<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Sports]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.com en-usTue, 23 Oct 2018 16:37:33 -0400Tue, 23 Oct 2018 16:37:33 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dodgers, Red Sox Look to Add to World Series Totals]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2018 10:33:17 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WSPHOTO.jpg

The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are no strangers to the World Series. As they face off this year, take a peek at some of their numbers.

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<![CDATA[Ex-Phillie Lenny Dykstra Pleads Not Guilty in Uber Driver Flap]]> Mon, 22 Oct 2018 18:41:42 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dykstra11.jpg

Ex-Met legend Lenny Dykstra, a three-time All-Star who has faced repeated legal troubles over the last decade, pleaded not guilty Monday to drug and threat-making charges stemming from an Uber altercation earlier this year.

Dykstra was indicted on the charges -- cocaine possession, meth possession and making terroristic threats -- less than two weeks ago in connection with the late May ride-share fight. At the time, an Uber driver alleged Dykstra put a gun to his head when the driver declined his request to go somewhere other than his original destination. Dykstra, 55, was taken into custody at the scene.


Dykstra, who waived formal arraignment at Monday's hearing in Union County, and his lawyer made brief comments to reporters after court. The attorney reiterated previous statements -- that Dykstra is a nonviolent man and the evidence will support his contentions. Dykstra, asked about the emotional toll the court case has taken on him, mumbled so much in his brief response that his words were barely audible. 

Dykstra has been active on Twitter, though, teasing in the overnight hours ahead of his court appearance, "Anything interesting going on in any Elizabeth, NJ courtrooms during the next day or so?"

After court, he went on a bizarre nonsensical Tweetstorm, writing a series of postss with various tags like #NationalNutDay, #DoublePlusGood, #NobodyWantsToHear and #NailsNation" that didn't appear to have anything to do with Monday's court hearing. He's due back in court in December.

Dykstra has said he was in fear for his life because the Uber driver wouldn't stop the car; his lawyer has said the driver took Dykstra on the wrong route to his destination and engaged the child locks to keep him from getting out. 

For his part, the Uber driver told authorities of an expletive-laden tirade that involved threats to "blow off" his head. At the time of the altercation, the driver stopped outside police headquarters in Linden, New Jersey, and ran out of the car. Police said they found cocaine, MDMA and marijuana among Dykstra's belongings but didn't find a weapon.

Dykstra's attorney has denied the threat had ever happened.

Dykstra played 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets and won a World Series in 1986 with the Mets. He was named to the National League All-Star team three times.

Dykstra's life after baseball has been troubled. He has served prison time after pleading guilty to crimes including bankruptcy fraud, grand theft auto and money laundering, and he declared bankruptcy in 2009, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.



Photo Credit: News 4
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<![CDATA[Johnson's 158 Yards Rushing Help Lions Beat Dolphins 32-21]]> Mon, 22 Oct 2018 05:29:18 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1052152484.jpg

The Detroit Lions clustered on the bench under shade canopies Sunday, keeping their cool in the South Florida heat. And when they stepped onto the field and into the subtropical sunshine, they ran all over the Miami Dolphins.

Unfazed by the weather, Kerryon Johnson rushed for 158 yards and the Lions netted 248 on the ground, their highest total in 21 years, to win 32-21.

Matt Stafford was 18 for 22 for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Detroit had 457 total yards and mounted scoring drives covering 64, 85, 75, 65, 75, 63 and 44 yards.

"We're playing a team, not the weather," Stafford said. "Our guys up front dominated, and our backs were awesome. It was good to go out there and play at a high level against a good team."

The Lions (3-3) punted once and had no turnovers to win on the road for the first time. They've climbed back to .500 after being outscored 78-44 in their first two games.

Injury-ravaged Miami (4-3) lost at home for the first time this season — and lost another key player. Dynamic receiver Albert Wilson was sidelined in the first half with a leg injury.

Receiver Kenny Stills also limped to the locker room with a minute left.

The Lions, meanwhile, held up well in the 88-degree sunshine, even though it was 40 degrees warmer than in Detroit. That was in contrast to the Chicago Bears, who wilted at Miami in an overtime loss a week earlier.

Johnson, an Alabama native, said the heat didn't bother him at all.

"This is the same stuff I've been doing since I was a little boy," he said. "I've been up in Detroit freezing my tail off. To finally get to play in the sun and heat and humidity, I was loving it."

Johnson carried 19 times and needed barely a quarter to reach 100 yards. The rookie ran for 24 on Detroit's first play and found a gaping hole on a draw for a 71-yard gain, the Lions' longest running play since 2011, to set up a field goal.

"Basically they could do whatever they wanted on that side of the ball," Miami coach Adam Gase said.

Detroit averaged 7.1 yards per rush. Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, for one, was surprised how many yards rushing his team allowed.

"A lot has to go wrong for that to happen," he said.

Detroit's Michael Roberts, who had missed the past three games with a knee injury, caught touchdown passes of 15 and 4 yards.

"We're a very fine-tuned offense," Roberts said, "and it was nice to be able to show how fine-tuned we are."

Brock Osweiler threw for 239 yards for the Dolphins, and after falling behind 20-7, they tried to rally with Kenyan Drake's 54-yard touchdown run and Danny Amendola's 24-yard scoring reception.

But Prater's 50-yard field goal — his fourth — with 1:55 left sealed the victory.

INJURED BYSTANDER

A security guard hurt her shoulder when Stills blindsided her on a scoring play. Stills' momentum carried him into the guard after he caught a 5-yard pass in the corner of the end zone, and the woman tumbled to the ground.

