Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2019

No Team Can Beat the Draft

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Fluctuations happen all the time around the red line, which represents a smoothed average value for each pick slot based on the typical NFL performance of players drafted there. Players routinely play better — and worse — than these long-term averages. But teams can’t regularly predict which prospects will outperform or underperform relative to where they were drafted.If teams showed any consistency in their ability to out-draft the market, it would show up in these deviations. But, as Chase Stuart of FootballPerspective.com has also found, there’s practically no correlation6The correlation I found in team year-to-year aggregate draft performance (so total value, not on a per-pick basis) was 0.06; on a per-pick basis that correlation was 0.02. between a team’s picking performance from one draft to the next.Perhaps limiting ourselves to the team level isn’t quite the best way to look at draft returns. After all, this is as much (or more) a question of the predictive powers of individual decision-makers, and teams can churn through those folks rather quickly. We wouldn’t want to hold it against one general manager that his predecessor made poor selections.Luckily, Pro-Football-Reference.com keeps an executives database,7Much of which I personally hand-entered. which allows us to isolate the draft decisions of individual general managers. This means we can perform the same test at the GM level as well — and, once again, there’s virtually no relationship8A correlation coefficient of 0.03. between how well a GM drafts, relative to average, from one year to the next.Even if we look at executives’ drafts in three-year segments — which is, by definition, conditional on a GM retaining his job for six seasons (an eternity in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of the NFL) — the relationship between drafting performance from one three-year span and the next is weak9A correlation of 0.24. at best.While some veteran general managers were able to sustain positive returns above average over six or more years, even theirs were not unqualified success stories. Along with former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf, ex-San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith and ex-Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian were the three best drafting executives in our data set on a per-pick basis.10Minimum six years as an NFL GM. But as Pro-Football-Reference’s Stuart notes, despite Smith and Polian’s track records, both were fired from their posts after a series of poor drafts.In fact, Polian and Smith merely might have been examples of what’s called the “Wyatt Earp Effect.” It’s named for 19th-century gunslinger, whose fame came from the seeming improbability of an individual surviving countless consecutive gunfights. Any feat seems improbable in hindsight from the perspective of the people involved, but given the volume of gunfights in the Old West, the odds were actually pretty high that someone would make it through a large number of battles unscathed, simply by chance alone.Likewise, even over a half-decade or more, some GMs would appear to beat average by chance alone. But as we saw with Polian and Smith, eventually that luck runs out.All of this means that the NFL draft’s mechanism for sorting players is largely an efficient system, in the sense that none of its individual actors have the ability to “beat the market” in the long run. Some do see short-term deviations from the mean, but those prove unsustainable over larger samples. The implication is that much of what each team gets from its draft picks — the very entryway to the league for almost every NFL player — is determined by pure chance.This doesn’t have to be a knock on the NFL’s talent evaluators. The author Michael Mauboussin has written about what he calls the “Paradox of Skill,” a counterintuitive theory that states that as the aggregate skill level of a market’s participants increases, the proportion of outcomes attributable to luck also increases. Put another way, the smaller the variation in skill between competitors, the more opportunity for randomness to be a differentiating factor. By this reading, NFL general managers are the victims of their own obsessive pre-draft preparations — their skill level has increased so much that only the effects of chance remain.But there’s another interpretation. Cade Massey and Richard Thaler’s seminal paper (PDF), “The Loser’s Curse,” argues that NFL decision-makers shouldn’t be so quick to attribute the apparent efficiency of the draft market to an abundance of picking skill. To do so is hubris.As Massey and Thaler point out, the more that teams study players and gather information about them, the more assured they become in their ability to differentiate among prospects of roughly the same talent level. This leads to overconfidence, and the tendency to make what they call “non-regressive predictions” — forecasts that don’t appropriately account for the uncertainty in projecting college players’ performance in the NFL — about the future value of potential draftees.This isn’t hard to show empirically, either. After examining 1,078 draft-pick swaps between 1983 and 2008, Massey and Thaler found that teams’ behavior when trading picks corresponds incredibly well to the famous draft-value chart popularized by former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson.Like our earlier draft-pick value curve, Johnson’s table of draft values — or, as it’s called in NFL circles, “The Chart” — provides estimates for the relative worth of each pick. Although it’s been 15 years since Johnson last coached in the NFL, teams still rely on his chart as a guideline in the hopes of extracting equal (or better) value out of trades. It also gives us great insight into the overconfidence phenomenon Massey and Thaler wrote about. Here’s the Johnson chart, recalibrated to the same scale as Approximate Value.While the empirical chart reflects the inherent uncertainty of draft-day success (even for high picks), and tails off gradually as the draft progresses, Johnson’s chart assigns extremely large value to high picks, and slopes downward sharply after the top 10 to 20 picks — implying that the drop-off in talent between a high