Applications are invited for suitably qualified Healthcare Assistants to be privately employed to care for a physically disabled young woman in her own home.Both full-time and part-time options are available. The positions will involve some night and weekend shifts.Duties will include personal care, implementation of physiotherapy and speech and language therapy programmes, and some domestic duties when required. FETAC Level 5 or equivalent experience is required. Manual Handling and Patient Handling certificates are desirable. Training in relation to the patient’s individual needs will be provided.The location of the job is in North Leitrim, near Bundoran, Co. Donegal.Competitive rates of pay offered in line with experience.To apply, please email your CV to [email protected] . If you have any queries, please also email them to [email protected] Job Vacancies: Healthcare assistants required for private position was last modified: October 19th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Drier weather moves in behind the front for today, tomorrow and Friday. We expect a mix of clouds and sun and colder temps, but generally, we still stay near normal on temperatures. That just will feel significantly colder than what we just got done with to start this week Models still are all over the place for Saturday, but we are going to keep snow in our thoughts over most of the state. Right now, we see snow moving into far western Indiana and NW Indiana overnight Friday night, and that should put our starting point here in Ohio around sunrise or even mid morning on Saturday. From there, snow lingers through Sunday. Combined, we could be looking at 1-3 inches in many areas, and some 4 inch totals cant be ruled out. The map at right shows some guidance, but we will not be putting out our official snow totals until Friday morning, as track is just too much of a variable at this time. We will be keeping an eye on south central Ohio, near the River, where we do have some minor concern about a mix of rain and wet snow , or even some freezing rain. However, freezing temps make it almost to the Ohio river, so snow is the most likely precipitation type at this time for 90% of the state. Usually, it is a very fine line from these kinds of events going rain/freezing rain or moderate to heavy snow…so stay tuned for updates on southern Ohio. Dry weather returns for the first half of next week. High pressure dominates on Monday. As it moves off to the east, south winds should redevelop and moderate temperatures by midweek. This south flow will also come ahead of our next system, which arrives on Thursday. Temps moderate just enough to allow for a mixed bag of precipitation through the day. We look for a rain-sleet-snow mix across the state. The good news is, that liquid equivalent precipitation will be limited to a few hundredths to .3” over 80% of the state. The bad news is, we have no clue as to what type will fall where, except the southern third of the state should lean mostly toward rain. This event will come down to track, and where the cold air stays stubborn. Friday goes dry again to finish next week. There is still some rain to start the extended 11-16 day forecast period, but right now it looks like it may be trending a bit farther south. We will dial coverage back to about 60% of the state right now, because there likely will be some areas that get missed, but we are not waving the all clear flag yet. The best moisture is in for Saturday the 19th. There still is the potential for that event to end as snow, as cold air blasts in behind. From there we remain cold with snow and flurries possible for the 22nd – 23rd – 24th. We become very cold through that period and should see our first foray in a while to well below normal temperature levels.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday named the eight international marquee players who will be representing the various franchises in the first two years of the T20 Global Destination League which gets underway later this year.The eight international marquee players will be entered into a mini-draft with the highest bidding franchise owner having first picked and the rest following the same process.Franchise owners will be asked to consider the fact that some of these players, by virtue of having played for some years in South Africa, already hold strong ties to certain cities in South Africa. (Also read: Hashim Amla thrilled with T20 Global Destination League)Each franchise team will also be allocated a South African marquee player.”We are thrilled by the calibre of the top eight international players we have lined up to participate in our new # T20 Global Destination League,” commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.”They are all stars in their own right and will add great value to the franchise teams they will represent,” he added.”This top-quality list of players will set a high standard for our tournament. With each one of them a household name in the world of cricket, we can certainly look forward to some enthralling contests that will grip the imagination of fans in South Africa and around the globe,” Lorgat said.”Coming from four different continents, these players confirm the global interest we have already seen. No