A dazed Stills checked on her and gave her the ball as a souvenir. The Dolphins said the guard was taken to the hospital as a precaution with a sore shoulder.

Gase said he didn't consider the positioning of the guard near the end zone something that needed to be addressed.

"Every stadium is like that where that can happen," the coach said.

INJURY REPORT

Miami: Wilson left the game in the second quarter after his foot appeared to buckle when he was tackled on a 25-yard reception. He limped to the locker room.

"It definitely hurts us," Osweiler said. "Albert is a tremendous player. He brings a spark. We definitely missed him."

ANTHEM

Stills and Wilson kneeled during the anthem, as they have done before previous games, and Miami defensive end Robert Quinn again raised his right fist.

UP NEXT

Dolphins: Miami plays Thursday night at the Houston Texans, who lead the series 7-1.

Lions: Detroit plays at home Sunday against Seattle. It's their first meeting since the Seahawks beat the Lions in an NFC wild-card game two seasons ago.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers, Rockets Brawl as LeBron Loses Home Opener]]> Sun, 21 Oct 2018 08:00:44 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1052651858.jpg

A fight erupted in the fourth quarter of LeBron James' home debut with the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Saturday, as Chris Paul, Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo were all ejected in a feisty contest that ultimately saw the Lakers fall 124-115 to the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers may be 0-2, but they showed some fight--literally.

 

The fight erupted after Ingram shoved James Harden, with Paul and Rondo getting into a heated discussion that boiled over into punches being thrown by Paul and Rondo. Ingram, who had already received a technical foul, decided to run into the scrum and deliver a punch of his own to guarantee his ejection.

 

The Rockets led 109-108 when the fight broke out, with a shade over four minutes remaining in the game. The ensuing two technical free throws gave the Rockets a crucial three-point advantage, and Houston relied on Harden to outscore the Lakers 15-7 following the fight.

The night, though, started far more positive, with celebrities packing the stands and a crowd charged up during introductions. James and company faced the Houston Rockets' two-headed monster of James Harden and Paul, with James making his highly anticipated regular season home debut dressed in LA's iconic gold jersey.

James scored the Lakers' first two points of the game, but the Lakers had already dug a seven-point hole before the 33-year-old netted his first official basket at Staples Center for the home team.

The first quarter laid the groundwork for Harden's big night, with the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player tabbing nine points in the opening 12 minutes before pouring in 14 points in the second quarter for a halftime total of 23 points. The Southern California native ended the night with 36 points to lead the pack.

Thanks in part to contributions from Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Rondo and, of course, James, the Lakers nullified the eye-popping output provided by Paul and Harden early. Paul went into the break with 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Still, the Rockets never truly pulled away, and the two teams were tied eight times, with 14 lead changes in the first 24 minutes. The Rockets held a four-point edge at the break.

James led the Lakers in scoring at the intermission with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Rondo added nine points, four assists and three rebounds before the break.

The third quarter continued the back-and-forth seesaw of the first half, with six lead changes in the penultimate quarter. Paul took the scoring lead from Harden momentarily, and the former LA Clippers' point guard scored nine points in the period to lead all scorers with 28 points and eight assists with 12 minutes remaining in the contest.

The Lakers, meanwhile, spread the scoring out and had six different players scoring in double figures before the end of the third quarter--led by James' 18 points at that stage.

For the second game in a row, an unlikely opponent off the bench caused damage to LA's hopes of getting its first victory of the 2018-19 season. While Nik Stauskas had killed the Lakers off the Blazers' bench of Thursday, Gerald Green assumed that role for the Rockets.

After three quarters, Green was 5-5 from the field for 13 points in 15 minutes off the Rockets' bench.

The fourth quarter featured the Rockets building a six-point lead almost immediately, but a flagrant foul on James Ennis III for wrapping his arm around Hart's neck helped the Lakers cut the Rockers' momentum on the scoreboard.

Lakers coach Luke Walton pointed to that Flagrant 1 foul as possibly leading to the fight minutes later. Hart, after the game, said he thought that Ennis should have been ejected, and Walton said the same. 

At the five-minute mark, though, the Rockets only led by a single point, but then a basketball game turned into a fight. Paul was ejected from the game with 28 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Ingram hit the showers with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes, while Rondo left the floor with 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Down the stretch, however, Harden managed to put the ball in the bucket and claim victory for the visitors. The MVP finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the victory, while James ended his Lakers' home debut with 24 points on 9-22 shooting from the field, five assists and five rebounds.

Notes: Ball finished the night shooting 4-8 from three-point land and 14 points to lead all bench scorers on both teams. With suspensions to Rondo and Ingram likely, Ball should slot into the starting lineup.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[ Dodgers Beat Brewers 5-1, Advance to World Series]]> Sun, 21 Oct 2018 20:20:18 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/204*120/Puig+hits+three+run+homer+in+Game+7+of+NLCS.png

The Dodgers are going back to the World Series.

Christian Yelich hit a first inning homer to give Milwaukee the lead, but the Dodgers responded with home runs by Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig, as they beat the Brewers, 5-1, to win the National League Championship Series four games to three.

Ahead of the winner-take-all Game 7, I wrote that whichever team took a two-to-three run lead would advance to the World Series. As such, when a precious lead is achieved in these do-or-die games, everything else dissolves and as the world appears to steadily slow on its axis, the arduous counting of outs begins.

Saturday morning started with the Dodgers waking up from the nightmares of a Game 7 loss at the hands of the Houston Astros in last year's World Series.

However, the sun would rise, a new day would come, and the opportunity to erase and exorcise some of those demons was at hand.

27 outs left.

