It's a snap

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It's a snap

By Michael Felger

A few snap-judgments for you as parents everywhere celebrate back-to-school week (best week of the year!):

One man's opinion based on a single, solitary night of viewing: The UFC will become a major force in American sport only if it can figure out a way to get their guys to do most of their fighting from their feet. No one plopped down 50 for the pay-per-view event at the Garden to watch guys practice the ancient art of Jujutsu while lying prone on the mat. We saw too much of that on Saturday, and not enough of the stand-up, bloodbath that the opening Nate Diaz-Marcus Davis fight became.

That bout was barbaric, and it was totally engrossing. I'd pay to see it again.

We've been waiting all season for the Red Sox to declare themselves either in or out of the playoff race. Finally, mercifully, we have our declaration. Talk to you in a couple of months when the Sox start to shape their 2011 squad in free agency.

For now, it looks like a lot of money will have to be spent (Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez) and a lot of tough choices will have to be made (David Ortiz) for the Sox just to get back to where they were this year, which, injuries or not, wasn't good enough. Are you ready for another bridge year?

I guess I'm in the minority on this, but I feel the Patriots' secondary could be good enough if it were playing behind a decent pass rush. You can see glimpses in most of the guys out there, particularly the top 5 of Leigh Bodden, Devin McCourty, Darius Butler (although I'm starting to waver on him), Brandon Meriweather and Pat Chung. They can run. They tackle pretty well. And the coaches are clearly putting a lot on their plate. The only problem and it's a big one is that none have the elite cover skills to cover for a slow and ineffective pass rush.

And make no mistake, the Pats have a slow and ineffective rush. The coaches are clearly trying to scheme some things up, but they just don't have the personnel. The perimeter of the Pats' front seven ends Gerard Warren and Mike Wright and outside linebackers Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess is mediocre at best and atrocious at worst.

There's a lot to like about this team, but the pass rush feels like a fatal flaw.

According to ESPN Boston, the Bruins are still trying to trade center Marc Savard. If it's a pure salary dump, I hate the move. He's too good just to unload for pennies on the dollar. If he's dealt for something substantial (such as a top two defenseman or a top six forward) I'd feel better about it, but still not great. And here's why:

It would ramp up the pressure on the future of the franchise, 18-year-old Tyler Seguin. Think about it. Within months of drafting the kid, the Bruins deal their No. 1 center? The B's can claim in all sincerity that one thing had nothing to do with the other, and even if they're speaking the truth, the symbolism would be unmistakable. It would tighten the screws on Seguin to contribute immediately, and that can't be a good thing. The expectations over Seguin are already getting a bit out of whack. Settle down, people. He's probably a couple years away from being the guy the Bruins need him to be.

But make no mistake, Seguin has created a buzz. And part of it has to do with the fact that very few of us have seen him play outside of YouTube clips. We all want to get to know the kid, and that's going to put a change into training camp and make Bruins preseason games at least worth checking in for.

All I know is that I'll be watching exhibition hockey this fall for the first time in decades.

Remember, Sports Sunday moves to 7:30 p.m. this Sunday, with replays at 11 p.m.

E-mail Felger HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Towles accounts for 4 TDs, BC runs past Wagner, 42-10

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Towles accounts for 4 TDs, BC runs past Wagner, 42-10

BOSTON - Quarterback Patrick Towles passed for two touchdowns and added two more on the ground as Boston College defeated Wagner 42-10 on Saturday.

Jon Hilliman ran for two more touchdowns for the Eagles (2-2), who won their 25th straight game against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.

Wagner (2-1) wasn't rattled early, scoring on its second drive of the game to take an early 7-0 lead. But after the Seahawks pulled within 14-10 early in the second quarter, BC took control, and scored the final 28 points of the game.

Boston College coach Steve Addazio expressed discontent this week with his team's inability to run the ball consistently over its first three games, after establishing that identity during his first three seasons in Boston.

BC had just 44 yards rushing in last week's 49-0 loss at Virginia Tech, its fewest since 28 at N.C. State in 2015. The Eagles entered Saturday ranked second from last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing at just 124.4 yards per game.

They had 188 yards rushing at halftime against Wagner, and finished with 300 yards on the ground for the day.

"We wanted to emphasize running the football today and we did that," Addazio said.

Towles said the success on the ground helped relax the entire offense.

"That was big for us," he said. "We've traditionally been a good running football team here. It hasn't been to our standards the first few weeks of the season. I know that's one thing we really focused on this week was getting out there and really running the football well."

Towles' day ended after three quarters. He was 9 of 16 for 157 yards passing and rushed seven times for 46 yards. Hilliman rushed 19 times for 83 yards, and Davon Jones also rushed 12 times for 90 yards.

After giving up the early score, Boston College's defense tightened, holding to Seahawks to just 89 total yards in the first half, and -2 yards in the third quarter.

The Eagles outgained Wagner 490-107 in total yards for the game.

Wagner coach Wagner coach Jason Houghtaling said after some early stands, the Seahawks' defense started to show fatigue as the game progressed.

"We wanted to try and run it, but we knew it would be an uphill battle," he said. "The defense started to wear down. The longer they were on the field, the size of the offensive line, the physicality of the running backs, absolutely I think it wore down."

THE TAKEAWAY

WAGNER: The Seahawks held their own early with a FBS opponent, which should give it a boost going into its conference schedule.

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles wanted to begin breathing life into what had been an anemic offense at times in their first three games. BC established the run early, and was able to get touchdowns in the red zone - a positive with the meat of the ACC schedule still remaining. But penalties remain a concern. The Eagles had seven for 85 yards on Saturday, including a few that took away big plays.

UP NEXT

WAGNER: The Seahawks return home next week to host Sacred Heart in its Northeast Conference opener.

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles continue their four-game home stand next week with a visit from Mid-American Conference Buffalo.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.