that meant variations in the baseballs were unlikely to significantly affect home run rates. MLB declined to provide the data supporting these assertions.Independent investigations by FiveThirtyEight, publications like The Ringer, and Nathan himself have shown differences in the characteristics of the ball and the way it performs. Research has shown that balls used in games after the 2015 All-Star Game were bouncier and less air resistant compared with baseballs from the 2014 season, when players hit a relatively modest 4,186 homers, the fewest since 1995. (Nathan noted that MLB does not regularly measure air resistance.) Taken together, these changes would result in a ball that would come off the bat at a higher speed and carry farther. While investigations have been able to show that the baseball behaves differently in recent years, no one had looked inside the ball to see if there was evidence of changes to the way the baseball is constructed. It’s not just that the inside of the ball looks different — the chemical composition of the cores appears to have changed as well. After being tested at the Keck School, the same set of balls were sent to Kent State University. There, researchers at Soumitra Basu’s lab in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department cut open the balls to examine the cores using a thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). This test essentially cooks a material to see which parts parts of it vaporize at which temperatures. Using that information, researchers can create a molecular profile of a given material.This test showed that the pink layer of the core in baseballs from the new group was, on average, composed of about 7 percent more polymer than the same area in baseballs from the old group. Additionally, an analysis with a scanning electron microscope showed that the same layer in the new balls contained, on average, 10 percent less silicon, relative to the amount of other ingredients in the pill. According to the Kent State researchers, these chemical changes produced a more porous, less dense layer of rubber — which explains the results seen in the CT scan at the Keck School.It may not seem obvious, but these slight changes in the chemical composition of the core could have an impact on how the balls played once they were sewn up and shipped to major league teams. Less dense cores could mean lighter baseballs. The cores of the new balls weighed, on average, about 0.5 grams less than the cores from the old group. This difference was statistically significant, which means it’s highly unlikely that it was due to sampling error. The overall weight of the balls also dropped by an average of about a 0.5 grams between groups, but, unlike with the cores, this difference was not statistically significant.4The ball as a whole weighs much more than the core alone, and there was more variation in the weight of the full baseballs than in the weight of the cores, both of which meant that the bar for statistically significant variations in weight was higher for the whole baseball than for just the core.Half a gram isn’t much — it’s only about the weight of a paperclip. A tiny change like this might add only about 6 inches to flight of a baseball hit on a typical home run trajectory, according to Nathan’s calculations. But the timing of these changes to the weight and density of the core coincides with a much larger boost to the bounciness of the baseball. According to a previous analysis performed by The Ringer, that increase in bounciness alone would add around 0.6 mph to the speed of the ball as it leaves the bat and add roughly 3 feet to the travel distance of a fly ball — enough to make the difference between the warning track and the stands.On top of the fact that the balls became bouncier as the core itself changed, previous research at FiveThirtyEight showed that they also became less air resistant. The decrease in drag is probably a result of a smaller, slicker baseball with lower seams. The change in air resistance could add an additional 5 feet to the travel distance of a fly ball. Combine all these factors together — a lighter, more compact baseball with tighter seams and more bounce — and the ball could fly as much as 8.6 feet farther. According to Nathan’s calculations, this would lead to a more than 25 percent increase in the number of home runs. Asked whether these changes in combination could have significantly affected the home run rate, MLB declined to comment.In actuality, home runs spiked by about 46 percent between 2014 and 2017, which means that the changes to the ball could account for more than half of the increase. The remainder could be reasonably chalked up to a philosophical shift among MLB hitters, who are likely swinging upward to maximize the number of balls they hit in the air and are not shy about the increase in strikeouts that may come with that approach.MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has repeatedly denied that the baseball is juiced. On numerous occasions, he has said league testing found that baseballs continue to fall within the range that MLB designates as acceptable, and he recently said that MLB testing showed the balls to be fundamentally the same. But even if the baseballs still meet the league’s manufacturing guidelines, their performance could change enough to double (or, theoretically, halve) the number of home runs hit in a year.In fact, in January of 2015, Rawlings filed a patent application for a manufacturing process that would allow it to produce softballs and non-MLB baseballs5The patent applies to balls with foam cores, which might be used in softball or youth-league baseball, for example, but does not apply to the type of baseballs used in MLB, with layers of yarn around a cork-and-rubber core. that were as bouncy as possible while still falling within the manufacturing specifications set by the league. This type of ball is constructed quite differently from MLB baseballs, so there’s no indication that this patent means Rawlings is deliberately manipulating major league baseballs in this way, but it demonstrates that it’s at least theoretically possible for balls to be “fundamentally the same” while also performing differently than they have in the past.Kathy Smith-Stephens, senior director of quality and compliance at Rawlings, said that no change had been made to the baseballs but that “natural variation” occurs in the manufacturing process. She noted that they “continuously tweak” — though later in the interview she asked that we say “continuously refine” — the manufacturing process in an effort to reduce variations, but said that Rawlings’ internal testing had shown no difference in the ball’s weight or bounciness.Evidence that the baseball is at least partially responsible for the last few years’ spike in the home run rate mounted throughout the summer of 2017 and reached a peak during October’s World Series. In those seven games, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers smashed 24 homers, including eight in one game. In the wake of this power display, Manfred asked all 30 teams to start storing baseballs in a climate-controlled room and commissioned a task force of scientists and statisticians to investigate whether the ball was juiced in 2017. Our own research, combined with controlled tests from three separate academic laboratories, strongly suggests that the physical properties of the ball have changed. Taken together, all these studies give us a lot of evidence to suggest that today’s baseballs differ in meaningful ways from those of a few years ago. In other words, there are many questions for Manfred’s committee to address.Special thanks to Sean O’Rourke, Dr. Cynthia Bir and Nathan Beals for additional research assistance.
OSU then-junior catcher Jalen Washington (2) swings at a ball during a game against Bethune-Cookman at Bill Davis Stadium on April 1. Lantern file photoThe Ohio State baseball team knew facing off against the No. 5 Oregon State Beavers and the reigning Pac-12 champion Utah Utes that this would be a challenging weekend. And while the Buckeyes were able to split the series against the Beavers (7-1), they were swept by the Utes (5-1) and lost the weekend series 1-3 and dropped to 3-5 on the season.The pitching struggled over the weekend but, arguably the biggest issue of the series for the Buckeyes came behind the mound, as the defense struggled to field the ball cleanly. The club had four errors in their first game against Utah, three in the second game against the Utes and another one in the series finale against Oregon State. Game 1 versus UtahThis game was all Utah from the beginning, as they piled on the offense and came away with a convincing 12-0 victory over OSU.Redshirt junior starting pitcher and co-captain Adam Niemeyer allowed only a single run in the first inning, but the Utes piled on in the second. Niemeyer gave up five runs in the bottom of the second, thanks in large part to a bases-loaded double from freshman second baseman Oliver Dunn.The lead was expanded to 8-0 in the bottom of the fourth by a two-run home run off the bat of senior right fielder Josh Rose.The Utes scored three times in the fifth and once in the sixth, giving them their 12th and final run.Utah received a dominant combined effort from its pitching staff, as they held the Buckeyes to just five hits and three walks while striking out seven. Freshman starting pitcher Jacob Rebar delivered 5.2 shutout innings with only three hits and one walk allowed while striking out three.Game 2 versus No. 5 Oregon StateComing off a rough debut as a starting pitcher, redshirt junior starting pitcher Yianni Pavlopoulos delivered six innings of three hit, shutout baseball and led the Buckeyes to a 6-1 victory over the fifth-ranked Beavers.After scoring in the first inning, OSU remained silent until the fifth inning. With a runner on second, sophomore third baseman Brady Cherry drilled a home run over the left-field fence to expand the Buckeye lead to 3-0.Both teams scratched across runs in the seventh inning before the Buckeyes tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth off an errant throw on a fielder’s choice and an RBI single by junior left fielder Tyler Cowles.In Pavlopoulos’ first career start, the right-hander surrendered six runs on four hits, two walks and lasted only 2.1 innings. This time around, he was able to miss bats and limit base runners, allowing only three hits and three walks while striking out four batters. Of the three hits he allowed, only one went for extra bases compared to the two extra-base hits he allowed in his last start.Game 3 versus UtahAfter falling into an early five-run hole, the Buckeyes staged a