After a scoreless first inning from Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin, Yelich put the Brewers in front when he turned on a 98.5MPH fastball from rookie Walker Buehler for a solo shot.

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"Yelich clipped me," said Buehler of the homer. "It's a decent pitch. It's hard to hit that ball there. That's why he's a good player."

It was the second home run of the postseason from the presumed NL MVP, and it sent the sellout crowd at Miller Park into a frenzy as Milwaukee was seeking just their second ever World Series appearance, and first since moving to the National League in 1998.

Milwaukee's vaunted bullpen was ready and waiting, so as the Dodgers headed to the plate in the top half of the second inning, they knew they needed to answer the bell and silence the crowd. 

24 outs left.

Similar to a WWE wrestling villain, Dodgers' shortstop Manny Machado led off the second inning to a chorus of boos that drowned out any and all thoughts from players, to fans, to writers on deadline in the press box. 

Just days earlier, when asked why he didn't run out a groundball to first base in Game 2 of the series, Machado told Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal, "I don't hustle. It's not in my personality. I'm not the type of player that's going to be Johnny Hustle."

Whether or not Machado becomes the second coming of Pete Rose (Charlie Hustle not Johnny), is yet to be seen, but Machado did do his best impression of the Cincinnati Reds legend when he took everyone by surprise by laying down a full count bunt for an infield single.

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"We're trying to do anything to win," said Machado between champagne showers in the clubhouse following the win. "He quick-pitched me, so I'm going to drop one down. I know it was a little ballsy, but anything to win." 

"Manny Hustle" went from home to first in 3.96 seconds on the bunt single, the fastest he was clocked making that trip all season long.

Not only did Machado wisely play small ball to get something going, but also the move paid dividends when Bellinger followed with a 424-foot home run that put the Dodgers in front, 2-1.

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"I was looking for a pitch up, two strikes, just trying to put a good swing on it, and luckily it went out of there," said Bellinger who was named the MVP of the series. "It felt great. I honestly couldn't do it without the guys around me supporting me the whole year it feels pretty special."

Machado believed Bellinger was due, and was ectastic to be on base for the big blast.

"I knew Belly was due. He was due for something. I just needed to get on base for him and pass the baton," he said. "It came out perfect because Belli came up next and hit that big big homer to put us on top."

Bellinger's blast was his first of the playoffs, and fourth of his career after he hit three home runs during his NL Rookie of the Year campaign during the 2017 regular and postseason. 

"I know how lucky I am to go back to the World Series two years in a row and how hard it is," said Bellinger. "So to be a part of this team is pretty special. With that said we still have four more to go."

When Walker Buehler headed back to the mound for the bottom of the second inning, he was clinging to a slim one-run lead and needed to continue to throw zeroes in order to help his team reach the World Series.

The stress and pressure alone is enough to turn any other 24-year-old into a deer in headlights, but not Buehler, not this rookie.

Despite entering the game with a record of 0-1 and a 6.75 ERA in the postseason, Walker Buehler became just the third Dodger rookie to start a winner-take-all game in franchise history, joining Joe Black (Game 7, 1952 World Series vs. Yankees) and Fernando Valenzuela (Game 5, 1981 NLCS vs. Montreal Expos). 

After the home run to Yelich, Buehler was unflappable, surrendering just the one run, on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 4 and 2/3 outstanding innings.

"I just tried to be myself and be a little more creative than I had been and it worked out for us," said Buehler of his start. "This one worked out a little better than earlier in the series."

Buehler exited the game with two outs and the tying run on second base in the bottom of the fifth inning. Julio Urias came on in relief to face Yelich who crushed a 94MPH fastball to left field where Chris Taylor (who started the game at second base) made a leaping catch, falling into the warning track to keep the Dodgers in the lead.

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"You could feel the tension in the fans. The tying run on second...it was all built up, and it was so loud in the outfield that communicating with Bellinger was difficult," said Taylor of his game-changing grab. "I knew it was in the gap and I was just trying to run hard and get to the spot. I had to change my route and go back towards the fence a little bit. I was just happy I made the play."

So was everyone wearing Dodger blue. 

"I think the most important part of the game today was CT's catch in left field," said Bellinger. "That definitely changed the whole game for us."

"That Taylor catch was unbelievable," added Buehler. "I don't know many people who can play shortstop to start the season, second base to start the game, and then go to the outfield and make that catch."

12 outs left. Remember to breathe.

As the Dodgers batted in the top of the sixth inning, with the world's best reliever in Josh Hader now out of the game, each pitch seemed to take an eternity. Each runner on base, either a dire threat, or the hope of a city stuck in a 30-year title drought.

Yasiel Puig stepped to the plate, with the knowledge and understanding of all this. Since joining the Dodgers in 2013, he's appeared in more postseason games than any other player in franchise history with 53. He knows how badly the City of Angels wants a championship; he too yearns to host the Commissioner's Trophy himself.

Puig himself proclaimed the Dodgers would win the World Series last season. He did it again after they won their sixth consecutive NL West Division at the end of September. Accurately predicting the Dodgers would dispatch of the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series and eliminate the Milwaukee Brewers in the Leage Championship Series before advancing to the World Series and celebrating in the streets of Los Angeles in November.

So with the weight of that prediction firmly on his strong shoulders, Puig stepped to the plate to stare down Brewers' reliever Jeremy Jeffress, the same pitcher who surrendered the game-winning home run to Justin Turner in Game 2.

Puig swung out of his shoes on a 95MPH fastball to start the at-bat, looked at another for a ball, and then crushed an 83MPH curveball for a line-drive, three-run homer that put the Dodgers ahead 5-1.

