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Prescott, Cowboys celebrate with 56-14 rout of Washington

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys didn’t have to worry about the NFC East title anymore once they kicked off against Washington.

So they took care of the star quarterback’s slump instead.

Prescott threw four touchdown passes, DeMarcus Lawrence returned an interception for a score and the Cowboys celebrated their clinching of the division crown with a 56-14 rout of Washington on Sunday night.

The Cowboys (11-4) tied the franchise record for points in a first half while taking a 42-7 lead and frustrating Washington to the point that defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne scuffled on the sideline.

Dallas didn’t need to win to add the division title to the playoff berth that was sealed with San Francisco’s loss to Tennessee three nights earlier. Las Vegas’ 17-13 victory over Denver took care of that about an hour before kickoff, giving the Cowboys a tiebreaker over Philadelphia.

Prescott and company didn’t seem to care, and now the Eagles can’t tie them for the division title after Dallas scored its most points, playoffs included, since a 59-14 victory over San Francisco in 1980.

“I don’t know if many people knew that we’d clinched before the game. I didn’t,” Prescott said. “I don’t know if we’re in the world or in the business of trying to send messages more than we’re just trying to get better.”

Washington (6-9) allowed its most points since 2010 in the most-lopsided loss for either team in a storied rivalry played 124 times. Washington’s playoff hopes are faint, but not gone.

“I told them you play this game long enough, you’re going to get beat like this,” coach Ron Rivera said. “How you respond to it, how you bounce back, how you play, that tells more about you than anything else.”

Prescott tied the club record for passing TDs in a half with four before halftime — one each to a running back (Ezekiel Elliott), a tight end (Dalton Schultz), a receiver (Amari Cooper) and a backup tackle (Terence Steele, who was lined up as a tight end when Prescott faked the handoff for an easy 1-yard score ).

Taylor Heinicke, making a second consecutive start against Dallas after missing the game in between because of COVID-19, gave up Trevon Diggs’ NFL-leading 11th interception on the first offensive play for Washington, which was playing five days after a coronavirus-delayed loss to Philadelphia.

The Dallas offense took it from there, recording 389 yards before halftime as Prescott ended a run of mediocre showings by completing 22 of his first 25 passes and finishing with the most yards in a first half in his career with 321. He was 28 of 39 for 330 yards when he left for good in the third quarter.

“I thought he was in total control,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “His numbers in the first half reflect that. Had some shot opportunities, was patient with the checkdowns. I really like the way he played tonight.”

The Cowboys were already up 14-0 late in the first quarter when Lawrence, a defensive end, deflected Heinicke’s pass with his right hand, corralled the ball and rumbled down the left sideline 40 yards for a TD.

“Nothing was more impressive than D’Law’s pick-6,” said Elliott, who scored once each on a run and a catch. “I was impressed with the stiff arm, the high knees, making the last guy miss on the sideline. I think he said he was an all-state tight end on the sideline. You saw that today.”

Lawrence was mobbed by other members of his defensive line, just as Steele was by fellow Dallas blockers on his score. It was a different scene for the guys in the trenches for Washington.

The defensive linemen were on the Washington bench when Allen and Payne appeared to exchange words before both got up and Allen, a team captain, threw a punch at his former Alabama teammate.

COPYCAT LEAGUE

The Washington scuffle happened on benches the club brought in, adorned with its “W” logo, after the Cowboys did the same thing when visiting its NFC East rival two weeks ago.

The difference is, the rematch was in climate-controlled AT&T Stadium. The retractable roof was closed. Regardless, temperatures were in the 70s.

The Cowboys pulled the stunt because temperatures were in the 40s and they had been told the warmers on the benches were unreliable.

SACK TIME

While Dallas’ three-game streak of forcing four turnovers ended with just the two first-quarter takeaways, but the Cowboys recorded five sacks. Micah Parsons had his 13th, and is 1 1/2 from Jevon Kearse’s NFL rookie record for Tennessee in 1999.

INJURIES/COVID-19

Washington rookie linebacker Jamin Davis was after reporting to team doctors with possible COVID-19 symptoms before the game. The club said there wasn’t enough time to process a COVID-19 test before reporting the inactive players so Davis was held out as a precaution. … Dallas LT Tyron Smith (ankle) missed his second consecutive game and fifth overall. … Dallas DBs Malik Hooker and Jourdan Lewis went on the COVID-19 reserve list during the week.

