Zach Randolph and L.A.’s Kenyon Martin did battle.After failing twice to eliminate the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Clippers made good on the third and most difficult try on the road Sunday in front of a frenzied crowd.With their bench providing a decisive spark, the Clippers earned a second-round spot against the San Antonio Spurs with a hard-fought 82-72 Game 7 win.L.A.’s reserves outscored Memphis’ 41-11. More significant was the fourth-quarter production. Veteran forward Kenyon Martin had 11 points, seven in the last 12 minutes, when the game was decided. The Clipper bench provided every field goal in the last period except a Chris Paul hoop.”Our bench was our MVP,” Clippers guard Randy Foye said. ”They realized what they had to do. We had a lot of guys hurt, so we just continued to grind.””Unfortunately, no one on the bench stepped up and helped us,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.Now, the Clippers have their third postseason series win in 41 years and their second since relocating to Los Angeles. They last beat Denver in 2006. The Clippers also avoided becoming the ninth NBA team to blow a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series in moving on to play the top-seeded Spurs starting Tuesday night in San Antonio.
These, again, are the results after controlling for attributes of the game. But those play a role, too. Each extra inning in a game makes it about 18 minutes longer. Each additional call to the bullpen adds a little over two minutes. Every additional plate appearance per inning tacks on nearly 21 minutes, and an increase of one pitch per plate appearance increases game time by half an hour.The more time passes, the more time passes: The length of games has grown 0.7 minutes on average each year since 2002, after controlling for other changes in the game. And all else equal, close games take a little longer: A minute more time for every run shaved off the final margin.All of these factors are highly statistically significant,5p <10^-15. which isn’t hard to accomplish with a data set this large.The pace stat is available, and reliable, going back only to 2008. So I also took a closer look at the games between 2008 and 2013. The overall trends, after running the same regression, were similar: The Yankees continued to rank No. 1 despite their speed-up toward the end of the period, adding 12.8 minutes per game relative to the fastest team in the period, fellow AL East team Toronto. The Red Sox ranked second, adding 11.8 minutes per game.These teams’ slow pace of play explained some, but not all, of the time their presence added to games. I added another variable to the regression: an estimate of how much time the two teams in the game were adding to it based on their average pace, at bat and on the mound, during the six-year period.6For each game in the data set, I took each team’s batting and pitching pace over the period. I divided each figure by the average pace during the period of 21.8 seconds between pitches. Then I multiplied each team’s number of pitches by its relative pitching pace and by the batting team’s batting pace. That’s roughly how much time elapsed between that team’s pitches during the game.To understand why, suppose one team’s pitching staff played 5 percent faster than average during the period, and its opponent’s batters played at an average pace. Then the time taken before pitches by this calculation is (1*0.95)*(number of pitches*average time taken between pitches), or 5 percent less than the average time. Then I subtracted from the result, the number of pitches multiplied by the average pace. The result is an estimate of how much time was added or taken away relative to average by the time before that team’s pitches.I did the same calculation for the opponent’s pitches, using its pitching pace and the first team’s batting pace. Then I added the totals. This gives a rough relative measure of how much the pace of the two teams involved in the game affected its length. Controlling for that, Boston was just three minutes faster than Toronto, which remained the fastest team. The Yankees added about six and a half minutes, which is a lot of dead time, but a lot less than 12.8 minutes.Major League Baseball has a rule to keep the game humming along: Official Rule 8.04, which gives the pitcher 12 seconds to pitch when no one’s on base. It’s rarely enforced — about 15 to 20 times in 2009.Without stricter enforcement, baseball might get slower. Any new innovation by one team that proves successful is copied by rivals — hence the growing price tag for on-base percentage. And the Yankees and Red Sox, the two slowest teams since 2002, are also by far the winningest teams in that era. The Dodgers and Angels, next in the rankings, both are in the top eight in wins. Slowing down the game from pitch to pitch, for whatever reason, is correlated with winning games.7The correlation coefficient for the 29 teams that have been in the same city since 2002 — excluding the Washington Nationals, né Expos — between wins and our regression output for time added to games is 0.55, a moderately strong positive relationship. Correlation isn’t causation, and there’s no particular reason slow play should equal good play. But Yankees fans might not want to take any chances: Their team, in its fastest-paced season of the last 13 years last year, had its lowest win total of the period. Major League Baseball is slowing down at the same time that its formerly slowest team is speeding up.The New York Yankees haven’t dominated the majors