College Football

Lucic: You dont replace a player like Horton

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Lucic: You dont replace a player like Horton

WILMINGTON, Mass. While the news certainly didnt come as a shock to most of Nathan Hortons Bruins teammates after watching him struggle with concussion symptoms over the last three months, the word that No. 18 wont make it for the playoffs still had gravity to it.

I was hoping he would come back in the first or second round, but now he wont be. It kind of sucks, but thats how it goes sometimes, said David Krejci. Its his life and his own body and he shouldnt be pushing it if he doesnt feel well. Theres nothing you can. Ive had concussions a few times, so I know how it is. Its not an easy situation.

You cant replace him. Hes a great player and I love playing with him. But we played close to 40 games without him, so we know how to win without him. We have great depth. Hopefully we can do it.

The Bruins seem to have moved on from the power forwards absence, but that was only after getting shut out five times in the first three weeks following his concussion suffered against the Flyers in late January. Horton had six power play goals in his half-season with Boston this year, and that along with his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame -- will be one of the big areas that cant be readily replaced.

Horton is still last years Game 7 hero with a pair of game-winning goals against the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning during last years playoffs, and that kind of thing cant be replicated.

His clutch goals and contagious smile will be missed by his teammates. The Bruins have gone a very average 18-16-2 in the 36 games since Horton was felled by the Tom Sestito blindside hit.

Hes one of my best friends on the team and its obviously some very difficult news. He needs to do whats best for his health. Thats first and foremost, said Milan Lucic, his linemate for the last two years. But Im not going to lie to you. Were going to miss. Weve been forced to move on because hes been gone so long, but you dont replace a player like Horton.

The Bruins wont even try to replace Hortons sizestrengthscoring combo at the right wing spot alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Instead theyve been using the same player there that replaced Horton when the Aaron Rome hit took him out of last years Stanley Cup Finals.

Claude Julien opted to go with speed, shiftiness and a little feistiness with Peverley, who is still getting his timing and feel around the net after missing six weeks himself with a sprained knee. In time Peverley should again mesh with Krejci and Lucic, but wasnt at the front of the Boston coachs thoughts on Wednesday.

Those were reserved for Horton, and a long summer of rest, rehab and recovery that still looms for a player waiting for his head to clear.

Number one, its unfortunate. We lose a pretty good player but we havent had him for a good long time now. For him its probably the best thing, which is most important right now, said Claude Julien. Youve got to make the right decision with those. Hes tried to come back a few times and he kept having those setbacks. You could lately he was feeling the pressure of trying to come back for the playoffs.

When youre not feeling well, thats not right. We felt as an organization it was important to let him know we were going to shut him down for the year. Hes probably a little relieved in a way because of the pressure he was putting on himself. He wanted to be able to help his teammates, but if hes not ready you cant push a guy to play. Certainly his health has always been the main concern for us.

So Horton will sit on the sidelines away from his teammates hoping to banish the foggy head and ill-at-ease feelings that come with post-concussion symptoms and perhaps once again provide an inspiration for his teammates marching toward a Stanley Cup.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 2 Clemson pulls away in 4th quarter to beat Boston College, 34-7

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 2 Clemson pulls away in 4th quarter to beat Boston College, 34-7

CLEMSON, S.C. - Adam Choice had a 6-yard tiebreaking touchdown in the fourth quarter and Travis Etienne had two scoring runs in the final six minutes as No. 2 Clemson wore down Boston College in a 34-7 victory Saturday.

The Tigers, who came in off top-15 wins over Auburn and Louisville the last two weeks, were five-touchdown favorites over the Eagles (1-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). But Boston College quieted the large Death Valley crowd on AJ Dillon's 1-yard TD late in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-all.

Clemson finally got going in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Kelly Bryant led the Tigers on a 76-yard drive, capped by Choice's go-ahead score. The next series, they were at it once more on a 90-yard series and the speedy freshman Etienne burst through the weary Eagles to finally give the Tigers some breathing room. Bryant added a 4-yard TD before Etienne closed the scoring with a 10-yard run.

Clemson (4-0, 2-0) won its seventh straight over the Eagles and opened 4-0 for a third consecutive season.

Bryant ended with 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground. It was the second straight game Etienne, a Louisiana recruited wooed heavily by LSU, broke off a long touchdown run after his 81-yard score against Louisville last week.

Boston College's defense and punter Mike Knoll kept it in the game longer than most figured. Clemson had only 38 yards in the third quarter and Knoll had pinned the Tigers inside the 10 five times.

The effort clearly wore down the Eagles, who were outgained in the final period 213-37.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Pass rush helps sluggish Tennessee outlast UMass, 17-13

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Pass rush helps sluggish Tennessee outlast UMass, 17-13

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee coach Butch Jones often follows closer-than-expected victories by saying that he never will apologize for a win.

This time, he had a different postgame approach.

"At the end of the day, it's all about getting the victory, but (that was) just flat-out unacceptable," Jones said Saturday after Tennessee staggered to a 17-13 victory over 27 1/2-point underdog Massachusetts. "The performance is unacceptable. We'll get back to work tonight and correct it and correct our deficiencies."

Tennessee (3-1) was trying to bounce back from a 26-20 loss at No. 20 Florida in which the Vols allowed a tiebreaking 63-yard touchdown pass as time expired. Jones' staff was roasted all week for everything from Tennessee's red-zone play calling to its defensive strategy on the game's final play.

The Vols' performance against UMass (0-5) won't quiet that criticism. Tennessee struggled to put away a winless team that played the entire game without star tight end Adam Breneman and most of the second half without starting quarterback Andrew Ford due to injuries.

"There's no excuse to come out here and play the way we did," Tennessee offensive tackle Brett Kendrick said.

Tennessee was held scoreless for the game's first 25 minutes and final 22 minutes. The sluggish performance amid summer-like conditions resulted in a sterile Neyland Stadium atmosphere. Although the announced attendance was 95,324, there appeared to be approximately 30,000 or so fewer fans than that in the fourth quarter as UMass attempted to rally.

The Vols survived thanks to a pass rush that recorded seven sacks, their highest single-game total since 2008. Tennessee's John Kelly rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Johnson added seven catches for 123 yards for career highs in both categories.

"We played better than them," UMass linebacker Bryton Barr said. "They're a heck of a team, obviously, but just eliminate a couple of mistakes and we're winning that game."

Tennessee overcame two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, including one on Jones that gave UMass first-and-goal on its lone touchdown drive.

"I'll take full responsibility," Jones said of the penalty. "That's on me. I also think it was a byproduct of huddling our sideline and talking to our team. The official thinks I'm talking to him and then did talk to him and, you know, that's on me. (I was) trying to give our team a spark as well."

UMass threatened to take the lead with less than 10 minutes left when Andy Isabella's 42-yard run put the Minutemen at the Tennessee 38. But the Minutemen went backward from there - thanks in part to a Jonathan Kongbo sack - and punted on fourth-and-16 at the 44.

The Minutemen's next drive stalled after UMass got as far as Tennessee's 45. Tennessee clinched the victory when UMass lost the ball on downs at its own 17 with 22 seconds left.

"I'm proud of the way they played," UMass coach Mark Whipple said. "We wanted to get it to a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, and we did. We just couldn't make the play that we needed to, to get us over the top."

Both teams used backup quarterbacks for part of the second half. UMass' Ross Comis took over for the injured Ford late in the third quarter. Tennessee's Jarrett Guarantano replaced Quinten Dormady late in the third quarter, but Dormady returned after the Vols failed to move the ball on Guarantano's three series.

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