doubt this will grow as other international stars register their interest to participate in our new #T20 League. The high level of interest from players and sponsors to participate in our league is proof of the great attraction of South Africa as a global destination. This is indeed very exciting for the country,” added Lorgat.advertisementThe marquee international players who have agreed playing league contracts with CSA are: Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga, Brendon McCullum, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Kieron Pollard, Jason Roy.Commenting on the tournament, Kevin Pietersen said, “I am delighted to have signed for the new #T20 Global Destination league in South Africa. South Africa, as everyone knows, is very close to my heart. So being a part of something innovative in their cricketing structure really excites me. I am sure the fans will support this wonderful creation which will showcase a lot of the world’s best players.”Chris Gayle commented, “I look forward to returning to South Africa as I have very happy memories of my time there. This included scoring the first ever century in T20 International cricket when the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was held in South Africa in 2007.”Brendon McCullum commented, “I very much enjoy the conditions in South Africa and it was an easy decision to make myself available for this tournament. I enjoy the way South Africans play the game and the way their fans interact with the players as well.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Hazard off bench to fire Chelsea into Carabao Cup semifinalsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveEden Hazard came off the bench to fire Chelsea into the Carabao Cup semifinals after victory over Bournemouth.The match was six minutes away from going to penalties when Pedro’s back-heel gave Hazard a chance, with his shot deflecting off Charlie Daniels and past Artur Boruc.Bournemouth, who were aiming to reach the semi-final of a major cup competition for the first time in their history, had chances but Callum Wilson shot just wide and Lys Mousset had an effort saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.Chelsea join 2018 winners Manchester City, Tottenham and League One side Burton Albion in the last four.
Southampton boss Hasenhuttl: Pochettino fantastic for Tottenhamby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is full of praise for Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino.Pochettino left the St Mary’s side to join Spurs back in 2014 and guided them to the Champions League final last season.Hasenhuttl said: “Last year he wasn’t allowed to sit on the bench which is maybe the reason why we could take the three points.“It was an unbelievable game from us. I didn’t know how we could end up winning this game because in the first half they should have been four goals up.“If you want to take points against such a team then you need to have a nearly perfect performance and even then, you are not sure.“I think he has done a fantastic job in Tottenham and took them from being a struggling team to Champions League finalists. It’s unbelievable the job he does there.“We don’t look too much on them because I think it’s important for us to concentrate on the qualities that we have.“We know that it’s a big challenge, but we like these challenges.“ About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
CALGARY – Three generations of a family were on their way to visit relatives in Houston last week when their minivan and a semi-truck collided head-on, killing three and injuring four others.Texas authorities say the van carrying six members of the Minhas family from Calgary appears to have drifted into oncoming traffic Saturday morning northwest of Amarillo.Upinderjit Minhas, who was driving, died in hospital, as did his six-year-old son Mehar Partap. The man’s mother, Nirmal, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene.Minhas’s wife, Jasleen, and daughters Mehakdeep, 10, and Japuleen, 8, were taken to hospital. The mother and her eight-year-old suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the girl was released.The eldest daughter was gravely injured with broken bones all over her body and remains in hospital in Lubbock, Tex.The 57-year-old truck driver was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.“It’s very hard to accept this,” Harcharan Parhar, whose brother-in-law is married to one of Upinderjit Minhas’s sisters, said Tuesday.The family was in Texas to visit Jasleen Minhas’s parents in Houston, Parhar said.“I believe their plan was to fly over there. But then they decided instead of flying, why don’t they go by van and then they can visit other places, because they had two weeks?”Upinderjit Minhas would have turned 39 on Tuesday, said Parhar. Minhas came to Canada from India when he was a teenager and studied at DeVry University in Calgary.He had a job with a financial firm that took him all around the world.“He was a very intelligent boy,” said Parhar.He described Nirmal Minhas as a “very nice, very polite lady,” who was always happy and smiling.Parhar said he’ll always remember Mehar Partap’s curly hair and smiling face.