since 2002, winning just one world championship over that period. But they’ve dominated MLB rankings for length of game. From 2002 to 2012, the Yankees’ average length of game was in the top four of the 30 major league teams each season, including five league-leading performances. Yet lately they’ve gotten faster: The average Yankees game has been shorter each year than the year before since 2009, culminating in last year’s 15th-place showing of three hours and five minutes — just half a minute longer than the league-average figure.The slowest team in baseball is now — wait for it — the Boston Red Sox. New York’s archrivals have ranked in the top three in average game length each year since 2003. Last year, Boston’s fourth straight season as the slowest team in baseball, its average game took three hours and 15 minutes.Boston is part of a broader trend that the Yankees are defying: Baseball games are getting longer. Games averaged two hours and 56 minutes in 2011 and three hours flat in 2012. They tacked on four more minutes last year — even as runs per game fell, to 4.17 from 4.32 the year before. And games this year, with the advent of instant replay, have added another three and a half minutes on average, through Sunday.When the two slowest teams of the modern era meet, great baseball often results. Slow baseball almost always does. The three Yankees-Red Sox games last weekend each took over three hours — and each was faster than the average Boston-New York meeting since 2002.1The first game of their four-game series last week, on Thursday, took a brisk two hours and 55 minutes. Those games have averaged three hours and 23 minutes — 15 minutes longer than the next slowest matchup with at least 100 games during the period (Yankees-Angels).When staging such a great rivalry, former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon asked in 2010, what’s the hurry? “Have you ever gone to watch a movie and thought, ‘Man, this movie is so good I wish it would have never ended’? That’s like a Red Sox-Yankees game. Why would you want it to end?”Many factors fundamental to baseball influence game length: Batters’ rate of getting on base safely, their plate discipline, and how long they take to round the bases after a home run. Boston’s David Ortiz regularly tops the leaderboard for longest tater trots, which contributes to the glacial pace of an average Red Sox game.Another influential factor has to do not with the action, but with the time in between plays. Pitchers stare down base runners or wave off signs from catchers. Batters step out of the box and adjust their helmets and other gear. The time between pitches is getting longer. We know because of a byproduct of the sophisticated PITCHf/x tracking system installed in every major league park that stamps a time on every pitch. FanGraphs turned those timestamps into a stat, called pace, measuring the time between two consecutive pitches in the same plate appearance.2Baseball Prospectus introduced its own version of the stat this week. It differs slightly from FanGraphs’, mainly because it omits pickoff attempts. Papelbon did his part to make Yankees-Red Sox games seem endless: He’s second, behind Rafael Betancourt, on FanGraphs’ pitching leaderboard for slowest pace of play since 2008.The pace is slowing. The average break between pitches was 21.6 seconds three years ago, 22.1 seconds two years ago and 22.6 seconds last year, according to FanGraphs. Taking into account the number of pitches per game, the slowing pace could account for five of the eight minutes tacked on to the average game between 2011 and 2013.Boston slows things down when at bat and on the mound. Last year, Red Sox batters ranked second in time between pitches, with 23.5 seconds. (The Yankees ranked first.) And Boston’s pitchers ranked seventh at 23.4 seconds between pitches. No individual player was particularly responsible for the Boston slowdown; only reliever Junichi Tazawa ranked high on the pitcher or batter leaderboard. It was a team effort.The reasons for lengthening game times have been a longstanding baseball preoccupation. “No one element accounts for the delay of game. Some developments, such as extended commercial breaks and the tendency to use more pitchers, are more obvious,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported — in 1991.Just how much does any one team, or any one attribute such as pace, affect game length? I ran a linear regression to check. ESPN Stats & Info provided detailed data on more than 29,000 regular-season games, between 2002 and this past Sunday. I checked how the teams involved contributed to game length, while controlling for year, number of innings, number of relievers used, runs per inning, plate appearances per inning, pitches per plate appearance and closeness of score.3Pitch data was available only back to 2002. As I wrote last week, closeness of score doesn’t have a big impact on raw time of game, but I included it to see if it does have an influence after controlling for other factors. (I didn’t control directly for other factors, such as the number of pickoff attempts or pinch-runners, or the big increase in defensive shifts in recent years.)The result: The Yankees added 13.9 minutes to the average game, relative to the fastest-paced team, the Oakland A’s. Runner-up Boston added 10.5 minutes.4These results apply whether the team was at home or away. Preliminary analysis suggested which team was at home made little difference to the results so they were treated the same, which doubled the sample size for each team.