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"I never expected that ball to be a home run," admitted Puig after the game. "I was so excited because there was two people on base. Thank God that ball kept going and it was a home run."

It was easily the biggest home run in Puig's six-year career, and it sent the crowd from a rabid Miller Park mob, into a silent study hall, and put the Dodgers on the precipice of their 11th World Series appearance in franchise history.

Nine, eight, seven… each out felt like a life-or-death proposition. Each reliever out of the Dodgers bullpen that recorded an out felt the collective exhale of Dodger fans across the globe, and the progressive groans of the Brewers fans in the building.

"We had a hard time getting anything going today, more than one runner on a base in an inning, just couldn't get it going," said Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell. "We weren't able to put together rallies, multiple hits, and get things going. And credit to them for how they pitched tonight."

The team that scored first in the series lost five of the seven games. The team that hit a leadoff home run in the final two games went on to lose the game. Baseball is random, that much we know, and whatever we thought we knew was turned on its head over the span of seven games.

Six, five, four…Kenley Jansen, an All-Star closer that had his season in doubt after an irregular heartbeat sent him to a Denver hospital in early August, mowed down Milwaukee hitters like he was a machine.

"Before the game, Doc had a conversation with me, and told me they might go the same route as they did in 2016 [NLDS Game 5] against Washington [Nationals]," said Jansen. "It doesn't matter if I'm closing or not, just put me in the game when you need me. He brought me in in the seventh, and I got my job done. We just had to play all 27 outs."

Three outs left.

The constant reminder of the mantra, "all hands on deck," was apparent throughout the game as the tantalizing possibility that the Dodgers three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw would ride out of the bullpen on his white horse and send the Dodgers back to the World Series as he did in Game of the NLCS in Chicago last year.

Possibility became a reality when the 2014 MVP ran out of the bullpen to take the mound in the bottom of the ninth with the World Series on the line.

"I look around and I see Kershaw is out there and Kenley, I don't think I've ever had a better feeling," said reliever Ryan Madson who pitched one and two-thirds of scoreless relief. "When you see Clayton Kershaw in the bullpen with 100 pitches under his belt, and ready to go in to the game, I don't think there's a better feeling.

Kershaw started the bottom of the ninth with 44,907 in attendance waiting and praying on bated breath. He faced second baseman Travis Shaw to start things off. Shaw grounded out to second base.

Two outs left.

Next up was Venezuelan powerhouse, Jesus Aguilar, who the night prior had three hits, two doubles and three RBI in Milwaukee's Game 6 win. Kershaw struck him out on six pitches.

One out left. 

Fate inevitably has a way of placing the exact people it wants in the moments that hold the most magnitude. 

So with the Dodgers so close to advancing to the pinnacle series of their sport, it was fitting that someone who once went to the World Series and lost, only to go back and win it the next year, would face the man on the mound hoping to do the exact same thing that the player he was now facing had done.

Former Royals third baseman, and 2015 World Series Champion, Mike Moustakas, stepped into the box. He had singled against Kershaw in Game 1 of the series, but was 0-for-3 against him in Game 5.  Kershaw dispatched of him on six pitches as well.

"I appreciate these moments," said Kershaw after he was mobbed by his teammates on the mound. "It's pretty fun. You might never get to do it again. It's hard to take something like this for granted."

In victory, the Dodgers became the first team since the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals to win a Game 7 of the LCS on the road, and won their 23rd NL pennant, tied with the Giants for the most in NL history.

"I can't say enough about our players, our coaches, the front office and most importantly the fans," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "They supported us through thick and thin and we fed off their support."

The Dodgers were once ten games below .500 on May 16, and last place in the West division, facing the looming possibility that they might not make the postseason, let alone return to the World Series.

Thankfully, the hangover cleared, and the Dodgers returned to their dominant self, finishing 30 games above .500 from that point on, finishing with 92 wins and their sixth consecutive division title.

"This is an unbelievable feeling to be standing here right now," said Justin Turner, whose return to the lineup from a broken wrist suffered in spring training helped complete the turnaround. "At one point 10 games under .500, at one point in third place in the division in September. We've played with our backs against the wall all season, here we were again tonight, Game 7, backs against the wall again and we found a way to get it done."

The role of underdog is unfamiliar for the Boys in Blue, they have always been the Goliath in the proverbial matchup with David. Nonetheless, when they face the Boston Red Sox (108 wins), and the best team in baseball all year long, they will be a substantial longshot.

"It's an amazing team. The best team in the AL and the best team in baseball with 108 wins," said Puig of the Red Sox. "But now they're going to face us, and the best team is going to win. I've never played in Boston before, it's going to be cold."

It was 102 years ago the last time the Dodgers and Red Sox met in the World Series when Boston defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers behind a 14-inning outing by pitcher Babe Ruth in 1916.

"I'm looking forward to going back to Fenway," said Roberts who like Red Sox manager Alex Cora has won both jerseys. "Obviously for me personally I have a lot of fond memories of the Red Sox and Fenway Park. To be wearing another uniform going in there playing for a World Series Championship is going to be special for me. It's great for baseball. Two storied franchises going head-to-head. It's going to be a great series."

The last time Los Angeles won the World Series was in 1988, where ironically, they were the dark horse against the 104-win Oakland Athletics, who had the bash brothers, the best starting rotation, and the best closer in the game.

So maybe it's not a coincidence that on this date, October 20th, 30 years ago, today, the Dodgers defeated the A's, 5-2, to win the 1988 World Series, the last championship they won.

Here's hoping history repeats itself.