“He was a very cute boy.”Parhar said he spoke to Jasleen Minhas on Tuesday and she said she doesn’t remember anything after the van and truck collided with a bang because she was unconscious.“What happened, nobody knows,” he said. “Something happened suddenly in seconds.”He said several relatives have flown to Texas from Calgary and Toronto.Sgt. Dan Beusing with the Texas Department of Public Safety said the collision occurred on a two-lane secondary highway, which was dry at the time. He said the sun is unlikely to have been in the driver’s eyes at that hour.“From the witness statement of the driver of the 18-wheeler, the minivan just turned into his lane,” Beusing said.“Of course he doesn’t know what happened, but he said it looked like someone may have fell asleep.”He said state troopers are investigating, but won’t question the mother until she is ready.“It’s a tough thing to start asking questions at this point. It might be a while before they get a chance to interview her some more.“It’s just a really, really tragic event.”
APTN National NewsCritics of the Harper government’s anti-terror bill were on Parliament Hill Wednesday.They came to show their opposition hours before a vote in expected to pass in the House of Commons.APTN’s Annette Francis in Ottawa.
His hobby nonetheless might have stalled decades ago if he hadn’t connected with his best single box-score source, a kindred spirit who collected NBA stats for a living: Harvey Pollack. The Philadelphia 76ers’ director of statistical information has been working in pro basketball since before the NBA, debuting with the league’s forerunner, the Basketball Association of America, in 1946. The two men aren’t clear on when they began collaborating. Pfander said in a telephone interview he thinks it was 1956; Pollack, who is 92, recalled that they started working together when he expanded his annual NBA stats book in the 1970s. They met at most a few times, but they communicated at least a dozen times each year by phone and mail.Pollack, who has worked for the Sixers since the team’s first season in 1963-64, was also collecting box scores for every game, though his collection didn’t go back as far as Pfander’s. Pollack would send Pfander his book of box scores, and Pfander would send back results of his data analysis — tidbits such as when the league’s millionth point was scored. That archival work helped when the NBA marked later milestone league totals. “He’s the one who started with it,” Pollack said. “That was his idea. I’ve kept it alive ever since.”Pollack put many of these small discoveries in his annual books, always crediting Pfander, whose stats were meticulously calculated and, before he started using a computer, meticulously handwritten, with a fountain pen. “He has the best handwriting you have ever seen,” said his daughter Colleen Greff.Pfander said he used to check the box scores Pollack sent, to make sure the numbers added up. Then he would generate 33 or 34 different stats for Pollack in return. Pollack said his latest book includes at least 40 stats furnished by Pfander.Filling holes in the recordPart of the fun of sports is measuring today’s players and teams against their predecessors, and you can’t do that without a complete record of what past players did. Every sport’s fan base includes completists, people who feel unsettled by the lack of certainty in the records.Ten years ago, Justin Kubatko founded the website Basketball-Reference.com as a resource for fans who want to know every detail about basketball history. Seven years ago, he left his job teaching statistics at Ohio State University to work full time on basketball stats.Before he connected with Pfander, Kubatko had game-by-game data on his site going back only to the mid-1980s.“I’m a completist,” Kubatko said in a telephone interview. “It did kind of bug me. We had 40 years of information that was just not there. I was also a realist. I knew there was really no easy way to acquire that data.”Kubatko doesn’t recall when he first heard of Pfander’s box-score collection — perhaps from the discussion boards at the basketball analytics site APBR.org, where Pfander has been a frequent topic of discussion. “I got his contact information, we talked for a few weeks, we worked out a deal, and we bought what he had,” Kubatko said. “He is an extremely generous and extremely nice man.”By this time, Pfander had digitized his box scores, scanning and sorting them — meticulously, of course. The disk Kubatko received, in 2008, had folders for each year and subfolders for months and for days. Even so, the box scores were saved as images, not spreadsheets or databases, so it wasn’t easy to add them to a stats database.Kubatko sat on the trove for at least a year. “Then we said, ‘You know what, this is kind of silly,’” he recalled. “People are probably interested in what we have as it is.” He wrote a script to link the team abbreviations Pfander used with those on the site and to pair each scan with that game’s unique Basketball Reference ID. Then he fixed the mismatches that arose from errors in the box scores or in the site’s schedule data.In January 2012, Kubatko announced that Basketball Reference now had every box score for every NBA game. His blog post credited Pfander, “who did the lion’s share of the work for this