Tuesday night did not go the way the Indiana Pacers had hoped. Seeking to close out the Washington Wizards in Indianapolis, the home team instead lost by 23 points in a game that was all but over before the fourth quarter began.The Pacers were outplayed in a number of areas, but nowhere more so than in the rebounding battle. The final tally was 62-23 in favor of the Wizards, making it the largest rebounding differential in the NBA playoffs going back to the 1985-86 season.There were two challenges for the Pacers on Tuesday night: They didn’t get themselves in position to grab rebounds, and they didn’t convert those opportunities when they had them.The Pacers rely heavily on their starting five, a reliable rebounding group for most of the season. Of the 21 lineups in the league that played at least 400 minutes together this season, the Pacers’ starters grabbed 51.7 percent of available rebounds — ninth best in the league. But the NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking data can give us a closer look at how well that unit usually rebounds and exactly how atrocious its performance was on the glass in Game 5.SportVU Player Tracking statistics include rebound chances, defined as any time a player was within 3.5 feet of a rebound (multiple players can meet that definition for a single shot). Rebound chances can be compared with actual rebounds to calculate a conversion percentage for each player. It’s important to remember those multiple opportunities here. Even if the Pacers grabbed every rebound, their conversion percentage might not be 100 percent because more than one teammate could have earned a rebound chance by being around the ball on a single shot.Here we can see the dramatic drop off in both rebound opportunities and conversions in Game 5. The Pacers starters put themselves in rebounding position far less often and lost far more of those individual rebounding battles than they usually do. Circling back to total rebound percentage, we find this group grabbed just 25 percent of the available rebounds in the 20 minutes they played together in Game 5.This performance can’t be pinned entirely on the Pacers; the Wizards were aggressive from the opening tip and deserve plenty of credit for forcing the Pacers into this kind of drab performance. Wizards center Marcin Gortat was a force, pulling in 16 rebounds on 24 rebound chances. But this kind of rebounding disparity requires effort (or the lack thereof) from both teams.It’s unlikely the Pacers will put up another rebounding performance this disastrous, but the damage may be done. By allowing themselves to be so thoroughly pushed around on the interior, they have given the Wizards new life.
Redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller (1) carries the ball during a game against Maryland on Oct. 10 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won 49-28. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorMost players at Ohio State spend the majority of their lives perfecting the crafts at the position they are counted on to play at the highest possible level every Saturday in the fall.Others are moved around upon arriving on campus, but receive a redshirt year or time in a reserve role before stepping into the spotlight.For redshirt senior Braxton Miller, none of the above applies.The starting quarterback for each of his first three years for OSU, a shoulder injury just before the 2014 campaign cost the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year his senior season.Stellar play by quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett that year led the Buckeyes to a national championship, but it also cost him his opportunity to ever regain that spot.Rather than sit on the bench or transfer to another school — where he would be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer — to keep his career as a signal-caller alive, Miller opted to finish out his collegiate life in a role he had never done before: playing receiver. “He’s starting, he’s playing and he’s teaching,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “One of the things with Braxton I have talked, he’s got big-time goals and he should. He’s very blessed. He wants to play at the next level.”Miller was seemingly shot out of a cannon in OSU’s opening game at Virginia Tech on Sept. 7, piling up 140 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. But his next four games saw no repeat of that performance, as he only amassed a total of 123 yards and zero scores. Despite the lack of results, Miller said he was continuing to feel more and more productive each week.“Every practice and every game I get better at something,” Miller said. “It’s turning the mistake that you did the day before and just getting comfortable with what you’re doing.”And he certainly did look more comfortable in OSU’s more recent game against Maryland, catching five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, including back-to-back grabs leading to his score.The 19-yard touchdown catch marked the first time Miller found the end zone at Ohio Stadium since Nov. 23, 2013. Miller said he considered the feeling a big moment of his journey.“It was about time,” he said. “It just felt good being involved in the offense, making plays for the guys, being electrifying for the fans, just getting back to my old self.”Miller said he considers himself a receiver at his core now with his quarterback days behind him. However, he has lined up under center in the wildcat formation at least once in each of OSU’s games this season, though so far he has only been called upon to run or catch.Still, the Huber Heights, Ohio, native hinted on Monday that a showcase of his healthy shoulder could be in the cards for sometime this season.“I can throw,” Miller said. “But my main focus is playing receiver and just focused on what I’ve got to focus on for my position right now.”Meyer said over the summer that it typically takes a player a year and a half to learn how to play receiver. On Monday, he said it has taken Miller only half a season.“As of right now, he’s fully integrated as a wide receiver at Ohio State,” Meyer said. “He was not early in the season. He didn’t know what to do.”Miller agreed with his coach, saying he feels like a natural receiver just midway through his first season at the position.“I’m ahead of schedule. I feel good, comfortable. I’m out there making plays, blocking, I just feel good,” he said.With the OSU offense struggling for downfield playmakers after season-ending injuries to receivers Noah Brown and Corey Smith and inconsistency from H-back Jalin Marshall, Miller could be a major cure for the much-scrutinized passing game.But how much does Miller miss being the one running the offense, rather than taking orders? Not much, he said, as long as he still gets opportunities to appear on the highlight reels.“It’s fun just making guys miss, catching the ball, making big plays.”