first-rounder and any other pick is immense.If The Chart is an accurate gauge of how teams value each draft slot, then NFL decision-makers place an incredible premium on high draft picks. But the huge disparity between the observed performance of each pick and its apparent market value supports Massey and Thaler’s hypothesis that teams are not being realistic about their own ability to differentiate among prospects.They should be. Research by TheBigLead’s Jason Lisk (then writing for Pro-Football-Reference) shows that teams with top-five picks in the draft correctly identify the player who goes on to have the best career only 10.3 percent of the time, a success rate that only gets worse as things progress deeper into the draft.11The success rate is only about 5 percent on first-round picks outside the top 10. So a team that believes it could somehow beat the market if only it controlled its own fate can end up doing more harm than good if it trades away lower picks to move up in the draft. This is especially the case if a team uses Johnson’s unrealistically optimistic chart as justification for such behavior.Similarly, Massey and Thaler point out that even if estimates of a player’s potential fluctuate around his true value in an unbiased way, the team whose evaluation is off by the most on the high side will fall victim to the “Winner’s Curse” — and draft the player at a much higher pick than he merits.These cognitive biases are working against most if not all teams, and their presence suggests that there is room to improve the drafting process, even if no team has historically demonstrated an ability to out-predict the crowd over a long period of time.Keep that in mind when you watch the draft Thursday, Friday and Saturday. While the odds are that your team won’t be able to use the proceedings as a springboard to a series of highly successful future drafts, there’s always the hope that it can improve its chances with a more rational process. And if that fails — hey, there’s always luck.Correction (May 8, 2:45 p.m.): An earlier version of this story misstated the number of picks in the NFL draft as 224. The number is in fact 256 when including the 32 compensatory picks. During this week’s NFL draft, 32 team executives will select 256 prospects in the most-hyped, most-scrutinized event of its kind. Whatever happens will make or break talent-evaluation careers, and help plot the course of each franchise over the next decade or more. And it all revolves around what is essentially a very public set of predictions.Like traders bidding for commodities and speculating on their relative worth, each pick a team makes is essentially a statement about how it expects a player’s career to turn out. Overvalue the commodity (i.e., draft a guy too early) and you end up with a bust; undervalue it and risk another team walking away with a prized prospect. Because of all of the effort and examination being poured into these predictions, the draft is a robust market that, in the aggregate, does a good job of sorting prospects from top to bottom.1The success of someone like Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick who beat the odds to have a Hall of Fame career, is the exception that proves the rule. Part of the appreciation of Brady is the tacit acknowledgement that finding such a successful player late in the draft is exceedingly rare. Yet despite so many people trying to “beat the market,” no single actor can do it consistently. Abnormal returns are likely due to luck, not skill. But that hasn’t stopped NFL executives from behaving with the confidence of traders.The efficient-market hypothesis states that — with certain caveats — markets are informationally efficient. Since any one investor theoretically operates with the same set of information as any other,2In the absence of “inside” knowledge, of course. the EMH claims that no individual can consistently achieve risk-adjusted returns in excess of the market-wide average. This conclusion, most notably proposed by University of Chicago professor Eugene Fama in the 1960s, isn’t perfect (it can’t explain speculative bubbles, for instance), but it’s a testament to the power of an ideal market.The NFL’s draft market differs slightly from the financial markets Fama analyzed. There are legal opportunities for teams to gather inside knowledge through prospect workouts and interviews, which a buyer can’t do with stocks.3Although, like financial markets, the draft does include behind-the-scenes intelligence-gathering about players’ backgrounds — the equivalent of a stock analyst writing a research report. But a large proportion of the information teams use to make their picks — tape of prospects’ college games, their college statistics, biometric data from the pre-draft combine — is available to every team. Teams, of course, differ in how they interpret this data, which is why not everybody wants the same players. That’s where teams’ scouting and, increasingly, quantitative analysis departments come in.If certain teams had superior talent-evaluation abilities then we’d expect them to achieve a greater return on their draft picks than the average team, after adjusting for where the picks were made in the draft. But if the NFL Draft follows the same general guidelines financial markets do (at least, according to the efficient-market hypothesis), there wouldn’t be much of a relationship between a team or an executive’s drafting performance4Relative to average. across multiple years’ worth of drafts.We can test this empirically. Remember when we said the NFL draft does a good job of sorting prospects? We know this because there’s a strong relationship between the performance of a player and where he was picked in the draft.5A few necessary caveats: Approximate Value is by no means a definitive measure of player value in a sport as dynamic as football. (Although, in the aggregate, groups of players who have higher AVs are better than groups with lower AVs.) Also, it’s unclear how much of the relationship between pick and performance is due to teams giving more opportunities to higher picks, possibly even to “justify” the selection. (And keeping in mind that teams have extremely strong incentives to play their best players, and that it’s unlikely a coach or executive who deliberately gives snaps to inferior players would remain employed very long.) read more