project.” At Grantland a few days later, Robert Mays wrote about the pair and Pfander’s unlikely collection.Fans wouldn’t be able to work with the old stats, though, until Kubatko could get the games into the database. He found Sean Wrona, a champion competitive typist, who “keyed in all this stuff for us off the scans, and we paid him to do that,” Kubatko said. “He did the first several seasons we put out there. All I’ll say is I found a more efficient way to handle the other seasons.”Wrona said in an email1Presumably typed quickly: He’s been clocked above 250 words per minute. that each box score took him about 10 minutes, or just five when it was abbreviated and missing some statistical categories. “Accuracy is far more important than speed for archival work (unlike for competitive typing, where raw speed is far more important), so I don’t come close to my peak typing speed while archiving, but it still helps,” Wrona said. He continues to do data-entry work for Sports Reference, Basketball Reference’s parent company.Wrona’s typing was the fastest part of the project. To merit inclusion in the database, a box score had to make sense: Players’ numbers had to add up to team totals, for instance. Newspaper box scores are the first draft of basketball statistical history. Kubatko estimated that each season had about 100 errors. He could resolve most using online news databases. Kubatko also sought help from his readers, posting on the blog his “most wanted” list for box scores where the sum of players’ scores didn’t equal the team total.The NBA steps inKubatko’s effort to build a publicly accessible archive of the game’s history made slow but sure progress.2In October 2012, Kubatko announced partial box scores were available for the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. In December, Basketball Reference’s database stretched to 1981-82. The next month, he’d added one more year. By March of last year, the database went back to 1976-77, the first year after the NBA merged with the American Basketball Association. Last March, he announced a big breakthrough: The database now went back to 1964-65.Since then, the work has stalled: Basketball Reference has added just one more year. One reason is that Kubatko left Sports Reference in August, citing “creative differences.”3He retains a stake in the company, and is, as of earlier this month, an NBA consultant, through his company, Statitudes LLC.Sports Reference’s founder and president, Sean Forman, says the work to fill in the remaining 18 years of box-score data continues, but it isn’t a priority. That’s because the NBA itself announced in February 2013 that it had posted the box score for every game, all the way back to 1946-47, to NBA.com. “We want to be first on things,” Forman said. “Now that the NBA already has that data up, it’s a little bit less of an impetus.”So where did the NBA get that data? It always had “thorough statistical records,” league spokesman John Acunto said, but hadn’t figured out how to best publish most of them online until partnering with SAP, the tech company that powers the NBA’s revamped stats site. Before the site relaunch last year, the NBA offered game-by-game stats online going back only to 2007, Acunto said.Pfander’s box-score archive was one source the league used to fill gaps. “We have acquired from Pfander and others additional references and sources to cross-reference and validate our information,” Acunto said.Pete Palmer, a veteran sports statistician, said he and Pfander collaborated on using the box-score collection to correct errors in the league’s records. Palmer said that Pfander also sold his box scores to the statisticians at the Elias Sports Bureau.4“As I remember it, some of the box scores were hard to read and Dick had to prepare typed files for Elias,” Palmer said by email.Steve Hirdt, a statistician at often-secretive Elias, declined to comment on whether the company worked with Pfander. “It’s just not something we discuss,” he said by phone.The legend retiresPfander is far from the only amateur completist to aid sports historians. Pollack, of the Sixers, credited regular contributions from other basketball enthusiasts in his book over the years. David W. Smith has led a team of volunteers in the ongoing, ambitious effort to fill the record of every Major League Baseball play. Wrona built an online auto-racing database for a dozen series. Forman cited the contribution of Ed Washuta, who entered minor league baseball stats over a century old. “Pfander is an exemplar in that he has produced such a tremendous set of data for the public,” Forman said.The work of filling and correcting the NBA statistical record goes on. Many of the older box scores contained only field goals made, free throws made and points scored for each player. And some box scores are missing players, such as these on NBA.com. Fans often write to the league to suggest corrections, which it makes when appropriate, Acunto said. Sports Reference similarly invites corrections from readers.Pfander, a user of the site, continued to help Sports Reference’s efforts after shipping his data. “Some of those older scans are really poor,” Kubatko said. “It was very hard to read some of them. He was trying to find replacements