Up Next: 

The World Series begins at Fenway Park in Boston on Tuesday night 5:09PM PT. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.


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<![CDATA[NBC 6 Weekend Football Preview: Next Man Up Time in South FL]]> Fri, 19 Oct 2018 05:25:27 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/183*120/GettyImages-1052150726.jpg

After a week to either remember or forget depending on which Florida team you root for in either college football or the NFL, the middle of October has arrived with plenty of questions left to be answered in the Sunshine State.

In the pro game, the Miami Dolphins find themselves solidly in the hands of their former backup quarterback for a few weeks after a wild come from behind win – while the Miami Hurricanes are scratching their heads wondering how they could follow one of their best games of the season with one of their worst in an upset loss last weekend.

While the Canes get another week to figure things out, most of the Sunshine State’s teams are in action this weekend – and NBC 6 has you covered with our not-so-scientific ranking of each game.

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Miami Dolphins vs. Detroit Lions (Sunday)

The Brock Osweiler era continues for another week in South Florida as the former backup quarterback led the Dolphins to an overtime victory last weekend at home against the Chicago Bears. With regular starter Ryan Tannehill likely out a few more weeks with a shoulder injury, Osweiler will be in charge if leading the Fins in three games over a 13 day period with the Dolphins playing next Thursday night.

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FIU Panthers vs. Rice Owls (Saturday)

Last year, these teams simmered like a pot of ‘arroz con pantera’ played to an exciting 13-7 victory for the Panthers - but with FIU winning four of their last five games including a nail-biter last week against Middle Tennessee State, one has to think that the Panthers should score a few more points in this one.

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Florida State Seminoles vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Saturday)

It’s not because either one of these teams has a chance to make it to a major bowl game that this one gets rated so high. It has to do with that, barring major upsets the rest of the way, the loser of this game is likely staying home this postseason – which for FSU, after blowing a 20 point lead to Miami in their last game, would mean ending a 36 season bowl streak and likely their first losing season since 1976.

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UCF Knights at East Carolina Pirates (Saturday)

The nation’s longest win streak was in jeopardy after the Knights fell behind Memphis last week only to come back for the last second win. Now, the question becomes whether or not the Knights have come to understand they are going to be gunned for by teams who they have no business losing to – or will UCF play down to the level of their competition.

Other State Games

While both the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators are off this weekend, the USF Bulls will host UConn while the Florida Atlantic Owls are on the road to play Marshall as Bethune-Cookman hosts North Carolina A&T.

In the pro game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play host to the Cleveland Browns as the Jacksonville Jaguars hope to break their recent losing streak when they host the Houston Texans.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Florida State Pulls Away to Beat Wake Forest 38-17]]> Sat, 20 Oct 2018 20:59:16 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/183*120/GettyImages-1046729448.jpg

Cam Akers had two touchdown runs, including a 58-yarder, and Deondre Francois threw for a season-high 353 yards as Florida State bounced back from a sloppy start and scored 38 straight points in a 38-17 win over Wake Forest on Saturday.

Akers, who has struggled for much of his sophomore season, had a season-best 98 yards on 13 carries for Florida State (4-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Seminoles set season highs for points scored and offensive yards (485).

"It's just a big weight off my shoulders just to break a long one," Akers said. "That's what I'm used to doing. So to be able to come out and break a long one for a touchdown, that's just a big weight off my shoulders."

Francois completed 29 of 40 passes and had two touchdown passes, including a 33-yard scoring toss to Nyqwan Murray on fourth down. Francois had his eighth career 300-yard game in 21 starts, while Murray caught eight passes for 131 yards.

Sam Hartman completed 22 of 46 passes for 227 yards, two TDs and an interception for Wake Forest (3-4, 0-3), which ran 104 plays — the most ever against Florida State. Hartman hooked up with Jack Freudenthal on a 9-yard touchdown pass to put Wake Forest ahead 10-0, but the Demon Deacons didn't score on their next 11 drives until a touchdown drive in the game's final six minutes.

"We're not where we want to be," Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. "This is not where I thought we'd be, but it is what it is and you have to make the best of it. All of these young kids getting reps are going to start getting better."

Brian Burns and Joshua Kaindoh had two of Florida State's five sacks. Burns has nine sacks on the season.

Florida State, which has one of the nation's top rush defenses, held Wake Forest to 96 yards on 50 carries.

The Seminoles started Derrick Kelly at left tackle, using the seventh different starting offensive line combination in seven games. Florida State's line didn't allow a sack but did give up three hurries.

THE TAKEAWAY

Wake Forest: A letdown after Wake had the Seminoles on the ropes 10-0 in the first quarter. It was another frustrating performance by the Demon Deacons' injury-depleted defense, which had allowed 36.8 points per game coming into Saturday.

Florida State: The Seminoles keep their bowl hopes alive by knocking off Wake Forest for a seventh straight season. Florida State will face four ranked teams in its final five games — Clemson, Notre Dame, NC State and Florida.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons will play at Louisville on Saturday.

Florida State: The Seminoles will play host to Clemson on Saturday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins to Sign Top International Prospect: Report]]> Sat, 20 Oct 2018 19:26:18 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-653185152.jpg

The Miami Marlins will sign top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa, according to a report by ESPN.

Mesa is a 22-year old phenom from Cuba, who showed off his skills in front of all 30 clubs earlier this month. The Marlins will also be signing Mesa's brother, Victor Mesa Jr. and the two players are expected to attend a press conference on Monday. The Marlins have scheduled a conference for Monday morning at Marlins Park, with both CEO Derek Jeter and President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill set to attend.

