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Chargers RB Melvin Gordon’s solution to his slow start? More touches – NFL Nation

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has a simple solution to fix his slow start since returning to the field after an unsuccessful, two-month holdout.

More reps.

Gordon has totaled just 49 rushing yards on 20 attempts in his first two games of the 2019 season, averaging a paltry 2.45 yards per carry. It’s the worst two-game rushing stretch of Gordon’s five-year career

Gordon finished with eight rushes for 18 yards in a 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday.

“There’s no rhythm you can get into with eight carries, I don’t care what running back you are,” Gordon said. “I get stronger down the line.

“With the more carries you get, you run that play and you’re like, ‘Okay, this is how they are playing it.’ So when you run that play again, I know how I’m going to treat it. But when you get eight carries, you’ve seen the same play for the first time every time. There’s no feel to it, and you never get a feel for the game.”

Gordon has started the two games he’s played in, both Chargers losses. Part of the reason for Gordon’s tough start is that the Chargers have fallen behind in both games, abandoning the run in order to throw the football and get back into the game. The Chargers have been outscored 38-0 in the first half of the last two games.

Head coach Anthony Lynn said that the plan is to keep Gordon involved in the offense, even though the Chargers are averaging just 33.5 rushing yards a contest with Gordon in the lineup.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with Melvin Gordon,” Lynn said. “We’ve got to open up more running lanes.”

A bright spot for Gordon and the Chargers is they face the Tennessee Titans. The last time Gordon played against them, he totaled a career-high 196 rushing yards on 32 carries and a touchdown in a 43-35 win over Tennessee on Nov. 6, 2016.

Gordon also would like to get some touches in the fourth quarter. Last season, he averaged a career-high 6.7 yards per carry in the fourth quarter.

So far this season, Gordon does not have a fourth-quarter carry.

“It’s about us winning at that point, and doing what we’ve got to do to win,” Gordon said. “Obviously, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to stop the clock from running. When you run the ball, the clock runs. It sucks as a back because you know early you get taken out of the game. I have to make a play just in the passing game, it’s just kind of how it’s been.”

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ESPN Football Recruiting – Player Rankings

RKPLAYERPOSHOMETOWNHTWTSTARSGRADESCHOOL1WRCatawissa, PASouthern Columbia High School6'2''20093Ohio StateCommitted05/31/20192DESanford, NCLee County High School6'6''235923DEPowder Springs, GAHillgrove High School6'5''27192ClemsonCommitted05/17/20194DTDamascus, MDDamascus High School6'5''29092ClemsonCommitted04/23/20195DEColumbia, SCHammond School6'4''250916TE-YLas Vegas, NVDesert Pines High School6'8''250917RBHouston, TXNorth
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College football Power Rankings for Week 7

After seven weeks of the 2019 season, the College Football Playoff hunt and conference races are starting to come into focus.

Oklahoma beat Texas. LSU defeated Florida. Clemson crushed Florida State. Alabama rolled Texas A&M. Wisconsin pitched another shutout against Michigan State.

And, in the most surprising outcome of the 2019 season, unranked South Carolina stunned Georgia 20-17 in two overtimes.

While there is still half of the regular season to play, Saturday’s big winners, along with idle Ohio State, seem to be in the driver’s seat for the four spots in the CFP.

Here are ESPN’s Power Rankings after Week 7:

1. LSU (6-0)

The Tigers made a strong case for No. 1 by knocking off Florida 42-28 at home on Saturday night. Coupled with a win at Texas in the opener, LSU might have the most impressive pair of wins by any FBS team in the first half of the season. It was another big victory for LSU coach Ed Orgeron. His teams have seven wins over AP top-10 opponents since 2016; only Nick Saban and Urban Meyer had more, with nine each. LSU’s offense continued to roll against Florida’s well-respected defense. Quarterback Joe Burrow completed 21 of 24 passes for 293 yards with three touchdowns, and tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran 13 times for 134 yards with two scores. The Tigers had two 100-yard receivers: Ja’Marr Chase caught seven passes for 127 yards with two scores, and Justin Jefferson had 10 receptions for 123 yards with one score.