for those, and occasionally he would send us stuff that would give us a better scan.” Pfander also did some digitizing work himself, typing old box scores into Microsoft Word documents — Word tables were his instrument of choice for organizing his digital data. “He was committed, definitely,” Kubatko said.5Pfander also sent along his ABA box scores, and inputting those is another project waiting to be completed.The work could go on forever. “You’re never going to get a perfect set of box scores,” Kubatko said. “It’s just not going to happen.”Today, though, Pfander is no longer actively working on NBA statistics. In November 2012 — just as Basketball Reference’s effort to input his data was gaining momentum — Pfander had surgery for a brain aneurysm. Afterward, he was confused, “and he actually made the joke, something about, you should never have brain surgery during NBA season, because it just messes up all the statistics,” his daughter Colleen recalled.Later that month, on his 78th birthday, Pfander suffered a stroke. The stroke has affected his short-term memory, Pfander and his children say. They tell him that the speech he gave at his wife’s memorial service was the best they’ve ever heard, and he laments that there’s no recording for him to listen to and remind him of what he said.The stroke also has interrupted Pfander’s statistical work. He continues to watch the NBA from his current home at a care facility but, he said, “I’ve had some physical setbacks, and I just don’t do it anymore.” He added, “I started a couple of different times, and I guess I’d say I don’t have the interest in making all those copies of box scores and then filling in the blanks so that I can add ’em up and see strings of double-figure scoring and things like that.”His daughter Julaine has cleaned up his computer’s desktop so that it has just two folders, one of them labeled “basketball stats.” She’s also backed up his data onto an external hard drive. It’s all ready for him to dive back in. “He doesn’t seem to want to do that,” she said. “Part of me thinks he worries that if he doesn’t do it exactly right, he might mess something up. He knows he has all this great data out there, and the last thing he would want to do is not do it the way he used to do it.”“It’s so sad now,” Colleen said. “It was such a passion for him, oh my goodness, he could not bear to fall behind. Now the desire to do statistics is just not there.”If he never revisits basketball stats, Pfander’s legacy is secure, and that’s some comfort. “I think he was probably happy that all of this work he had done — because he had really done it for really personal reasons — he was happy that it would be able to reach a larger audience, and that other people would be able to benefit from the work he had done,” Kubatko said.Of his hobby’s role in completing the Basketball Reference database, Pfander said, “It makes me feel that it was useful.” Dick Pfander has spent most of his life collecting and analyzing box scores from every NBA game since the league’s founding. He did most of his work in solitude, by hand, before the age of personal computers. And he did it simply for his own pleasure, surrounded by supportive family members who cared neither about basketball nor statistics, let alone their intersection.Today, his analog hobby is paying digital dividends for stats-obsessed basketball fans. His work has helped fill gaps in the league’s statistical record for both its official website and the leading independent reference site. The project continues — but without Pfander.An all-consuming “job”Pfander started clipping box scores from newspapers as a teenager in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the late 1940s. He did it during high school, after his marriage to Colette Waterman, through jobs as a teacher and with the Defense Department, through the birth of his three children, and through Colette’s death, in 2009.On vacations, Dick and Colette would travel to places where “he thought there might be a newspaper of use to him” in the local library’s archive, his daughter Julaine Eddy said in a telephone interview. “She’d drop him off and go do things around town while he sat in front of the microfiche machine.”Pfander’s children say they and their mother didn’t share his passion for NBA stats, but they didn’t resent it. It was just one way he expressed his love for basketball and for statistics. He also refereed basketball games and compiled the stats for local youth baseball tournaments and swim meets. He didn’t mind that none of his children played basketball or got into stats.Most of all, he sat in front of the television, “going back and forth between watching the basketball and working on the stats,” said his son, Greg. “It never bothered me that he did it — it was his thing. It just seems like that’s my dad, that’s what he always did.”Julaine’s memory of her father working on his stats is vivid. “Dad had this huge desk at home, and it was him sitting at that desk. The TV was visible from that desk, and he sat there and worked,” she said. “And as a kid, you think, ‘That must be a job he’s doing.’”Why did he do it? Pfander, 79, isn’t expansive on the topic. “It was a hobby for me,” he said in an interview last week. “It was a fun thing for me to do.” He considered himself a statistician long before NBA teams started hiring statisticians. “I had always been interested in statistics,” Pfander said, and “I kind of liked doing statistical-type things.”He added, “I don’t think anybody would do all that unless they enjoyed it.” Dick Pfander Courtesy of Colleen Greff