Mesa Jr. is 16 years old and comes with plenty of talent of his own. While Victor Victor Mesa has starred on an international stage in the World Baseball Classic, Mesa Jr. opened eyes on Cuba's 18U national team. Mesa Jr. is considered several years away from big-league play, but he immediately improves Miami's organizational depth.

The elder Mesa is expected to receive a signing bonus worth over $4 million, while Mesa Jr. will get a number around $1 million. Miami was able to offer these contracts, due to a number of trades it has made in recent weeks. The Marlins traded away minor league and major league talent, in exchange for international bonus pool money.

The Marlins will apparently miss out on pitcher Sandy Gaston, who also worked out at Marlins Park with the Mesa brothers. Gaston is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays or Baltimore Orioles. Miami may have not had the necessary funds remaining to land Gaston, after coming to terms with the two Mesa brothers.

Miami has been attempting to rebuild the organization from the bottom to the top and these two signings should go a long way towards that. Victor Victor Mesa will likely begin his career in the minor leagues, but he could find his way to Miami quickly. The Marlins are not expected to contend in 2019, which gives the ability to possibly promote a prospect earlier than other teams may. It is unknown if this was a factor in Mesa's decision to sign.

The Marlins could have a busy off-season and the bulk of that work should begin at the conclusion of the 2018 World Series.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Game Preview: Week Seven vs. Lions]]> Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:06:41 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1052152484.jpg

The Miami Dolphins will put their perfect home record on the line when they host the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Miami will be without Ryan Tannehill once again in this game, which will put Brock Osweiler back behind center. Osweiler played well in a win for the Dolphins last week and will now try to repeat that performance. The veteran quarterback's 102.0 passer rating last week, was significantly higher than his career average of 77.7. Osweiler completed three touchdown passes during the victory over Chicago and was intercepted twice.

Osweiler could benefit from a sub-par Detroit defense, with the Lions allowing 27.4 points per game thus far. That defense could also mean a big day on the ground for the Dolphins. Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake should both see a fair amount of carries, with Gore possibly having a little extra motivation. The Lions brought Gore in for a workout during the off-season, but ultimately decided to not sign the veteran.

Albert Wilson could be an important player to watch once again in this one. The wide receiver tallied big numbers in yards after catches last week. Wilson was a key player in Miami's comeback win over Miami and talked a little over the past week as well. Wilson referred to himself as the "best YAC receiver in the league" in an interview following last week's big game. 

Miami's 3-0 record at home has kept the team in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Dolphins are 1-2 on the road thus far and have looked like two completely different teams. The weather in Miami could be playing a role for the team and it should be a factor once again. The Lions play in a temperature-controlled dome at home, but will be facing temperatures approaching 90 on Sunday.

The Dolphins have listed A.J. Derby, Cameron Wake, T.J. McDonald, Bobby McCain and DeVante Parker as questionable for this game. In addition to Tannehill, Miami will be without Charles Harris and Jonathan Woodard.

Sunday's kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins Given Permission to Move Home Run Sculpture]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 17:54:39 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-939685896.jpg

The Miami Marlins were given permission to move their home run sculpture out of Marlins Park on Tuesday.

Miami-Dade County needed to approve the request from the Marlins, as the sculpture was part of the original ballpark agreement. The team plans to move the sculpture to the plaza outside of the park. The Marlins are making a number of changes to the ballpark this off-season and this could be the biggest of all.

The sculpture would go into motion following a home run by the Marlins and it also activated after victories. These actions will still occur, but only those outside of the park will be able to view it. The team will also turn the sculpture on at 3:05 p.m. each day.

New York artist Red Grooms designed the sculpture known as "Homer" and he was not looking forward to this decision. Grooms opposed the move, as the sculpture was originally designed for use inside the park. Ultimately, the decision was up to the county and not Grooms however.

The Marlins will use the space previously occupied by the sculpture as a standing-room only section. Ticket prices in this section have not been confirmed, but they could be as low as $10 per person. This affordable pricing and great view, could result in an up-tick in attendance in 2019. The Marlins could use that increase, as they had abysmal attendance this past season.

The Marlins may make changes to their roster in addition to the ballpark enhancements. Miami is currently one of the teams interested in a trio of international free agents. The Marlins could also target some big-league free agents this off-season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2018-19 Miami Heat Season Preview]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:59:13 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1044842438.jpg

The Miami Heat will be looking to make a second straight trip to the playoffs in the 2018-19 season.

Miami witnessed very few roster changes over the off-season and that consistency could pay dividends. The Heat only saw Luke Babbitt, Jordan Mickey and Derrick Walton exit the team via free agency over the off-season. The Heat did not have a draft pick selection and were not active in free agency. Miami was mentioned in some trade rumblings in recent weeks, but nothing ended up coming to fruition.

After missing the playoffs in 2016-17, the Heat made a return to the postseason last year. It was a brief return however as the Heat were eliminated in the first round. Bringing back the same group of guys should help, as this unit already knows what it takes. The Heat could also look to make changes during the season, should any needs arise.

Dwyane Wade decided over the off-season to return to the Heat for one final season. Wade's decision came just days before the preseason began, after Miami kept a roster spot available for the veteran. The 36-year old showed some flashes of his old self after coming back to Miami last season in a trade. Wade will not play big minutes, but he should still be a leader for the Heat once again. The veteran will likely once again come off the bench for Miami, as he did during the 2017-18 season.

Goran Dragic is back for another year of basketball with the Heat. The veteran will be a starting guard once again and he will be looking for a bit of a bounce-back season. Dragic's numbers were decent in 2017-18, but he saw drop-offs in nearly all of his statistical categories. Dragic's field goal percentage went down, along with his three-point conversions and assists.

Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, James Johnson and Justise Winslow give Miami plenty of options for time at the power forward spot. Johnson is working his way back from hernia surgery, while Winslow recently just signed a long-term deal with the Heat. With Hassan Whiteside at center, Miami will have options depending on the opponent and the situation. Olynyk and Adebayo will spend time at center while Whiteside sits as well. The Heat can play big and they can also play small-ball when needed.

Josh Richardson saw his name mentioned plenty this off-season, as Miami was reportedly working on a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. That trade never came to fruition and Richardson remains with the Heat. The 25-year old had a dominant preseason and could end up being Miami's best player this season. Richardson is considered one of the better defensive players in the National Basketball Association and he has improved offensively as well.

Tyler Johnson will be coming off the bench for Miami most nights this season, but he could also mix in some starts. The guard is one of Miami's highest-paid players, but he will need to contribute more this season. Johnson had a number of poor performances in 2017-18 and saw almost all of his percentages take a step back. The 26-year old is signed through the 2019-20 season and has a contract that could prove difficult to move.

Udonis Haslem is back with Miami, in what could be his final season. Haslem has not announced any plans in terms of retirement, but the Miami captain could elect to leave with Wade after the season. Haslem will see limited action once again this season and will provide some veteran leadership on the bench.

Derrick Jones Jr., Rodney McGruder, Wayne Ellington will also return to Miami's rotation. One of Miami's greatest strengths last season was depth and that should be the case again. Unlike some other NBA teams, the Heat are not built around All-Stars. Instead, Miami has put together a full roster of players that has gained experience and found chemistry in recent seasons.

Dion Waiters could once again be a big part of Miami's roster, but it will take some time to see that potential impact. Waiters is sidelined until possibly December due to ankle surgery, but he is expected to start at shooting guard when he returns. Waiters played in only 30 games last season and averaged 14.3 points per game.

The Heat will begin the season with a pair of road games, before hosting four straight contests in Miami. Last season came down to the final few games of the schedule, which puts some importance on the early portion of this campaign. If Miami gets off to a slow start, it could be difficult for the team to recover later in the season.

Miami will have a rough stretch of games during December, when it heads to the other side of the country. The Heat will play LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, along with games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans. The Heat will be away from Miami for nearly two weeks during that difficult trip.

Three of Miami's final four games of the season will come on the road, while the one home contest is against the Philadelphia 76ers. After a solid 2017-18 season, the 76ers enter this season with championship aspirations. Philadelphia may have locked up a playoff spot by that point, but the game could still mean something in terms of seeding. The Heat meanwhile could still be on the bubble to make the playoffs during this stretch of games.

Miami's season will get underway on Wednesday in Orlando at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers' Matheson Suspended for Two Games]]> Mon, 15 Oct 2018 20:58:10 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1046775526.jpg

Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson was hit with a two-game suspension from the National Hockey League on Monday.

Matheson was suspended for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct for his actions in Saturday night's contest. Matheson slammed Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks to the ice during the game. Pettersson ended up in the concussion protocol and will miss 7-10 days.

Matheson was not issued a penalty during the game, but the NHL still held a hearing for the incident. After reviewing the particulars, the league decided that a suspension was warranted. The NHL's Department of Player Safety made the official announcement of the suspension.

The 24-year-old defenseman has played in parts of four seasons for Florida and is considered a big core piece. Matheson signed a long-term deal and is locked up through the 2025-26 campaign.

Pettersson is an exciting rookie and it is possible that his injury factored into the suspension decision. The 19-year old already has eight points in five games and has opened eyes league-wide. Canucks head coach Travis Green called the hit on Pettersson a "dirty play" and hoped for a suspension to come down on Florida's defenseman.

Florida is 0-2-1 and is currently sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Panthers will next be in action on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Game Preview: Week Six vs. Bears]]> Sat, 13 Oct 2018 11:58:46 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-631233528.jpg

The Miami Dolphins will try and half a two-game skid when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

After starting the year at 3-0, Miami has dropped consecutive decisions. The Dolphins were dominated in New England, before they blew a large lead in Cincinnati. The Bears meanwhile are 3-1 and have won three straight games.

Ryan Tannehill is listed as questionable on Miami's injury report with a shoulder problem. Tannehill injured the shoulder during last week's loss and has been limited in practice. The quarterback may still play against Chicago, but Miami could opt to play it safe instead. If Tannehill is unable to go, the Dolphins will turn to Brock Osweiler at QB.

Chicago's defense has been stellar and Miami's offensive line is wounded. Miami's quarterback on Sunday could have a difficult day, no matter who it is. Led by Khalil Mack, the Bears have allowed the fewest points in the National Football League thus far. The Bears are good at stopping both the running game and the passing game, while Miami has struggled offensively as of late.

The Bears are also coming off a bye week, while the Dolphins are not. Chicago head coach Andy Reid has had a lot of success in games following a bye week during his career. That success points to his ability to prepare his team properly and keep things running smoothly. All signs point to a fourth straight win for the Bears in this game, but an upset is still possible.

Miami has not lost at home this season, though it has not hosted a team as talented as the Bears so far. The weather could help the Dolphins, as the forecast calls for temperatures approaching 90 degrees. Besides the location and temperature, Miami will have to put pressure on Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky early and often. The Bears lit up Tampa Bay for 48 points last week, but their offense is not considered elite. If Trubisky can find himself in some early trouble, the Dolphins may be able to come away with a big surprise victory.