Russell Westbrook For MVP Whatever That Means

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The NBA MVP derby was once a two-man race between James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.Not anymore.After recording his fourth straight triple-double on Wednesday night with a ridiculous stat line of 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is undeniably an MVP contender.Westbrook’s recent output has been mind-blowing: He’s averaging 37 points, 13.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game during his triple-double streak, which began as he was closing out one of the best statistical months in NBA history. As ESPN’s Stats and Info group noted, Westbrook’s performance in February (31.2 PPG/10.3 APG/9.1 RPG) was just the second time an NBA player ever averaged 30 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists per game over a calendar month.1Minimum 10 games played in the month. (The first — and, until recently, only — player to do it was inner-circle Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.)But there are barriers to Westbrook’s MVP candidacy. Algorithms based on previous MVP voting trends still consider him a long shot for the award, with Basketball-Reference.com’s MVP tracker assigning Westbrook a mere 6.6 percent probability of winning. By contrast, the tracker says it’s about 66 percent likely that either Curry or Harden takes home the hardware.The key determinant there: Oklahoma City’s record. Both Curry’s and Harden’s teams have won in excess of two-thirds of their games — good for the first- and fourth-ranked records in the Western Conference, respectively — while Westbrook’s Thunder have a winning percentage of 55.7 percent and are clinging to the eighth (and final) playoff spot in the West. Fair or not, team performance has historically mattered to MVP voters. (Although Westbrook will likely get bonus points for keeping the Thunder afloat in the playoff race during spells in which defending MVP Kevin Durant was injured.)Plus there’s the question of where Westbrook ranks statistically, even after his recent streak of brilliance. Single-season Real Plus-Minus (RPM), Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) and Win Shares all have Harden and Curry ranked No. 1 and 2 in terms of value produced this season. So if things hold steady over the next six weeks, Westbrook will have to overcome both the stats and historical patterns of MVP voting if he is to win the award. It’s been done before, but not all that often.Then again, what does “Most Valuable” even mean? It’s a debate that comes up every year, in every sport, and it never ends with a satisfactory answer. The great sportswriter Joe Posnanski put it best in a podcast last fall:I love [the MVP] because it makes us argue about the word ‘valuable.’ … When somebody named the MVP award, you know in their mind they just had: ‘Best Player.’ The best player ought to get an award, and what are you going to call it? Just call it the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award. OK, great.And ever since then, we have been parsing that word to absolute death. I think my favorite argument against somebody winning the MVP award is when they say, ‘Look, it’s not the Player of the Year Award or the Most Outstanding Player — it’s the Most Valuable Player.’ Like there is any difference between any of those things. You’re just pulling synonyms out.I love that, and in a way, I would never want that to change because it brings up such extraordinarily stupid arguments that just rage on and on every year.And this year’s NBA race brings a particularly interesting twist. According to long-term predictive RPM, which is the best single-number assessment of a player’s current talent level,2In the sense that it best predicts out-of-sample lineup results. the best player in the league is still probably Cleveland’s LeBron James — as he has been for the past three seasons running.James was so far out in front of his peers a few seasons ago that he could afford a relative down year (by his standards). But therein lies the problem — the game’s best player hasn’t quite played like it this season. By just about any metric, Harden, Curry and Westbrook have been better than James in 2014-15.This kind of thing happens all the time in baseball, where performance fluctuates wildly around true talent. (Or did anyone really think Ken Caminiti was the best player in a league that featured Barry Bonds in his prime?) But basketball is supposed to be different — in the absence of voter fatigue, there’s a lot of crossover between MVP and “best player” in the NBA, to the point that the former can circle back to become a referendum on the latter.So do you still give the 2014-15 MVP to the best player? OK, then give it to James. Or do you honor the player who has had the best season? Then you have to decide between Harden and Curry. Or maybe you just eschew the whole process and give it to Westbrook — if not the Most Valuable, possibly the Most Electrifying Player in the NBA right now. read more

Chess World Rattled As Someone Nearly Wins Game

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And while the six consecutive draws we’ve seen thus far is a lot, it’s certainly not a record. Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin began their 2016 world championship match with seven draws. Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand fought to eight in a row to open their 1995 match. And at one point in Kasparov’s 1984 championship match against Anatoly Karpov, there were 17 straight draws. “There was a 20-second burst of applause” after a decisive game broke the grueling streak, the New York Times reported. That match, which began in September, was finally halted in February of the following year — 40 of its 48 games were draws.The data scientist Randal Olson analyzed hundreds of thousands of chess games in an article a few years ago. The closer players are in rating, he found, the longer games tend to go. And as the players get better, draws become far more common. Carlsen and Caruana are as good — and about as close in rating — as you can get. Indeed, they are even beyond the scope of Olson’s chart below, with Elo ratings (which measure the strength of players given the opponents they’ve played) north of 2800. Despite black’s apparent material advantage, there was no progress to be made. The players agreed to a draw on the 80th move.Carlsen had walked a slippery bridge and survived. His escape act drew attention. As the tension built toward the end of the game, the match became the most-viewed stream on the popular game-streaming site Twitch. Books could be written about this endgame. (Though not by me.)So, another draw, huh? Yawn, am I right? Not so fast. Today’s Game 6 was an instant classic. Journalist David Hill, who’s been in London reporting on the match, tweeted that there can be beauty in draws. Not all of them are created equal. 87654321abcdefgh 87654321abcdefgh 87654321abcdefgh 87654321abcdefgh The match rests tomorrow. Game 7 — in which Caruana will once again have the black pieces — begins Sunday at 3 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time. That’s 10 a.m. Eastern. I’ll be covering it here and on Twitter. read more