Percentage of plays for zero or negative yards25.6%26.6 Notre Dame6940 The Sooners have gotten better under MurrayOklahoma’s offensive production in 2018, with Kyler Murray at quarterback, vs. 2017, with Baker Mayfield at quarterback Oklahoma12854 TeamOffensive SnapsDefensive Snaps 20075.05373.8224.522.626.4 20106.96444.1222.214.171.124 20166.47455.3210.321.031.9 20095.96403.0187.920.630.1 Percentage of first downs or TDs per play41.0%37.6 One year ago, the Oklahoma Sooners fielded the worst defense to ever qualify for the College Football Playoff. Under first-year head coach Lincoln Riley, and behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma took a 17-point lead on Georgia, the eventual national runner-up, before losing in the Rose Bowl semifinal. Twelve months later, Riley has another Heisman-winning quarterback in Kyler Murray and has piloted another one-dimensional Sooners team to a playoff berth.The reward — a date with Alabama, college football’s lead power broker — seems more like a punishment. The Tide, long a defensive force under coach Nick Saban, now boast what’s likely the best offense in program history. Las Vegas oddsmakers cared not for Oklahoma’s three-game winning streak against the Tide and opened with Alabama as two-touchdown favorites. According to FiveThirtyEight’s college football prediction model, Alabama has a 41 percent probability of winning the national title. Oklahoma faces much taller odds, with an 11 percent probability of winning it all.Here’s what to look for the when the two programs meet in the Orange Bowl semifinal Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern.Will Tua Tagovailoa or Kyler Murray win the QB showdown?Seldom do a Heisman winner and his runner-up meet after the winner is crowned. Even given that rarity, this may be the best postseason clash of college quarterbacks we’ve ever seen. Both are coming off of historic regular seasons, with each in line to trump the record for Total Quarterback Rating, which ESPN has tracked since 2004 and is measured on a scale of 0 to 100. Bama rarely plays from behindTotal first-half snaps when trailing for this year’s playoff participants This is Saban’s most dominant Alabama offenseAlabama’s offense by season under head coach Nick Saban 20085.52355.8171.118.825.6 SeasonYardsYardsPassingYards1st DownsOffensive Points Per playPer Game Clemson6324 Metric20182017 20137.15454.1248.523.234.2 As if spring-loaded, Murray’s legs have minced opposing defenses. On a 75-yard touchdown run against Kansas, a broadcaster declared, “You’re not going to catch him,” before Murray had passed the 40-yard line. The junior is the country’s pre-eminent dual-threat wizard, whose 892 rushing yards place him seventh among all Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks this year.At the same time, Tagovailoa has been the figurehead of the Tide’s offensive ascension since replacing Jalen Hurts in last season’s national championship game. Saban has been in Tuscaloosa since 2007, and this year’s offense has been his best in terms of, well, everything. 20126.95445.5218.021.637.2 20116.46429.6215.221.632.1 But it’s not just the quarterbacks. In terms of offensive efficiency, this is the best matchup since the playoff began in 2014. Oddsmakers have taken notice, setting a points over/under total that’s unprecedented in the playoff era.It seemed logical that the departure of Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, would abate Oklahoma’s offensive horsepower. That 2017 team had the most efficient offense ever tracked, according to the ESPN Stats & Information Group.1It has measured efficiency since 2005. But in Murray’s first full season as a starting college quarterback, the Sooners’ offense has actually improved. “Kyler Murray has accomplished more in one season and had more impact on the Sooners’ tradition in one season than any other player in our history,” former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer told The Athletic. “He’s broke all the damn records.” Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Yards per play8.88.3 20187.92527.6325.524.643.9 20176.59444.1193.422.236.1 Both Murray and Tagovailoa are having little difficulty stretching the field. If they keep up this pace during the playoffs, each would rank in the top three among all QBs since 2004 in single-season passing yards per attempt, with Murray’s current 11.92 mark in line to set the all-time record.They won’t, however, be competing against equally proficient defensive units. Murray will be staring down a top-flight fortress that spent the past few months razing offensive lines and leveling quarterbacks. The Crimson Tide rank second in defensive efficiency, behind Clemson, and they lead the country in adjusted defensive quarterback rating, which accounts for the strength of the opposing quarterback. The Tide ranks among the 15 best teams in opponent completion percentage (51.8 