In addition to Tannehill's injury, Miami has also listed Bobby McCain, Charles Harris, T.J. McDonald, DeVante Parker, Laremy Tunsil, A.J. Derby and Jakeem Grant as questionable. Cameron Wake is listed as doubtful meanwhile and will likely not play in this game.

Sunday's game is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Weekend Football Preview: Beware of The Trap Game]]> Fri, 12 Oct 2018 13:01:36 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1046762176.jpg

Last weekend, it was the best of times and the worst of times for fans of Florida’s football teams. While the Miami Hurricanes came back to end their 14 year home losing streak to rival Florida State and the Florida Gators upset a top five LSU team, the Miami Dolphins found themselves blowing a 17 point fourth quarter lead – not exactly the best way to start October for the aqua and orange.

This week, the Sunshine State’s ranked college teams all find themselves on the road all with the potential to fall into a trap against teams capable of beating them – while the Dolphins return home against a NFC foe with dreams of making a Super Bowl run.

Here’s a breakdown of each game using our not-so-scientific NBC 6 peacock grading scale.

Miami Hurricanes at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday)

After nearly a decade and a half of suffering defeats at home to their biggest rival, Miami got that monkey off their backs with a comeback victory that will be talked about for ages over FSU – led by N’Kosi Perry’s four touchdown passes. Now, they face a UVa team who has been average this season, but has been known to play up to the level of their competition in previous seasons – including playing with the ‘Canes last season at Hard Rock Stadium.

Miami Dolphins vs. Chicago Bears

After starting off the season 3-0, the Fins are staring down the barrel of .500 football after losses to New England and a blown late lead to Cincinnati last weekend. Now, they welcome a Bears team with one of the best defenses in the league – not exactly what Ryan Tannehill and company want to see as they look to avoid the dreaded three game losing streak.

FIU Panthers at Middle Tennessee St. Blue Raiders (Saturday)

After a 3-2 start to the year, the Cats from Southwest Miami-Dade play the first of seven straight conference games this week fresh off the bye week. Head coach Butch Davis has FIU playing decent football of late – can the finish the season on a high note and end up playing for the Conference USA championship?

Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores (Saturday)

Last week, the orange and blue got a statement win when they upset previously top five LSU at home. Now, head coach Dan Mullen takes his team to a location where Florida has had troubles playing at in the past – with the bye week coming up before five remaining games that include Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State.

Other State Games

The USF Bulls take on Tulsa in a Friday night game while their rivals, 10th ranked UCF, play Memphis for the third time in the last 13 months. FAMU is on the road at North Carolina A&T while Bethune-Cookman travels to South Carolina State.

In the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hit the road to take on the divisional rival Atlanta Falcons while the Jacksonville Jaguars are also on the road to take on the Dallas Cowboys.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Marlins Trade Kyle Barraclough to Nationals]]> Wed, 10 Oct 2018 16:23:52 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-821871664.jpg

The Miami Marlins sent former closer Kyle Barraclough to the Washington Nationals for international bonus pool money on Wednesday.

Barraclough struggled in the second half of the 2018 season and ended up with only ten total saves. The right-hander had a rough 4.20 E.R.A and was tagged with six of Miami's losses. Barraclough was the subject of trade rumors prior to the July 31st trade deadline, but the Marlins ultimately held on to the reliever.

The Marlins have been acquiring pool money as of late and could be making a move on multiple international free agents. Miami was present for a recent showcase involving Victor Victor Mesa and his brother Victor Mesa. Miami could be trying to sign both players, along with possibly other names as well. Victor Victor Mesa is an exciting prospect, but the Marlins could end up in a bidding war for his services.

Teams have a limited amount of bonus pool money each year and prior to this trade, Miami had the second biggest total of dollars available. The Baltimore Orioles are in the top spot and could offer Mesa or any international prospect more than any other team. This decision could end up being a strictly financially based one for the players and the Marlins are clearly trying to even that playing field.

Barraclough was expected to enter the 2019 season with a big role in Miami's pen once again, but now there is a big question mark on the team. Miami will likely give a few pitchers a chance to win the job as closer during spring training. Drew Steckenrider, Nick Wittgren and Tayron Guerrero are just some of the names to keep an eye on for that role. The Marlins could also try and add some free agents during the off-season.

Miami is not expected to contend in 2019, but having a reliable closer is still important for the young club. In addition to finding a closer, the Marlins will likely be searching for some more help in the bullpen over the next few months.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Olympics Unveils Tokyo 2020 Logo]]> Wed, 10 Oct 2018 13:29:26 -0400 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/TOKYO_a.jpg

Coinciding with the 54th anniversary of the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, NBC Olympics Wednesday unveiled the logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

With a design that honors Japanese traditions, embraces Tokyo’s modern spirit, and embodies the energy of NBC Olympics’ distinct presentation, the logo features the word "Tokyo" prominently displayed between the two iconic logos of the NBC peacock and the Olympic rings, along with the year of the Games, "2020."

The 1964 Olympic Games were the first ever held in Asia, and holds a legacy that is still vivid throughout the city. Tokyo 2020 will reuse six venues from Tokyo 1964.

"Our branding goal was to develop a logo that honored the rich culture of Japan, while also exploring the vibrant union of art, technology, fashion and pop culture that defines Tokyo today," said David Barton, art director for NBC Olympics, in a release. "The design of the word ‘Tokyo’ is bold and fluid, illustrating with each character the dynamic movement of an Olympic athlete with a subtle reference to the distinct line forms of the Japanese written language."

A report released earlier this week by the national government's Board of Audit shows Japan is likely to spend upwards of $25 billion to prepare the games.



Photo Credit: NBC Olympics]]>