Why Are The New York Giants This Good

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The New York Giants are not a particularly good football team — at least going by most surface-level analysis that goes beyond their win-loss record.Before defeating the Detroit Lions 17-6 on Sunday, the Giants ranked 27th in yardage offense, 14th in yardage defense, average in takeaways and pass rush, and were outscoring opponents by less than a point per game and had a minus-five turnover differential. Quarterback Eli Manning was the NFL’s 22nd-rated passer, and the running game had the third-fewest yards in the league.After their impressive win over the Lions, though, the Giants are 8-1 in their last nine games — including their second of two wins over the Dallas Cowboys, the NFC’s current No. 1 seed. If the Giants aren’t better than average-to-middling at passing the ball, running the ball, stopping other teams from gaining yards or making disruptive plays, how are they winning all these games?The short answer: Their defense is built to stop modern NFL offenses.In today’s NFL, short passes have replaced power runs as a NFL offense’s bread and butter. Per ESPN Stats & Information Group, 66.7 percent of this season’s pass attempts — and 38.8 percent of all offensive snaps — have been throws that traveled less than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.As Neil Paine wrote for FiveThirtyEight back in 2014, the Giants’ offensive coaches were targeting a 70 percent completion rate for Manning in the 2014-15 season. He didn’t come close (63.1 percent), but what seemed like a historically high target in 2014 is today a plain reality: Both Minnesota’s Sam Bradford and New Orleans’ Drew Brees have completed more than 70 percent of their passes on the season so far, and several more are within striking distance.With a leaguewide average completion rate of 63.1 percent, per Pro Football Reference, the coaches’ canard about the three things that can happen when you throw the ball has been upended: Now the one good thing happens nearly two out of three times.The Lions are a useful example: Over the past season and a half, Matthew Stafford has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league, largely on the strength of short passes under new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. On the season, 47.7 percent of the Lions’ passes have been thrown less than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which ranks ninth in the NFL. Detroit runs the ball less than any other team but the Cleveland Browns, per Pro Football Reference, and came into Week 15 as the league leader in both average plays per drive and average length of drive. It’s a Woody Hayes-approved three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense, except when Stafford drops back it’s 7.4 yards and the cloud is a vapor trail.But in Week 15 he ran into the New York Giants.Stafford quickly discovered his array of screens to backs, tight ends and receivers weren’t going anywhere, as New York sniffed them out and schemed them away. Though pass rushers Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul have drawn well-deserved attention for their work up front, it’s the back seven’s outstanding coverage that has suffocated pass-happy offenses such as the Lions’. On Sunday, the Giants defensive backs flew to the ball and wrapped up: Safety Landon Collins, corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, corner Eli Apple and safety Andrew Adams each were among the leaders in solo tackles for the day.The Lions abandoned the short pass and tried to establish the run. It didn’t work.Per Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site, nine first-down runs by the Lions gained a total of just 19 yards. And while Stafford has thrown nearly half of his attempts less than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage this season, against the Giants that figure was just 35.9 percent.Forced to throw fewer, deeper passes, Stafford’s effectiveness numbers were down across the board: He completed just 61.5 percent of his passes, per ESPN.com, posted an NFL passer efficiency rating of 71.8 and a QBR of 69.2. These numbers were all down from his season averages to that point of 66.7 percent completion rate, 97.8 rating and 72.5 QBR. His usual method of moving the chains denied, a quarterback under serious MVP consideration led his team to just two field goals.Over the course of the season, the Giants defense has allowed the second-lowest completion rate, and second-lowest passer efficiency rating, of any in the league, per Pro Football Reference.It’s little wonder ball-control teams such as the Lions, the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles have done so poorly against them. Pass-reliant, hurry-up offenses such as the New Orleans Saints’ haven’t fared well, either; the Saints scored less than half their season average in Week 2.Offenses that go downfield more aggressively and more often, like Washington’s and Pittsburgh’s, have fared better against New York. But it’s impossible to argue with the results: The Giants defense has now allowed an average of just 17.9 points over their first 14 games — and they’re getting trending stingier at the best possible time.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Ezekiel Elliott explodes for 274 yards Ohio State holds on for 3427