UP NEXT

Washington: The home finale is against Philadelphia next Sunday. It’s the fourth of five consecutive division games to finish the regular season. A loss will eliminate Washington from the playoffs.

Cowboys: The No. 1 seed in the NFC is still in play for Arizona’s visit next Sunday. Dallas and the other teams trailing Green Bay (12-3) need the Packers to lose.

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College Football

ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation Announce Title Sponsor of 2022 Cure Bowl

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Photo: Matt Pendleton/USA TODAY.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Duluth Trading Company will be the title sponsor of the 2022 Cure Bowl, ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation announced today. The 2022 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl will be played at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16 at Exploria Stadium – home of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC – and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl matchup will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 4 with participating teams from the American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA or Mid-American Conference.

“We are honored to have such a strong national brand like Duluth Trading Company join as title sponsor of the 2022 Cure Bowl, as the bowl continues its mission of bringing teams together to find a cure for cancer,” said Cure Bowl Executive Director and Orlando Sports Foundation CEO Alan Gooch.

“Duluth Trading Co. is proud to support the fight against cancer as the title sponsor of the Cure Bowl,” said Neala Shepherd, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience. “At Duluth Trading, we acknowledge the impact that cancer has had on the lives of our customers, employees and communities. Regardless of who you are cheering for, the one thing that unites all college football fans is the hope for a world without cancer.”

The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl is one of 17 college football bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.

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College Football

UCF’s Football Venue, the Bounce House, Gets a New Name

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UCF's football stadium gets a name change. Photo: University of Central Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: UCF // The UCF Athletic Association and FBC Mortgage, LLC, have combined on a naming rights agreement for the Knights’ home football stadium that takes effect beginning with the upcoming 2022 season and will brand the UCF football venue as FBC Mortgage Stadium.

 

The 10-year, $19.5 million deal means UCF football teams will play their home games in FBC Mortgage Stadium through the 2031 football season. The new arrangement begins July 1–following its approval today by the UCF Board of Trustees.

“It’s an exciting day for UCF Athletics and for FBC Mortgage to be able to collaborate on the naming of our football stadium,” says Terry Mohajir, UCF vice president and director of athletics.

 

“Sellouts have become the norm at UCF. Our game day experience has been widely recognized–and I believe it is second to no one. Knight Nation has established the atmosphere at FBC Mortgage Stadium as one of the best in the country.

 

“We are building the future of college football here at UCF. This represents the next step for us as we reimagine our football campus—and we’re excited to have FBC Mortgage join us on our journey.”

“FBC was founded in 2005 in downtown Orlando, and we are very proud to partner with our hometown university, UCF,” says Rob Nunziata, FBC Mortgage co-CEO. “We would like to thank the UCF athletic department, especially athletics director Terry Mohajir and assistant athletics director Malik Thomas who worked very hard to make this sponsorship a reality…Go Knights!!”

 

“With many of our employees having attended UCF, this was a natural fit for FBC Mortgage–and it also helps us achieve our national growth expansion with a great partner in UCF,” says Joe Nunziata, FBC Mortgage co-CEO.

 

The first UCF football game to be played at FBC Mortgage Stadium will be the Knights’ 2022 season opener Thursday, Sept. 1, against South Carolina State (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+).

 

“On behalf of our football program, I would like to express our appreciation for the support of FBC Mortgage,” says UCF football coach Gus Malzahn whose first Knight team in 2021 finished 7-0 at home.

 

“This provides a legitimate boost to us when it comes to creating a great homefield advantage. We take tremendous pride in the environment at our home football games–and this only adds more luster to that.”

 

The crown jewel in UCF’s impressive athletics complex, the Knights’ football venue–first known as Bright House Networks Stadium–opened in 2007 and became Spectrum Stadium in 2017. The on-campus facility provides UCF one of the top venues anywhere in the Southeast. After spending the previous 28 seasons at the Florida Citrus Bowl (now known as Camping World Stadium) in downtown Orlando, the Knights made their debut in the new on-campus facility on Sept. 15, 2007, facing Texas. A capacity crowd was on hand for the game, which was televised live nationally on ESPN2. Two seasons later when UCF played host to Miami on Oct. 17, 2009, a facility-record 48,453 fans were on hand for the contest.