late comeback, but fell just short and lost to the Utes for the second time this weekend 6-4. With the game sitting at 2-1, things started to unravel for sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Feltner in the fourth inning. He allowed back-to-back doubles to open up the frame, which brought the score to 3-1. An error and a single followed the pair of doubles and Utah expanded its lead to 4-1. The Utes would later go on to score again in the fifth and seventh.After Utah’s starting pitcher exited the game having dealt six innings of one-run baseball, the OSU bats immediately came to life, scoring a run quickly in the seventh after Ratcliff doubled and later scored on a wild pitch and throwing error. The eighth inning was the most productive one of the night, however, for the OSU offense. With two down and runners on the corners, junior first baseman Bo Coolen singled up the middle to bring the score to 6-3. Redshirt senior designated hitter Zach Ratcliff followed Coolen’s single with one of his own, driving in another run and bringing the score now to 6-4. The Buckeyes would later load the bases, but a strikeout ended the frame.Sophomore catcher Jacob Barnwell doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth for the Buckeyes, but Utah’s closer was able to put away the next three batters and send the Utes home happy.After Feltner left the game, the Buckeyes received a lights-out performance by their bullpen. Senior relief pitcher Joe Stoll allowed only one run on two hits and one walk in 1.1 innings while freshman relief pitcher Jake Vance came in and provided OSU with 1.2 innings of three hit, shutout baseball. Redshirt junior relief pitcher Kyle Michalik provided the lockdown performance of the game, going 1.1 innings while allowing no runs on only one hit. Game 4 versus No. 5 Oregon StateNeeding a victory to secure at least a series split, OSU could not find enough offense and fell to Oregon State 5-1.The game was held scoreless until the fourth inning. After two straight hits began the inning, freshman catcher Adley Rutschman chopped one to the right side that Coolen couldn’t quite get to, plating the first run of the game and giving the Beavers the early 1-0 lead.Junior Michael Gretler followed Rutschman’s single with a double that rolled just under Cherry’s glove and brought the score to 2-0 Beavers. An error in the inning brought across the third run of the inning across for the Beavers.After Oregon State scored again in the sixth inning, there was little action until the top of the eighth inning. With two away and the Buckeyes’ hopes fading, Junior outfielder Tre’ Gantt stepped up to the plate and drilled the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence for a home run.The OSU offense was largely shut down in this one by redshirt junior starting pitcher Jake Thompson. Thompson limited the Buckeyes to just one run on two hits and three walks while striking out seven across eight innings. OSU will travel to Builes Creek, North Carolina on Friday to kick off a three-game series against Campbell University. First pitch of the weekend series is set for Friday at 6 p.m. with Niemeyer, the likely starter for the Buckeyes.
OSU players enter Ohio Stadium prior to kickoff against Kent State on Sept. 13. OSU won, 66-0. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editor Redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee (43) celebrates with senior linebacker Curtis Grant (14) during a game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 66-0.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorOne week removed from its first loss of the season, the Ohio State football team jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead on its way to beating Kent State, 66-0.The Buckeyes scored less than two minutes into the game to start things off before scoring touchdowns on six of eight first-half drives Saturday at Ohio Stadium.OSU coach Urban Meyer credited the win partially to the Buckeyes’ advantage in the talent column, and added his team needed a big game coming off a 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6.“I thought our guys played well,” Meyer said after the win. “Obviously a little talent advantage, but we had to have a game like this.”Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett tied an OSU record with six touchdown passes in the game — five of which came in the first half.Barrett said he already has an idea of what former Buckeye quarterback Kenny Guiton — who set that record against Florida A&M last season — will say to him after the performance.“I can hear KG calling me now, talking about ‘you tied me, you tied me, you didn’t beat me though,’” Barrett said.The Wichita Falls, Texas, native attempted 19 passes in the first quarter alone as Meyer said throwing the ball early and often was a big part of the Buckeyes’ game plan.“Early in the first half I wanted to throw a lot,” Meyer said after the game. “I wanted to force him (Barrett) to make plays, and the receivers — it’s not just him, it’s the whole combination of quarterback/receivers.”OSU tacked on 21 points in the second half to close out the scoring on improve its record to 2-1 on the season.Three different Buckeyes scored the first touchdowns of their college careers as role players saw time in both halves for OSU.Redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh scored a touchdown in the first half on the first reception of his college career. In the second half, redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall and freshman running back Curtis Samuel each made it into the end zone for the first time in their OSU careers as well.