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – With No. 1 Ohio State’s offense struggling and the team trailing in the second half, the thought of an upset was very much alive in the minds of the home crowd at Indiana.Running back Ezekiel Elliott was sure to put an end to that talk.The junior rushed for 243 yards in the second half, including touchdown runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards, and the Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0) held off the Hoosiers (4-1, 0-1) in the final seconds to grab a 34-27 victory.“In games like this, big plays are what’s going to spark the team,” Elliott said. “The O-line did a great job blocking, and they made it easy for me.”Redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Thomas said after the game that the team was happy to take the victory, but knew it would have to improve as Big Ten play wears on.“It’s the start of Big Ten ball, and it’s great to win on the road in a tough environment, but we’re a little bit down, we’re going to get it corrected and bounce back,” Thomas said.After the first 11 plays of the game resulted in minimal yardage, Indiana got going with a 12-yard screen pass to junior running back Jordan Howard on third down. Maintaining an uptempo, hurry-up offense, the Hoosiers brought the ball into the red zone, but OSU stood strong to hold them on third down. A 34-yard kick by redshirt sophomore Griffin Oakes was good, giving Indiana a 3-0 lead.The first quarter for OSU featured just one first down, while being outgained by the Hoosiers 114-36 and outscored 3-0.The Hoosiers picked up at the OSU 25-yard line to begin the second quarter and used a pair of 3rd-and-8 conversions to get the ball to the three. From there, sophomore running back Devine Redding pounded the ball in with a couple of carries, putting Indiana up 10-0 early in the second quarter.“We were just killing ourselves,” Elliott said. “We weren’t giving ourselves a shot, and that’s something we’ve been doing all season and we have to eliminate that.”The Buckeyes finally got on the board on their next drive as passes of 26 yards to redshirt senior tight end Nick Vannett and 21 yards to junior H-back Dontre Wilson helped get the ball to the Indiana 5-yard line. However, the drive stalled from there, forcing OSU to settle for a field goal and a 10-3 deficit.After a fumble by redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall stopped OSU’s chance to tie the game, the Hoosiers were unsuccessful on three plays inside their own 20-yard line.Instead of punting, however, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson called for a fake punt, which was blown up by redshirt junior linebacker Joe Burger for a loss. The Buckeyes were unable to find the end zone despite starting at the Indiana 13-yard line, but redshirt senior Jack Willoughby converted his second field goal to make the score 10-6.After stopping a nine-play Indiana drive from resulting in a score, OSU embarked on a nine-play drive of its own. Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott found the end zone on a screen pass, but an illegal block on redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller negated the score. After a sack and a fumbled snap, OSU was forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal — which clanked off the right upright to keep the score 10-6 at the half.Jones completed 13 of 17 passes in the first half for 200 yards, but the Buckeyes managed just 14 total rushing yards. The Buckeyes were hindered by three penalties for 47 yards but outgained the Hoosiers 214-169, including 178-55 in the second quarter.After OSU’s first drive of the second half resulted in a three-and-out, Elliott took matters into his own hands on the next one.Following a rush of 14 yards by Miller on the first play, Elliott ran eight yards before exploding for a 55-yard scoring run to give the Buckeyes their first lead, 13-10.Elliott took the carry up the middle before veering to his left and outrunning the Hoosier defense down the field before diving for the pylon.The OSU defense continued to stand strong with the lead in hand, not allowing the Hoosiers to gain a yard on three straight offensive possessions.After getting the ball to the red zone with a chance to pad its lead after the third straight three-and-out, however, Jones’ pass was intercepted by Indiana sophomore linebacker Tegray Scales and taken to midfield. On the next play, sophomore quarterback Zander Diamont — in the game in place of injured starter Nate Sudfeld — found sophomore receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. for 28 yards.Two plays later, Diamont and Cobbs again connected, this time for 13 yards into the red zone. A play later, the Hoosiers retook the lead with an 11-yard run by Redding — his second score of the day.Redding, seeing an increased workload because of an injury sustained by Howard — who came into the game leading the nation in rushing — finished with just 45 yards on 30 carries, but added the two scores.Down by four, Elliott again changed the direction of the game.On a 4th-and-short from the Buckeyes’ own 35-yard line, Elliott took a shotgun handoff from Jones and exploded up the middle, going mostly untouched in a 65-yard touchdown run.“It was a great call, a great scheme by the offense, and I really didn’t have to do much but outrun the (defensive backs) to score,” Elliott said.One play into the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes found another way to find the end zone as Jones lofted a pass 23 yards to an open Thomas. The score was the fourth touchdown catch of the year for the redshirt junior and gave OSU a two-score cushion.Marshall’s second fumble of the game gave the Hoosiers the ball back at midfield, which they turned into a 34-yard field goal to make the score 27-20.While Marshall was the game’s leading receiver with six catches for 110 yards, OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game that his tendency to fumble is something that has “got to change.”“We’re turning the ball over at an alarming rate, and that’s obviously a difference in the game and at some point that’s going to bite you,” Meyer said.With the crowd starting to get loud again, Elliott put a stop to the momentum yet again, carrying it 75 yards for his third score of the day on the first play following Indiana’s field goal.“We like to have big plays,” redshirt junior guard Pat Elflein said. “We did that last year too, big passes or big runs. We thrive off those big plays.”Elliott finished with 274 yards rushing on 23 carries, a career high and more than enough for his 10th consecutive game of more than 100 yards on the ground. The rushing total was tied for the second most in a single game in OSU history.Refusing to go down quietly, Diamont rolled out to the outside and ran 79 yards on Indiana’s first play of the drive to bring the score back to a one-touchdown margin.OSU stuck to the ground on its next two drives, barely moving the ball and giving Indiana a pair of chances to tie or take the lead.The first drive resulted in a three-and-out, but the Hoosiers were able to move the ball on their second try, getting as far as the OSU 5-yard line with less than a minute left.OSU stuffed a first-down run by Redding before a false start penalty. Now needing 10 yards to keep the game alive, Diamont’s second-down pass was knocked away and a third-down run only went for a yard.With one more chance to tie the game or take the lead, the snap sailed over Diamont’s head, forcing him to run back 20 yards and heave a desperation pass into the end zone, which was knocked away to seal the victory.“We knew they only had nine seconds so they’re going to have to chuck it up, and we have to bat the ball down,” junior safety Vonn Bell said. “It’s a sense of relief that the defense, they stood up and took the challenge, and that’s a good sign right there.”Jones finished 18-of-27 for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception.OSU outgained Indiana, 517-402, though Indiana led 21-13 in first downs.The Buckeyes are next set to return home to face Maryland on Oct. 10. Kickoff is set for noon at Ohio Stadium. OSU players before a game against Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana. OSU won 34-27. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor read more