 

It has played host to conference championship games (Conference USA or American Athletic Conference) after the 2007, 2010, 2017 and 2018 regular seasons. Located on the north side of campus, the stadium features luxury boxes, a large club lounge and a natural grass playing surface.

 

UCF’s gameday football facility has added an impressive series of enhancements over the last seven years:

 

–2015: The stadium enjoyed its first major renovation with the addition of the Carl Black and Gold Cabana. This east-side premium area quickly became one of the signature UCF game-day experiences. The Cabana is a 10,000-square-foot, Florida-themed social area and lounge located between the 30-yard lines.

 

–2016: The video board was upgraded to a 114-by-36-foot LED display. It features a Daktronics 15MM HD pixel layout for excellent image clarity. The display also has variable content zoning, allowing it to show one large image or be divided into multiple windows to show any variety of live video, instant replays, statistics, scoring, graphics, animations and sponsorship messages.

 

–2017: The Carl Black and Gold Cabana was expanded via 2,921 additional chair-back seats and an open-air sun deck. Eight field-level cabanas also were added at the south end zone with access to the enclosed air-conditioned J and J Rosengren Lounge. The concourse between sections 108-113 was converted into the Stadium Club. That 3,344-seat premium area on the west side of the stadium provides access to dedicated food and drink options, as well as other amenities. In addition, a ribbon display in the south end zone was unveiled, with that display measuring more than seven feet high by 199 feet wide.

 

–2018: Field-level cabanas were added at the north end as well as south loge cabanas.

 

–2019: North loge cabanas debuted, and an additional 1,000 premium chair-back seats were added on the east side of the stadium, increasing the capacity of the Carl Black and Gold Cabana for a second time.

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College Football

UCF and Icon Source Collaborate to Bring NIL Marketplace Services to Campus

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UCF Football photo: UCF Today

ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF Athletics announced Tuesday a collaboration with Icon Source, the premier name, image, and likeness marketplace in the U.S., to bring its unparalleled NIL expertise and new local exchange marketplace to UCF Athletics and student-athletes from all sports.

A new product from Icon Source, Icon Suite, will power a UCF-branded local exchange that will be available to all UCF student-athletes. The innovative tool simplifies connecting interested brands with student-athletes for NIL deals and the administrative processes around deal disclosure and compliance for UCF Athletics.

Icon Suite makes it easier than ever for local companies and Knight supporters to readily identify and access student-athletes for potential endorsement and sponsorship deals through a custom UCF marketplace. Through UCF’s Icon Suite software, Icon Source can also service local businesses and alumni by providing guidance, education, and facilitation of the student-athlete sponsorship process.

“Our student-athletes will have the best opportunities to benefit from their name, image, and likeness thanks to this first-of-its-kind venture,” said UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir. “We’re setting the standard by bringing the marketplace to our student-athletes.”

As part of the collaboration, an Icon Source representative will be housed on UCF’s campus as an on-site resource for student-athletes. This is a new NIL service for UCF student-athletes, going along with the free legal and entrepreneurship services already provided to students on-campus.

Florida’s NIL law prohibits colleges and universities from compensating current and prospective student-athletes for NIL deals. UCF’s collaboration with Icon Source simplifies the process for student-athletes and corporate sponsors. These services are provided at cost to the athletes and with no compensation to the university.

“By bringing the marketplace to our campus, it gives our student-athletes the greatest advantage to prosper in this new era of NIL,” Mohajir said. “Icon Source is one of the leaders in this space and having them right here on our campus will give our student-athletes and associated brands optimal opportunities to benefit!”

Founded in 2018 by UCF alumnus and current chief executive officer Chase Garrett, Icon Source has been a trusted tool for professional athletes across all sports and their agents to connect with a broad group of brands and facilitate seamless endorsement deals and partnerships. In 2021, Icon Source expanded that work into the NCAA realm, working tirelessly to empower and protect student-athletes as they maximize their NIL potential.

Numerous national to hyper-local brands have directly connected with and endorsed student-athletes through Icon Source’s compliant marketplace and executed contracts using the marketplace’s wizard, which handles all the administrative aspects of name, image, and likeness dealmaking.

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