Up next: at Mississippi State (Saturday, TBD)

The Buckeyes, who were largely untested in their first six games, had the weekend off before Friday night’s game at Northwestern. The Wildcats have beaten OSU only once since 1971 — a 33-27 upset in overtime on Oct. 2, 2004, which ended a 33-game losing streak in the series. OSU defeated Northwestern 45-24 in the Big Ten championship game last season. The Buckeyes seem to be on a collision course with Wisconsin, which goes to the Horseshoe on Oct. 26.

Up next: at Northwestern (Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

The Crimson Tide continued to roll with a 47-28 victory at Texas A&M. It was the fifth consecutive game in which Alabama has scored 45 points or more, which is the third-longest streak in SEC history, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 21 of 34 passes for 293 yards with touchdowns to four different players. Tagovailoa has been responsible for at least four touchdowns in each of his team’s six games. That’s tied for the second-longest such streak to start a season over the past 15 years and the longest by an SEC player during that span; Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell went seven straight games in 2007, and Baylor’s Seth Russell had six consecutive to start 2015.

Up next: vs. Tennessee (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts threw three more touchdowns to CeeDee Lamb, but it was, ahem, the OU defense that was the difference in a 34-27 victory over Texas in the Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl. After finishing dead last in the FBS in pass defense in 2018, the Sooners sacked Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger nine times and had 15 tackles for loss. The Longhorns had only 83 yards of offense in the first half, and the score might have been much more lopsided if Hurts hadn’t committed two turnovers. The Sooners have beaten the Longhorns four times in their past five meetings. It looks as though OU might have a more-than-capable defense under first-year coordinator Alex Grinch to go with its record-setting offense.

Up next: vs. West Virginia (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, Fox)

That’s the Clemson team we expected to see during the first five weeks of the season. After fuming over their one-point victory at North Carolina two weeks ago, which cost them the No. 1 ranking in the AP and coaches’ polls, the Tigers took out their frustration on Florida State in a 45-14 win. It was Clemson’s 21st straight victory, the longest winning streak in the country. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for three touchdowns, including two to Justyn Ross. Travis Etienne ran for 127 yards. Clemson’s defense dominated the Seminoles, holding them to 10 first downs and 253 yards of offense and forcing four turnovers. Cornerback Derion Kendrick returned an interception 38 yards for a score. Indeed, all is well in Death Valley again.

Up next: at Louisville (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ABC)

Say what you want about the offenses Wisconsin has faced so far this season. Regardless, what the Badgers are doing on defense is truly remarkable. Through six games, the Badgers have allowed four touchdowns — they’ve also scored four defensive touchdowns. The Badgers posted their fourth shutout in six games with a 38-0 rout of Michigan State. Wisconsin is the first FBS team to post that many shutouts in the first six games to start a season since Oklahoma in 1967. It is the first Big Ten team to do it since Minnesota in 1962, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Badgers held the Spartans to seven first downs and 149 yards of offense, including 30 on the ground. The Badgers won’t be tested at Illinois next week, but they’ll certainly be challenged at Ohio State on Oct. 26.

Up next: at Illinois (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, BTN)

Penn State’s offensive performance against Iowa’s stingy defense wasn’t pretty, but its 17-12 victory on the road was a thing of beauty. The Nittany Lions passed for only 117 yards, had three touchdowns wiped off the board (two by holding calls and a third by a controversial replay decision) and averaged only 3.3 yards rushing. On the other hand, Penn State’s defense was stellar against Iowa’s struggling offense. Freshman tailback Noah Cain’s 5-yard touchdown run with 5:17 left was the difference. Cain ran for 102 yards, his second straight game with more than 100 yards. It was Penn State’s sixth straight win over Iowa.

Up next: vs. Michigan (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

The Gators more than looked the part in their 42-28 loss at LSU on Saturday night, but they couldn’t close in the end. After Florida grabbed a seven-point lead late in the third quarter, the Tigers scored the game’s final 21 points to pull away. Florida scored only seven points after halftime. Quarterback Kyle Trask played well on the road, completing 23 of 39 passes for 310 yards with three touchdowns, and Gators coach Dan Mullen did a nice job of incorporating backup Emory Jones into the game plan. The Gators allowed 511 yards of offense and missed top pass rushers Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, who were sidelined with ankle injuries. Still, the Gators have emerged as perhaps the favorites in the SEC East, given Georgia’s loss on Saturday.