Ohio State wrestling gets back on track with win against Purdue

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The Ohio State wrestling team (8-2, 2-2 Big Ten) returned to winning ways after defeating Purdue (6-6, 1-2 Big Ten), 27-10, Thursday night at St. John Arena. Redshirt senior Bo Touris, redshirt sophomores Nick Heflin, Peter Capone, redshirt freshman Logan Stieber and freshmen Hunter Stieber, Derek Garcia and Andrew Campolattano all collected wins for OSU. The night opened up with the 125-pound match where Touris, filling in for freshman starter Johnni Dijulius, defeated Purdue freshman Luke Schroeder with a 15-6 major decision. The win put OSU up, 4-0. Logan Stieber added to the lead by pinning redshirt sophomore Cashé Quiroga at 133-pounds, which left the Boilermakers in a 10-0 hole just two matches into the contest. Logan Stieber, who improved to 17-1 on the year, collected his 10th pin of the season against Quiroga. “I’m pretty good at that arm bar move so I just took my time in getting it and once I got it locked up really tight it was just a matter of him going over,” said Logan Stieber. In the 141-pound match, freshman Hunter Stieber increased the Buckeye lead to 13-0 after defeating Purdue’s redshirt junior Jake Fleckenstein, 4-3. Purdue answered OSU’s first three wins of the night in the 149-pound match after redshirt junior Ivan Lopouchanski defeated OSU’s redshirt freshman Alex Gordon, 7-2. The Boilermakers were then able to cut the deficit, 13-6, in the 157-pound match when Purdue’s redshirt junior Tommy Churchard beat redshirt sophomore T.J. Rigel in a 9-6 decision. Immediately after, 165-pound freshman Derek Garcia scored a decision over Purdue’s redshirt sophomore Kyle Mosier 8-4, giving the Buckeyes a 16-6 cushion. At 174-pounds, Heflin added another 4 points to the OSU lead after a 15-6 major decision against Purdue freshman Drake Stein. The last time Purdue scored during the evening was in the 184-pound match where Purdue’s redshirt freshman Braden Atwood defeated OSU freshman Craig Thomas, 9-1. To end the night for the Buckeyes, 197-pound Campolattano delivered a 18-6 major decision over Purdue’s redshirt sophomore Justin Dinius before OSU heavyweight Capone defeated Purdue’s redshirt senior Roger Vukobratovich, 4-2, in overtime. Regularly projected starters, 125-pound freshmen Johnni Dijulius, 149-pound Cam Tessari and 157-pound Josh Demas did not wrestle. Redshirt junior C.J. Magrum also did not wrestle due to an ongoing injury. OSU’s win was its fifth in a row over the Boilermakers, a streak that dates all the way back to Feb. 10, 2006. It was also OSU’s first win since dropping their first two losses of the season to Nebraska and Minnesota this past weekend. “We wrestled good,” Logan Stieber said. “We wrestled hard. We wrestled tough. You know, we still got a lot to work on. It’s good to come back after losing two last week.” The Buckeyes now look to their next test, a duel against No. 2 Iowa at home Jan. 20. While he feels it will be a tough match, Logan Stieber said he believes his team is up to the task of challenging Iowa. “It helps, you know, obviously getting a win (tonight),” Logan Stieber said. “We got another hard week in practice again and Iowa is going to be really good. They’re tough so hopefully we just keep rolling.” read more

Number of alleged child sex offences committed by other children almost doubles

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first_imgIn total, there were 32,452 reports to police of alleged sexual offences by children on other children over the four year period, an average of more than 20 every day.The figures relate to instances where the alleged perpetrator and victim are both aged under 18. Incidences of sexting – where sexual images are exchanged between minors – are included in the definition of sexual offences.Barnardo’s said the data, obtained under Freedom of Information rules, show the number of reported cases more than doubled in 12 force areas between 2013 and 2016.Simon Bailey, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, said: “We believe we can attribute these increases to more awareness and greater victim confidence.”We also have to look at the possibility that more abuse is being perpetrated and if technology is facilitating this.”These figures highlight the importance of building resilience in young people and educating them about sexual relationships.”This can’t be left to chance.”Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said the charity warned last year that “unless child on child sexual abuse is dealt with head on, it may become the next scandal in our society”.He added: “These results are another wake up call to the extent of the problem. “We’re deeply concerned more children may be sexually harming other children.”Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani called on the Government to work with schools, local authorities, police and voluntary organisations to tackle the issue.She added: “In this smartphone age, parents must also play a vigilant role in protecting their children from harmful sexual behaviour and from harmful sexual images that cause damage they are too young to understand.”Last year a cross-party parliamentary panel said a consistent national strategy was needed for tackling growing concerns about access to extreme pornography, the sharing of naked images online and sexting. The panel’s inquiry concluded that children and young people should not be “unnecessarily criminalised” for displaying harmful sexual behaviour towards others. Credit:Getty Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Teenager checks messages on her smartphone  The number of children being investigated by police for sexual offences has almost doubled in the last four years.Children potentially face being criminalised for committing sex offences against other youngsters, an investigation found, with a rise in the use of smartphones thought to be a contributing factor. Last year there were 9,290 reports of such cases to forces in England and Wales, a jump of 78 per cent compared to 2013, according to figures obtained by charity Barnardo’s.A spokesman for Barnardo’s said: “Too often children displaying harmful sexual behaviour are treated as ‘mini sex offenders’. “Although public protection should always remain the primary driver when dealing with cases of harmful sexual behaviour  young offenders should be treated as children first and offenders second.”last_img read more