“I had a smile from my ear to ear,” Marshall said of his first touchdown with the Scarlet and Gray. “And it felt really good.”Barrett totaled 297 passing yards in the first half alone before tacking on 15 more yards in limited second-half action. Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott had 65 rushing yards to go with 52 receiving yards before the break, sparking OSU to a 45-0 halftime lead.The Buckeyes’ fast start was aided by two long pass plays on top of steady output from the running game. Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas took a Barrett pass 63 yards for a touchdown before senior wide receiver Devin Smith scored on a 50-yard catch and run to close out the first-half for OSU.Redshirt-senior running back Rod Smith led the first half scoring with a pair of touchdowns — the first on a short pass from Barrett and the second on the ground from a yard out.On top of the offensive explosion, the Buckeyes’ defense held the Golden Flashes to just 126 total yards as Kent State failed to crack the century mark on the ground or through the air.Junior linebacker Joshua Perry said OSU’s ability to hold Kent State to such a low number in the total yardage column made him even happier than keeping the Golden Flashes off the scoreboard.“That’s the thing that puts a smile on my face,” Perry said after the game. “Shutout is one thing…but when you can hold an offense to that I think it’s really impressive. Like I said, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, that’s a tough thing to do.”Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) stiff arms a defender during a game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 66-0.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorSenior tight end Jeff Heuerman sat out the game due to an injury while junior defensive lineman Noah Spence was ruled ineligible by OSU on Friday due to a Big Ten and OSU rules violation.Meyer called the news about Spence — which came out to the public less than 24 hours before the team played Kent State — a “sucker punch,” but said the situation is not yet resolved.“I don’t know much other than he was declared he couldn’t play for this weekend, and what the future holds for him, I don’t know,” Meyer said after the game.Barrett’s 312 passing yards made him the first OSU quarterback to top 300 since Troy Smith in 2006.Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones relieved Barrett in the second half and finished the day two for four on pass attempts for 32 yards and ran for 37 yards on four carries.Samuel finished the day with 15 carries for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also adding on 40 yards through the air. Elliott added 65 rushing yards and five different Buckeyes had 40 yards or more receiving. Eleven different OSU players recording at least one reception in the game.The OSU defense totaled four sacks, two of which were credited to freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who also led the team with seven total tackles in the game.McMillan said his success on the field Saturday came from his work in practice leading up to the game, which allowed him to come into the game with the right mindset.“I practice hard for the games during the week so the game will be easy,” McMillan said after the game. “I learned from what the guys around me are doing, so I feel like I can play more loose now.”The Buckeyes are scheduled for a bye week before hosting Cincinnati on Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
Several of the plans have already triggered protests. Councils in north-west London have objected to plans which could see the number of major hospitals cut from nine to five. Across Dorset, hospital beds will be cut from 1,810 to 1,570 with the centralisation of A&E services at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, under proposals. In Leicestershire and Rutland, the plan is to cut the number of hospitals from three to two, and cut acute hospital beds from 1,940 to 1,697. And plans for south-west London aim to achieve a 44 per cent reduction in inpatient bed days, with a 13 per cent dropped in planned operations.Derbyshire plans to slash 400 acute hospital beds, while 200 beds are earmarked for closure at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Simon Stevens recently told MPs that hospitals were not being “feckless” but under heavy pressureCredit:PA Axing hundreds of beds was “simply not credible given the state of our acute hospitals this winter, which is likely to be similar next winter.”In the weeks running up to Christmas, more than a dozen hospitals across Englan were running at 100 per cent capacity, with latest figures showing average occupancy is still over 95 per cent.Last week a coroner wrote to the head of the NHS, after a woman died from a brain haemorrhage after at least three hospitals refused to admit her for surgery because they had no intensive care beds.Mr Ham said the NHS needed to embark on “difficult conversations with the public” about how changes should be achieved. It came