Up next: at South Carolina, (Saturday, TBD)

The Ducks surrendered three touchdowns in the final 20 minutes of a 27-21 loss to Auburn in their opener. They’ve allowed one touchdown in the five games since, including Friday night’s 45-3 rout of Colorado. Oregon has allowed seven points or fewer in each of its past five games, which matches the longest such streak in school history. The Ducks also did it in five straight games in 1958. The Buffaloes had only 299 yards of offense, including 131 passing, and the Ducks intercepted Steven Montez‘s passes on four consecutive possessions.

Up next: at Washington (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Georgia’s stunning 20-17 loss to South Carolina in two overtimes exposed plenty of concerns about the Bulldogs. South Carolina’s defensive front pushed around UGA’s massive offensive line. Georgia’s receivers, who were a concern coming into the season, struggled to get much separation. Quarterback Jake Fromm, who hadn’t thrown an interception in the first five games, threw three and muffed a snap for a lost fumble. Georgia’s offensive playcalling, especially in the final minute of regulation, was also perplexing. Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who was perfect before Saturday, missed two field goals, including a 42-yarder in the second OT. Obviously, there’s plenty to correct and address if the Bulldogs are going to remain in the SEC East hunt.

Up next: vs. Kentucky (Saturday, TBD)

The Fighting Irish survived a closer-than-expected 30-27 victory over rival USC on Saturday night. It was their 15th consecutive win at home, which is the most since they won 19 in a row from 1987 to 1990. Tony Jones Jr. ran for 176 yards on 25 attempts — his third straight game with 100 yards or more — and the Irish ran for 308 and averaged 6.6 yards per attempt. If the Irish can survive an Oct. 26 trip to Michigan, they’ll be heavy favorites in their last five games. But is there enough meat left on Notre Dame’s schedule to impress the CFP selection committee? Georgia’s stunning home loss to unranked South Carolina certainly didn’t help the Irish.

Up next: at Michigan (Oct. 26, TBD)

The Tigers had to spend a few extra days dissecting their 24-13 loss at Florida on Oct. 12, in which they had four turnovers, nine penalties and only 145 passing yards. Even worse, starting tailback JaTarvious Whitlow had knee surgery on Tuesday and will miss four to six weeks. Whitlow led the SEC with seven rushing touchdowns after five games and was second with 544 rushing yards. Kam Martin, Shaun Shivers and DJ Williams will be asked to carry the load in his absence.

Up next: at Arkansas (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, SECN)

The Broncos didn’t have much trouble in a 59-37 win over Hawai’i on Saturday night. But they did lose starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who was hurt while scrambling for a first down with about 11 minutes left in the first half. Hawai’i linebacker Kana’i Picanco drilled Bachmeier in the back on a tackle, causing him to fumble. Bachmeier dropped to a knee before leaving the field. He spent a while in the medical tent and later left the sideline without pads. Bachmeier was replaced by sophomore Chase Cord, who missed much of last season because of a torn ACL. Cord completed 12 of 18 passes for 175 yards with three touchdowns.

Up next: at BYU (Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

14. Utah (5-1)

Star tailback Zack Moss returned from a shoulder injury, and it didn’t take him long to make his mark in a 52-7 rout of Oregon State on Saturday night. Moss had a 91-yard scoring run on the Utes’ second possession — the longest ever surrendered by the Beavers. Moss finished with 121 yards with two scores on five carries; he sat out the second half after missing the previous game. Moss tied a Utah career record with his 14th 100-yard game, and he is 55 yards shy of breaking Eddie Johnson’s career rushing record of 3,219 yards set in 1984-88. Moss is two rushing touchdowns shy of breaking the Utes’ career record of 31 set by Del Rodgers from 1978 to 1981.

Up next: vs. Arizona State (Saturday, TBD)

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