Is your town about to get a Victorian makeover

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first_imgOriginally built in 1869, and then known as Fennells Arcade, after the fishmonger and poulterers at its heart, Newport’s Market Arcade was described as a “bustling hive of activity” for over 100 years Dilapidated buildings in Lurgan, Northern Ireland Market Street in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, beforeCredit:PA Over the past four decades the Welsh town’s Market Arcade has gone into steep decline, until it is now a neglected, tatty shadow of its former thriving self Newport High Street once drew hundreds of visitors to the town In Underbanks, Stockport just over £1.8million will be spent to transform its historic high street (pictured) Over the past four decades the Welsh town’s Market Arcade has gone into steep decline, until it is now a neglected, tatty shadow of its former thriving selfCredit:Heritage Lottery Fund As shoppers gravitated towards new shopping centres and out of town retail parks they turned their back on Market Arcade Natasha Ley, of the fund, added: “We want to get people back into these area rather than leave them to decay further. We want to restore these area into somewhere that people want to live, work, visit and invest in.“As these town centres have gone into decline they have become prey to vandalism and decay and restoring the buildings will attract new investment and customers and make them safer more attractive places to visit. ”The lottery funding comes half a century after the first conservation areas were established, including Stamford in Lincolnshire. Now, the timber on Market Arcade is rotting  Dilapidated buildings in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, will be improved by the £1.9m grantCredit:PA Now, the timber on Market Arcade is rotting  Market Street in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, before But while its 600 listed buildings house a large range of independent shops and businesses and provide a draw for tourists visiting the area, others towns in areas of social and economic deprivation – such as South Wales – have suffered steep decline.Originally built in 1869, and then known as Fennells Arcade, after the fishmonger and poulterers at its heart, Newport’s Market Arcade was described as a “bustling hive of activity” for over 100 years.At its height shoppers would queue to get into the arcade, with one trader boasting that during the 1950s he would sell 3000lbs of tomatoes in a single Friday afternoon.But as shoppers gravitated towards new shopping centres and out of town retail parks they turned their back on Market Arcade.center_img The Heritage Lottery Fund is to spend £17 million to help revitalise 10 conservation areas across the UK over the next five years.Those behind the scheme say it will also help reduce crime and vandalism, as more people return to their local town centre to visit new shops and entertainment facilities.The Lottery Fund says the money will “help to reverse years of decline by repairing buildings and creating attractive, vibrant places”. In Underbanks, Stockport just over £1.8million will be spent to transform its historic high street (pictured)Credit:Heritage Lottery Fund The Heritage Lottery Fund has invested more than £288m of National Lottery money since 1994 to more than 439 projects conserving historic townscapes.Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:  “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s conservation areas for more than 20 years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities.“Our work with the RSA on the Heritage Index has shown that where local communities build local plans around heritage, it can have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on local economic prosperity.” The same will happen in Maybole in Scotland, where just under £2m will be spent to halt the deterioration of important historic buildings in the town’s conservation area.  The cash will be used to restore up to 75 properties, shopfronts and public spaces, making the town attractive for local people and investment.In Underbanks, Stockport just over £1.8million will be spent to transform its historic high street. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Darley Street in Bradford, West Yorkshire It was once Newport’s pride and joy, its shops drawing hundreds of visitors to the town, happy to spend their money on the rich variety of goods on display.But over the past four decades the Welsh town’s Market Arcade has gone into steep decline, until it is now a neglected, tatty shadow of its former thriving self.All that is about to change however, thanks to a project to restore and revive Britain’s run-down Victorian town centres. As shoppers gravitated towards new shopping centres and out of town retail parks they turned their back on Market Arcade, which is now falling apart Originally built in 1869, and then known as Fennells Arcade, after the fishmonger and poulterers at its heart, Newport’s Market Arcade was described as a “bustling hive of activity” for over 100 years Darley Street in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The area will be given £2m to help it get back to its former self Credit:Heritage Lottery FundSource/PA Newport High Street once drew hundreds of visitors to the town Much of the Grade II listed building is now in urgent need of repair, with plaster and brickwork crumbling away and ironwork left to rust.A grant of £1.2m will be used to restore the arcade’s 15 units and original architectural features to attract a new generation of independent shops and traders.last_img read more