EVANSTON, Ill. — One more Northwestern basket and the roof may have blown off the building at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., on Saturday night. Fortunately for the No. 1-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team, that basket never came after OSU freshman forward Jared Sullinger hit one of two free throws with 3.5 seconds to play, putting the Buckeyes (22-0, 9-0) one point above the feisty Wildcats (13-8, 3-7). The Buckeyes held on for those final seconds to win the game, 58-57. “We’re just happy to come out with the win,” said freshman point guard Aaron Craft. “Anytime you can go on the road, no matter who you’re playing in the Big Ten, it’s always good to come out with a win.” It was a game of runs for Northwestern. In the first half, Craft took matters into his own hands to halt an 8-0 Wildcat run. He scored eight of the Buckeyes’ final 10 points to end the first half, stopping the bleeding and providing OSU with a 27-25 halftime lead. The second half featured a much more threatening Wildcat run. The Buckeyes began to buck their shaky start in the second half. A seemingly rejuvenated OSU team appeared from the visitors’ locker room and built a 13-point lead nearly halfway through the contest’s second stanza. However, a seven-point Northwestern possession coupled with a three-point shooting clinic by the Northwestern back court quickly evaporated OSU’s lead. “I think I saw a seven-point play in one possession. I don’t know if I have ever seen that before, but I thought that was a huge momentum shift for them,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “Our guys made the big plays down the stretch, and I told them, ‘We got what we came for.’” Knotted at 57 with 3.5 seconds to play, Sullinger iced the game for the Buckeyes when he split a pair of free throws. Northwestern attempted — and narrowly missed — a halfcourt heave at the buzzer. Surrounded by the deafening screams of thousands of Wildcat fans, Sullinger said it was one voice that helped him drain the game-winning free throw. “I heard my dad’s voice in my head,” he said. “‘One smooth movement,’ in his loud, booming voice — and it was there.” It was Sullinger who carried much of the load for the Buckeyes in the second half with 11 points. Senior guard Michael Thompson led the way for the Wildcats with 13. For Northwestern, playing without its leading scorer, junior forward John Shurna, proved costly. Shurna was out with a concussion he suffered in the team’s previous loss to Minnesota. Sullinger led the OSU scoring attack with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Craft added 13 points of his own. Thompson led the Wildcats with 16. Following the narrow victory, Craft said the Buckeyes have to focus on their next game. “You go on the road in the Big Ten, get a win and then it’s on to the next game,” he said. “We have to correct the things we did wrong tonight. Go back, watch some film and we have a decent layover here before we play Michigan, so we’ll be ready to play them at home.” The Buckeyes return to the hardwood Thursday to take on rival Michigan at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Senior wide receiver Evan Spencer (6) celebrates with redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall (17) during a game against Rutgers on Oct. 18 at Ohio stadium. OSU won, 56-17.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorMore than any other position group in football, wide receivers have a reputation for being divas.At Ohio State, that reputation might not be lost when stepping into wide receivers coach Zach Smith’s room.“We definitely have divas, yes, we have divas,” redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall said Monday. “I can’t tell you their names ‘cause they’re my brothers, but we have divas in the wide receiver room.”But earlier on Monday, Smith rejected the idea of there being any divas in the room.“Certainly not here,” he said. “That’s elsewhere, everywhere else.”But for the Buckeyes — while that diva attitude might be present depending who you ask — the goals of the team come to the forefront more than individual glory, Marshall said. He added that each receiver is still ready to step into the limelight when his time comes.“We want to win more than we want the ball,” he said. “So if we do have to get the ball to win, I feel like we can make the plays that’s given to us. That’s why it’s not so much of a battle in the room anymore, because we want to win.”Despite a plethora of different personalities at the position, Marshall credited Smith for his ability to keep the group together.“Coach Smith, I think he handles it all well, our own little personalities,” he said.The core group of OSU’s receiving corps consists of six players — two seniors in Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, a redshirt-junior in Corey Smith, redshirt-sophomore Michael Thomas, sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson and redshirt-freshman Marshall. Those players have accounted for 72 of OSU’s 110 receptions this season for 1,236 yards and 15 touchdowns.“There’s probably six guys rotating right now,” Zach Smith said. “All six of them, there may not be a premier, marquee guy that’s going to have the national stats that put him into whatever top of the country, but that’s a testament to the development of those six guys in the group.”While none are well beyond the pack statistically, Thomas leads the group with 21 catches for 377 yards and is tied for the team-high with Devin Smith with five touchdown receptions.Zach Smith said the success of the Buckeyes’ receivers this season, despite none standing out from the pack, comes back down to the relationship they have with one another.