as new figures showed NHS trusts racked up a deficit of nearly £900m in the first nine months of the 2016/17 financial year.Even that was only achieved because of a £1.8bn fund put aside to help hospitals tackle their financial problems, leaving an underlying deficit of close to £3bn, experts said.On Monday a report revealed that the NHS has seen the loss of 15,000 beds in just six years, with around one in ten closed. And he urged politicians to support changes as long as there was a clear evidence base for them.A failure to do could leave patients to suffer at the hands of poor services, he said.”If you’re not willing to do go through that process and support plans of this kind, essentially you are colluding as politicians in the continuation of unsafe services,” he said.Draft plans have been submitted from 44 areas of the country, and are now being considered by health service officials.Major changes to services – such as the loss of an Accident & Emergency unit or maternity ward will require public consultation. 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. Too many hospital services are “unsafe” and politicians must not “collude” to keep them open because they fear controversy over closures, a leading think tank has said.NHS authorities are drawing up radical plans to reorganise services in a bid to save £22bn and cope with rising demand from an ageing population.Draft plans suggest this could result in the closure of 24 Accident & Emergency departments, with swingeing bed cuts.The King’s Fund today urged politicians to back radical changes as “the best hope” of achieving essential reforms. But it also urged NHS leaders to rewrite many of the proposals – saying it was “simply not credible” to scale back bed numbers when wards have been stretched to the limit this winter. In other areas, services will be centralised or merged, such as in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough where orthopaedics, stroke, maternity and paediatrics could be centralised.The think tank said the plans were “an opportunity to move care closer to home and moderate demand for hospital services.”But it said improvements would not be made unless investment was made first in services in the community.Chris Ham, chief executive of the think tank, said many hospitals were at “the limits” of their capacity.”We do not think now is the time to start cutting back on acute hospital beds and capacity, anything like on the scale set out in some of the plans,” he said.
Drought alert…A general view of where the River Kennet usually flows along fields near the village of Lockeridge, just West of MarlboroughCredit:PA 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. Water supplier Affinity, which covers large areas of the south-east of England, says it is “monitoring the situation closely with clear plans in place”.”January to March saw rainfall 50 to 70 per cent below average in our region” the company said.”We have not seen the rise in groundwater levels we expected, and some rivers have seen flows decrease.”Kent and Sussex are almost entirely dependent on groundwater from rain. A spokesman for Southern Water said: “The winter of 2016-2017 was drier than average, particularly in the months leading up to Christmas.”This means there are lower water levels across our regional water sources.”Water companies say work has started with farmers to reduce the impact of the continuing dry weather as summer approaches.Environment Agency officials have admitted that the dry weather could lead to drought management measures’ for some regions. They say they are working with water companies, businesses and farmers to minimise the impact of the continuing dry weather.Environment Agency spokesman George Leigh said some rivers, ground waters and reservoirs are lower than normal for the time of year.”Below average rainfall could increase the likelihood of drought management measures in some areas” he predicted.But he said bringing in restrictions is a decision for South East Water and other water companies hit by the dwindling levels.Britain has experienced parched weather in the six-month period between October and March – the driest since 1995 and 1996, according to the Met Office.According to long-term forecasts, the next three months will also be dry, making water restrictions likely.But South East Water’s head of water resources Lee Dance said that while the winter has been drier than usual, the company does not envisage water shortages this summer.Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said “It’s not yet a crisis, but we’re beginning what may become a period of drought.”A continued lack of rainfall could lead to water restrictions.” Water companies have warned that parts of UK could see drought this summer after the driest winter in more than 20 years.Lack of rain over the autumn, winter and early spring has left some rivers and reservoirs,particularly in the south and west, with dwindling levels.With weather experts warning that there is little sign of rain to come, many farmers and gardeners are desperately watering their crops as the ground dries out.Until now water companies have played down talk of hosepipe bans, but as the dry weather continues the public has now been warned that restrictions could be on the way in some areas unless reservoir levels are replenished by prolonged rainfall.