Could a text become your will The plans to revolutionise outdated legacy system

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first_imgCaroline Abraham, charity director of Age UK said: “Whilst we welcome this public consultation, any proposed changes must not create further barriers for people who wish to plan ahead, and ensure that older people are able to make their own decisions wherever possible, free from pressure and coercion.” Elizabeth Neale, partner in the private wealth team at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, cautioned that weakening the current strict rules could have “worrying” implications for vulnerable people. She added that there could be “pressure on people to write something down or make a voicemail”.  Professor Hopkins added: “Any new law would protect vulnerable testators against possible undue influence, and certainly if there was any suggestion that that had been exercised, the court isn’t going to use the dispensing power. But this is a consultation, so if anyone has those concerns, they should let us know”.The proposals also suggest changing the law about mental capacity to make it easier to assess whether someone with dementia is able to make a will.  The current law dates from an 1870 case which provides when someone is making a will that “no disorder of the mind shall poison his affections, pervert his sense of right, or prevent the exercise of his natural faculties—that no insane delusion shall influence his will in disposing of his property”. The consultation adds that the test’s language “appears archaic” and is difficult to understand for non-lawyers. It suggests that the Mental Capacity Act, which is currently used to decide whether someone is capable of making a decision for themselves in other contexts, be used instead.The Commission has also suggested lowering the age someone can make a will from 18 to 16. The consultation, which launches on Friday, will run until November 10. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. People will be able to use voicemail and text messages to make their wills, under a radical overhaul of inheritance laws proposed by the Government’s legal advisors. The Law Commission has branded the current legacy system ‘outdated’ and recommends it be revolutionised to keep up with the digital age.Under present laws, which date back to 1839, wills need to be written and signed by the ‘testator’ as well as two witnesses in order to be valid.The commission suggests those rules are “unclear” and “outdated”.The plans drawn up by the Commission  call for the law to be relaxed to allow notes, emails and voicemail messages to be used in place of a written will. Under the proposals, new powers would allow county and high court judges to decide “on the balance of probabilities” whether a recording or note is an accurate summary of a person’s wishes.Deathbed changes of heart could even be recorded and used to overrule an existing, valid will. The consultation document says that “there are strong arguments that it should apply not only to traditional written documents, but also where testators express their testamentary intentions in an electronic format, as well as in an audio or audio-visual recording.”But the Commission admits that the changes could add to family arguments as possible beneficiaries scour their relative’s communications for evidence that they had changed their mind.The consultation adds: “A person who is seriously ill in hospital may have more immediate access to a tablet or smartphone than to a pen and paper, and may be more able to speak than to write.“On the other hand, the potential recognition of electronic documents could provide a treasure trove for dissatisfied relatives. “They may be tempted to sift through a huge number of texts, emails and other records in order to find one that could be put forward as a will on the basis of a dispensing power.”The powers already exist in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and several US states. Law Commissioner Professor Nick Hopkins said: “Even when it’s obvious what someone wanted, if they haven’t followed the strict rules, courts can’t act on it.”But experts urged caution amid concerns that older people could be pressured into last-minute changes of heart. last_img read more

Invisible box craze becomes new viral internet sensation

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first_imgCheerleader Ariel Olivar demonstrated the technique Cheerleader Ariel Olivar demonstrated the technique First it was planking. Then came the Ice Bucket Challenge. Now a new – and bizarre – viral phenomenon is sweeping the internet.Young people around the world are attempting to step on an “invisible box” for an online optical illusion.The trick involves participants pretending to lay a box on the floor in front of them, and patting the imaginary “top” to help create the illusion of a solid object.They then raise a foot in mid-air, pretending to step on the box before “hopping” their other leg over to land on the other side while keeping the original foot suspended.The trick might sound simple, but this notion is disproved by the number of people filmed falling on the floor.In recent weeks it has picked up momentum thanks to footage of successful attempts by US football player Dontez Hines and Texan cheerleader Ariel Olivar. challenge accepted pic.twitter.com/QQ1JWbkXx0— ariel (@arielo1220) December 2, 2017 Mr Hines told Men’s Health: “I still cannot believe how much attention it has got. It is really nothing special. I just imagined that there was a box and stepped on it.”Unlike other social media trends of recent years, the “invisible box challenge” has not yet been linked to charity fundraising or raising awareness of a cause.The trick is not merely a recent phenomenon though: a video from 2014, showing Mexican dancer Marcos Grados perform the move during a show, has been viewed almost 889,000 times. Miss Olivar told the Houston Chronicle: “The video was my third time trying it. I just keep the leg in the same exact spot. It is actually kind of challenging keeping it there. The technique is to bring the other leg higher than the other as if you are actually stepping over a box.” The planking challenge required participants to lie face down in the most obscure locations they could muster, while the mannequin challenge asked people to freeze like a statue while out in public.Other viral videos have been less wholesome. The “Kylie Jenner Challenge” saw fans attempt to make their lips swell up to match the reality television star by using a shot glass, while the cinnamon challenge tasked people with eating a spoonful of the ground spice without the help of water in under a minute. Unlike other social media trends of recent years, the “invisible box challenge” has not yet been linked to charity fundraising or raising awareness of a particular cause. Fitness experts have attempted to explain the viral phenomenon, with instructions on how to complete it successfully.Ebenezer Samuel, Men’s Health fitness editor said: “All hip stabilisers on the right side are firing on overtime to hold that hip in position.”You’ll notice [the] body rotates toward the leg on the step as well; there’s a ton of oblique and ab stability maintaining that position.”Very explosive hip flexor, abdominal and glute strength is what is driving the leg up and over the box.”Other viral videos of recent years include the ice bucket challenge, which reportedly raised more than than £7m for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in the UK and $115m for the ALS Association in America. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more