percent) and yards allowed per pass attempt (5.86).Tagovailoa will have the luxury of playing against a defense that might seem as though it’s providing Alabama an escort to the end zone. Oklahoma ranks 92nd in defensive efficiency, unseating last year’s squad as the new worst defense to make it to the playoff; the Sooners have allowed 56 touchdowns this year, 13 more than Alabama has allowed since the beginning of the 2017 season. Uninspired performances led to the midseason firing of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. But the unit’s play hasn’t improved. After giving up 39 first downs to Oklahoma State, the most allowed by any FBS team this season, interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill found room to praise his team for making “critical stops.”Pass defense, in particular, has been ghastly for the Sooners. No FBS team allows more passing yards per game (291.4), and only five allow more completions (22.3). The Sooners love to give up the long play, having allowed 56 passing plays of 20-plus yards, the fourth-most by any team.It’s unlikely that the turnover margin will favor the Sooners — even though Tagovailoa threw as many interceptions in his last outing as he did the rest of the season total. Oklahoma has generated 11 takeaways all season, the fewest of any qualifying team in the playoff era. Alabama has forced 11 since the beginning of October — and 21 in total.On the opening drive of the SEC championship game, Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle injury, which required surgery the following day. The sophomore has said that he’ll be unencumbered come game time, and given how little he rushes — generating just the 89th-most rushing yards among QBs — he won’t need much mobility. Even a pocket-locked Tagovailoa can still shred an opposing defense.Can Oklahoma survive Alabama’s first-half avalanche to win the second half?Players come and go, and each season carries idiosyncrasies, but the narrative arcs of the Sooners’ two previous playoff appearances were seemingly penned by the same author. In both, a lead evaporated and a dominant first half gave way to a second-half dud.In those appearances — in the 2015-16 Orange Bowl and the 2017-18 Rose Bowl — the Sooners outscored opponents 48 to 33 in the first half and were pummeled 49 to 14 in the second.2Excluding the overtime periods against Georgia in last season’s Rose Bowl. Those losses, Riley said,3Riley was Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator during the 2015-16 season. could be traced to physical opponents and conservative play-calling.Rewriting the script, then, will be paramount this time around for Oklahoma.Offensively, the Sooners seem to have the first half covered. No team puts up more first-half yardage than Oklahoma, which averages 313.4 yards a game. The team racks up 9.5 yards per first-half play — nearly a first down on each play. Riley’s offense is outscoring opponents by an average of 11.3 points in first halves this season, the eighth-best mark in the country.Of course, what separates Alabama from Oklahoma is its defense. The Tide allow 7.9 points per game in first halves, 12th-fewest in the nation and 7.9 fewer points than the Sooners. Alabama doesn’t just shut the door on its opponents in the opening 30 minutes — it packs their bags, shuttles them to the airport and ushers them through TSA. Remember when the Tide turned Tiger Stadium into a morgue by the third quarter of November’s top-five showdown with LSU? Or when the Tide took a trip to Oxford, watched Ole Miss score on its opening play and then blitzed the Rebels with 62 unanswered points, including 49 in the first half?4Alabama was playing a third-string quarterback in the third quarter of that one.LSU and Ole Miss aren’t alone. Saban’s squad is outscoring opponents 388 to 103 in first halves this season. On average, the Crimson Tide enter the locker room at halftime with a 21.9-point lead, the second-biggest margin by any team since at least 2004, the first year for which data is available.5The best mark over that stretch belongs to the 2010 Boise State Broncos, with an average 24.2-point halftime lead. Ninety-three teams have scored fewer total touchdowns than Alabama has scored in first halves. Only four teams in the past 15 seasons have scored more first-half touchdowns than the Tide’s 53.These lopsided first halves mean that the Tide hardly ever fall behind on the scoreboard. The average college football team this season played 178.6 first-half offensive snaps when trailing. Alabama played 18 — 32 fewer than the next-closest team. Offensive points per game47.043.6 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Alabama1812 Percentage of first downs or TDs per pass attempt51.1%49.4 20146.66484.5277.924.336.3 20155.89427.1227.121.930.1 National average177129 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Coming into the SEC title game, teams had run a combined 388 first-half plays against the Tide defense. They didn’t have the lead on any of them. Georgia finally broke through in the SEC championship; the Bulldogs ran 43 first-half offensive plays against the Tide and led for 12 of them.The nightmare doesn’t end for Alabama opponents in second halves: Then they’re outscored by a