The villagers also associate natural phenomena with the Prince. In March 2015 it was reported they were convinced that a cyclone which ravaged parts of Vanuatu, killing at least 11 people, was nature’s dramatic curtain-raiser to the Duke of Edinburgh visiting the country the following year.Asked whether Philip’s blessings would help with the tropical storms that often batter the islands, such as the Category 4 Cyclone Donna currently passing over the archipelago’s north, Mr Malia said that wasn’t generally in his remit as they generally flowed up from the south. 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. Buckingham Palace may have announced his retirement from public life, but nearly 10,000 miles across the seas there is one tiny community that hopes The Duke of Edinburgh will change his mind.So remote is the village of Younanen that it’s inhabitants have only now received word of Prince Philip’s decision to retire.The reason it matters is that the villagers on the island of Tanna, in the South Pacific, revere him as the son of a local mountain god who will one day return to them.News of the Prince’s decision to discontinue further Royal engagements has been greeted with despondency among the locals.”Prince Philip has said one day he will come and visit us,” Jack Malia, the village chief told a Reuters reporter who reached Younanen on Saturday.Holding one of several photographs of the Prince proudly displayed by the villagers, including one from 1980 in a suit, holding a club they made and sent to him in London, he added: “We still believe that he will come but if he doesn’t come, the pictures that I am holding… it means nothing.”Each day the villagers pray to Prince Philip, asking for his blessings on the banana and yam crops that sustain their poor community. They had high hopes of a visit.”If he comes one day the people will not be poor, there will be no sickness, no debt and the garden will be growing very well,” said Mr Malia, 52, speaking at the village’s Nakamal, a traditional meeting place where the men gather at night to drink. Prince Philip’s status among the villagers is thought to have its origins in the local legend telling of the pale-skinned son of the mountain god who ventured across the seas in search of a rich and powerful woman to marry. A villager holds a photograph of Prince Philip in front of a hut in Younanen, on Tanna Island Credit:Reuters Anthropologists believe Philip became linked to the legend in the 1960s when Vanuatu was an Anglo-French colony known as the New Hebrides, now is the island nation of Vanuatu.Villagers at the time were likely to have seen portraits of Philip and the Queen at government offices and police stations run by colonial officials.The belief that the Duke of Edinburgh was indeed the mountain god’s wandering son was reinforced when he accompanied the Queen on an official visit to the New Hebrides in 1974.The Prince was told of the cult by John Champion, the British Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides, who suggested he send them a portrait of himself.In turn the villagers dispatched him a traditional pig-killing club called a nal-nal, with which the Prince posed for a portrait sent to back to Younanen and since handed down to each chief.”Prince Philip is important to us because our ancestors told us that part of our custom is in England,” said Mr Malia, who took over from his father as village chief in 2003.Younanen is not marked on maps and reaching it requires a local guide and a three-hour drive through dirt trails from Lenakel, the capital of Tanna.Village children play naked, the women dressed in traditional grass skirts while the men, clothed in old t-shirts, usually carry machetes.Mr Malia added that Philip, who turns 96 in June, had told villagers not to ever take money from people who visited, but that they should accept food, like rice, to share among themselves.
“I’ll remember you spilling drinks down your top at the house warming party and ending up in just a vest. I’ll remember you making paper games with Phoebe and ‘eating is cheating’.”We never did manage a night out on the town together but one day we will meet again and you’ll have many a story to tell me over a few drinks. For now sleep tight beautiful princess you’ll always be a hero.”Tributes have been flowing as details of the victims began emerging.The attack on Monday was the worst terrorist attack since 52 innocent people were killed in the July 7 bombings in London in 2005.The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the barbaric attack, which was carried out by Salman Abedi.Abedi is believed to have been born in Manchester and of Libyan descent. So sorry to report we’ve had to update our front page following confirmation of Kelly’s death. RIP #manchesterattack pic.twitter.com/MzMC8MiSAr— The Star, Sheffield (@SheffieldStar) May 23, 2017 “When the bomb has gone off the impact has broken Claire’s jaw and broken Hollie’s legs.”They are both currently in hospital having nuts and bolts removed from all places.”Claire is having a bolt removed from her face and poor Hollie is having bolts removed all the way up her legs.”After the impact Claire had gone to Hollie but when she looked up she couldn’t find Kelly. They lost her in all the commotion.”Chantelle Garrity, a friend of Ms Brewster, wrote on Facebook: “R.I.P my dear friend Kelly! I love you more than words can describe. I won’t be the same person without you!” “Well it has happened to us. What do you say to that?”I’m worried it will be Sheffield next. I’m. It not going to go to any big crowded places.”Speaking of Kelly being murdered in a despicable act of terrorism, Mr Winslow said: “Words cannot describe how it makes you feel, it’s surreal.”How a man can say that he has done this for Muslims. He is not a Muslim. He is evil. “I’m still trying to get my head round Kelly being swept up in this. It doesn’t feel real.” She had been reported missing after the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena on Monday night. Her partner, Ian Winslow, later wrote on Facebook: “Not sure how this works but it isn’t good news. Kelly Brewster wasn’t one of the unidentified hospital patients. She has sadly passed away in the terror attack yesterday.”Kelly really was the happiest she has ever been and we had so many things planned together. My daughter Phoebe will be absolutely devastated like we all are.”Her local paper, the Sheffield Star, praised her for her bravery on the front page of the newspaper after confirming her death. It said that she will be remembered by her community for her selfless act. Ms Brewster had been attending the Ariana Grande concert with her sister Claire and her niece Hollie Booth when the home-made device packed with nuts and bolts exploded in the venue’s foyer as thousands of young people were leaving.Hollie has two broken legs and Claire has a broken jaw, Hollie’s grandmother Tracy Booth wrote on Facebook.Paul Dryhurst, Kelly Brewster’s uncle, spoke of her bravery. He told ITV: “Kelly has shielded Hollie and Claire from the damage.”The three were walking out in single file, with Claire in front, Hollie behind her, and Kelly behind her. He said: “Ian told me that they had just put a deposit down on a house and were trying for a baby.”We will miss her so much. “Ian has a seven-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Phoebe, and she and Kelly were very close, like sisters. Another friend, Payton Williams, wrote: “Heaven has gained another angel Kelly you were a hero right down to your last moments. I will always remember our dinners out in champs and you giving me to confidence to travel with contiki alone. I will always remember giving you a lift home when mum worked her late shifts because I didn’t want you to have to catch the bus. A woman from Sheffield’s family have confirmed she is one of the victims of the Manchester terror attack after her body reportedly “shielded” her niece from the blast. She leaves behind a young daughter, Phoebe.It has now been confirmed by those close to her that she was trying for a baby before the incident.Ms Brewster, 32, a civil servant,had just put a deposit down on a new home with her boyfriend Ian Winslow and was planning to start a family with him when she was killed.Ian’s father John Winslow, 62, revealed the tragic circumstances surrounding her death.Speaking at his home in Sheffield, his eyes red and swollen opened the door to his home in Sheffield, said: “We are all devastated at what had happened. Ian is devastated.”Kelly is such a lovely, lovely girl. They were a lovely couple.”He told how they had been together three years and were just planning their future together. Kelly BrewsterCredit:Kelly Brewster/Facebook “Ian will have to break the news to her when he comes home tomorrow.”He is still in Manchester at the moment. They are waiting to officially identify her body today.”He said last night that they were waiting on the identity of a critical person in hospital and if that woman wasn’t Kelly then they knew she was dead.”And of course it wasn’t.”The grandma of 11-year-old Hollie Booth broke down in tears as she thanked her aunt Kelly for saving her life. Tracy Booth said: “I’m devastated about Kelly’s death. She was a hero. I would not have my granddaughter if it was not for her. “It is such a shame to lose Kelly because I would have liked to have thanked her. “But if she had lived I would have been unable to repay her for what she has done. “I will be indebted to her for the rest of my life.”Hollie’s uncle Shane Booth also broke down in tears as he said: “My niece, I love her. “And we’ve lost Kelly. It awful. I can’t understand it all. I am now scared to go anywhere. “They say that you should get on with your life, that it probably wouldn’t happen to you. 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