touchdown and a half, on average. In second halves, teams score 0.92 touchdowns per game against the Tide, tied for the sixth-fewest.Conversely, Oklahoma’s dominance tapers off considerably in the final two quarters, when it outscores opponents by only 5.2 points, which ranks 24th nationally.Little if any of that decline is attributable to the offense, which roars from start to finish. But defensively, the bottom seems to fall out for the Sooners after halftime, as they allow an average of 2.23 touchdowns per game in second halves, the most by any team in the Big 12 and tied for the 20th-most nationally. Riley’s defense has allowed 29 second-half touchdowns, the most by an Oklahoma defense since at least 2004.However, should Oklahoma keep the game close down the stretch, it has a peerless crunch-time quarterback in Murray. The Sooners have played seven games decided by 14 or fewer points, while Alabama has played only one. In the fourth quarter, when the scoring margin is within 14 points, Murray has a nation-leading quarterback rating of 99 — that’s on a 1-to-100 scale, mind you.There’s an argument to be made that Oklahoma is better equipped — certainly more experienced — to handle high-leverage situations.6Before the SEC title game, Tagovailoa had played three snaps the entire season in which his team was trailing. But Alabama has been so dominant that it simply hasn’t mattered.
The Ohio State Buckeyes lit up the scoreboard as they pushed their record to 4-0 Saturday, defeating the Florida A&M Rattlers 76-0.The Buckeyes started out fast, scoring early and often against the Rattlers. After throwing an interception on the first drive of the game, redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton recovered and threw four touchdown passes before the end of the first quarter, spreading the ball around in the process.Junior tight end Jeff Heuerman, junior wide receivers Evan Spencer and Devin Smith and senior running back Carlos Hyde all caught passes for scores from Guiton, helping OSU jump to a 34-0 lead.Guiton’s success this season in Miller’s absence is a result of how much he has pushed himself and developed, according to OSU coach Urban Meyer.“He pushed himself academically, and he’s an exceptional guy,” Meyer said of Guiton. “He’s an efficient player right now, he’s an incredible manager, coach on the field so, you know, his time came. It’s not because he had the buckeye in his pocket or his lucky T-shirt; it’s because he worked hard with the position coach to get ready for his opportunity and boy did he.”It was Hyde’s first action of the season after being suspended by Meyer for his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar in July. Hyde finished the game with 41 yards on five carries to go along with his touchdown catch.With his return, one of the game’s story lines was how he was going to fit into the offensive system moving forward. Meyer addressed that following the game.“I think you have three (running backs) that are above the others right now, you have Jordan Hall, Rod Smith and Carlos Hyde are the top three backs,” Meyer said. “(Redshirt-senior running back) Jordan Hall gives you flexibility, too. I’m evaluating what to do.”OSU continued to pile it on in the second quarter, as Hall scored his second touchdown of the game on an 18-yard scamper to give his team a 41-0 lead.Guiton set the OSU record for touchdown passes in a game just before halftime, when he connected with Spencer in the back of the end zone for his sixth scoring toss. That score gave the Buckeyes a 55-0 lead at the break. Guiton completed 24 of 34 passes for 215 yards with six touchdowns and one interception, and said it was “a lot of fun” setting a record like that.“It’s a blessing. Like I said, thank God, thank the O-linemen. I had all day,” Guiton said. “The coaches wanted to come out throwing the ball around, I thank them for the trust they put in me to be able to do that, and I just trust the receivers and make plays.”With the game in hand, OSU’s backups started the second half and played the rest of the game. Freshman running back Ezekiel Elliot found the end zone for the first time in his OSU career in the third quarter on a 16-yard run. He scored again later in the quarter on a 13-yard run, as the Buckeyes took a 69-0 lead into the fourth quarter.Redshirt-freshman quarterback Cardale Jones ran 10 yards for a touchdown late in the game to make the final score 76-0.Starting redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby said the defense’s goal was to not allow FAMU to score any points, and that it felt good to achieve that goal.“As a defense we shut them out,” Roby said. “That was our goal and we were able to accomplish that, so that’s always a good feeling, leaving a game with a goose egg.”A moment of silence was taken before the game to honor Maria Tiberi, an OSU student who was killed in a car accident Sept. 17. Meyer said they presented the Tiberi family with an OSU football helmet.“Once again with a heavy heart and sympathy and prayers for (the Tiberi) family,” Meyer said. “We gave them a helmet, and you wish you could do more for that family.”OSU is scheduled to start Big Ten play next Saturday against Wisconsin at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.