“In order for Mike Thomas to touch the ball, Jalin might not touch it as many times, but there’s a great relationship between the two,” he said as an example. “He wants Jalin to touch the ball. They all want to do well. At the end of the day, all they really care about is we win and we do our job.”Thanks in part to the work of those recievers, the Buckeyes have done little but win so far this season. They hold a 5-1 overall record with a 2-0 mark in Big Ten play. Those wins are partially credited to the OSU offense which has been playing at a historic rate over the past few weeks, as the Buckeyes set a school record for consecutive games with 50 or more points when they did it for the fourth time in a row on Saturday against Rutgers.While continued team success might still be their No. 1 priority, Spencer said he’s also happy to see the success of his fellow receivers.“When one person is doing well, everybody’s doing well,” he said Monday. “And we really kind of expanded on that notion. The fact that we wish the best upon everybody.”Hoping for the success of the players around them comes back to the relationship the receivers have with each other, which Marshall described as brotherhood, but the concoction of personalities might also look something like a high school homeroom.“We got Mike Thomas, he’s kind of the clown, the class clown of the room, he always makes those comments,” Marshall said. “You got Evan Spencer, the leader, he’s like the class president.”Marshall also called Devin Smith the “goofiest one in the room,” Wilson the “class comedian,” and referred to Corey Smith as a clown alongside Thomas.“We’re all fools to our own extent, we like to have fun,” Spencer said.But as for himself, Marshall painted a picture of the one who might be the model student.“I don’t know about me, I just listen to coach Smith and go to practice, that’s what I do,” he said.As long as they avoid detention, the Buckeye receivers are set to lead OSU into a Saturday matchup with Penn State in State College, Pa. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
OSU then-redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) calls a play during the first half of the Buckeyes game against Penn State on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost 24-21. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorOhio State named a program-high nine captains for the 2017 season last week, a total that has been on a steady incline every season since 2014.Some more outspoken fans have criticized the high number, but the players said it’s clear the players given the honor deserve it.“Somebody had said something slick on Twitter or something about [the decision to have nine captains],” defensive end and captain Jalyn Holmes said. “But that just shows that we’ve got a lot of leaders on the team.”This team is not quite as young and inexperienced as it was a season ago. Last year, the team was replacing a litany of key players at several positions after a record-setting 12 former Buckeyes were selected in the first four rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.This season, Ohio State returns multiple starters. And with one of Meyer’s finest recruiting classes — the class of 2013 — going out for its last hurrah, there is a strong core of players who have played alongside one another for five seasons and bring experience and leadership to the team.One such member of that class, defensive end Tyquan Lewis, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and two-time captain, emphasized the depth of leadership on the team, citing the close relationship of the team.Ohio State redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis walks into the Hyatt Place to check in for fall camp on Aug. 6. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.“We could have had four captains, but it’s hard to leave people out when the team’s this close and you know those guys are leading the way,” Lewis said.The Buckeyes adamantly reiterated that each captain deserved his role and was selected by teammates based on merit, not as a participation trophy to those who have stuck around the program for the longest. “If one of the nine of us wasn’t captain, it’d be like they deserved it and didn’t get it,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “Everybody really is doing their part to be an example for this team. And that’s why we have so many.”Like his fellow captains, Hubbard said the honor was one of his goals and that it was a main reason for his return to Columbus.Reflecting back on a conversation with former Ohio State player and coach Mike Vrabel, coach Urban Meyer said he realized the fallacy of limiting the number of captains because one of the Buckeyes’ key leaders was excluded from the honor.“I wasn’t named captain, but I was still a captain,” Vrabel said, according to Meyer’s recounting.Meyer said he doesn’t want to exclude any deserving players from captain roles by limiting the number of captains. “Whoever deserves it is going to be captain, and it will be on the wall, down the hallway and you’ll forever be known on your resume as a captain of the Ohio State University football program,” Meyer said.OSU then-sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard makes a diving tackle on Indiana redshirt junior quarterback Richard Lagow (21) during the second half on Oct. 8. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorHolmes said that whether or not he was a captain, he would still be that guy that his teammates could come to for anything, whether in football or life.“Captain means a helping hand,” Holmes said. “The young guys can come to me with whatever and I can just be that helping hand for them.”Another Buckeye who has been a leader in the program for years is two-time Big Ten Quarterback of the Year J.T. Barrett, who became the first three-time captain in Ohio State history this fall.“When you think about a captain, you think about them going about it the right way,” Barrett said. “Having respect for the game, having respect for other people and also trying to make everyone better.”With so many captains, some skeptics might have doubts about the ambiguity of leadership on the team. “We all look to him [Barrett] as the captain of the captains,” Hubbard said.Lewis and preseason first-team All-American center Billy Price join Barrett as the other multi-year captains on the team. Defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle, linebacker Chris Worley and wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell are the other first-time captains in addition to Holmes and Hubbard.
Ohio State redshirt senior wide receiver Parris Campbell scores a touchdown against Indiana on Oct. 5 at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State defeated Indiana 49-26. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorAfter coming through with a big win on the road against then-No. 9 Penn State a week ago, Ohio State came back home to take on Indiana.Last season, the Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions by a point, then came out the following week and lost to the then-unranked Iowa Hawkeyes 55-24, ruining their chances at the College Football Playoff.This year, Ohio State came out ready to prove that last year’s stunning defeat to Iowa was a one-time event.Despite looking vulnerable at times against Indiana on Saturday, No. 3 Ohio State eventually was able to hold on and pull away, earning the 49-26 victory to stay undefeated on the season.“At times we played outstanding,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “We just have to keep working at it. I trust our staff. I trust our players. We’re banged up a little bit. And we’ve got to fight through it. But gotta play better.”Indiana came out firing, thoroughly outplaying the Buckeyes’ secondary for much of the first half, taking a 17-14 lead with seven minutes to go in the second quarter.But Ohio State’s offense continued to counter, as redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins put on another impressive performance to keep the Buckeyes from their first loss of the season.Haskins threw for a career high 455 passing yards, completing 33-of-44 passes and earning six passing touchdowns and two interceptions on the day.Haskins’ six touchdowns tied the program record for most passing touchdowns in a game. His 455 yards through the air was also three shy of the Ohio State record set by Art Schlichter in 1981.“Every game you want to light it up, but definitely it was a good statistical game,” Haskins said. “I’m glad we got the win most importantly.”After going down by a field goal halfway through the second quarter, Haskins found redshirt senior wide receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin on back-to-back drives to put Ohio State up 28-17 late in the first half.Indiana drove late to make a 37-yard field goal to bring the score to 28-20 by halftime.The Hoosiers remained close for much of the game, staying within single digits by the end of the third quarter.Eventually, Haskins closed the door on Indiana’s upset hopes, finding McLaurin on a 17-yard touchdown, his second of the game, putting Ohio State up 42-26.Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey picked apart the Ohio State secondary in the first half, ending it with 239 yards and two touchdowns, including three completions of 30 yards or more.Meyer said the team’s defensive effort will continue to be the main focus.“At the end of the day you have to play great defense to get where you gotta get. And I’m confident that we will,” Meyer said.”At times we’ve played great defense and we have to get everybody healthy and get back to that.”It looked like the Buckeyes were starting to pull away, starting the third quarter with a 71-yard touchdown from Haskins to Campbell. Campbell was left wide open, and used his speed to easily beat the Hoosiers defenders down the field, putting Ohio State up 35-20.Campbell finished the day with nine receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns.But Indiana kept fighting its way back, bringing the game within nine when Ramsey found redshirt junior wide receiver Donovan Hale wide open in the endzone with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter.The Hoosiers had opportunities to cut the deficit further, as redshirt freshman safety Bryant Fitzgerald intercepted Haskins, the second interception for Indiana on the day.Haskins was hit hard as he threw, and the ball fluttered into Fitzgerald’s hands for the easy interception. But Indiana didn’t capitalize on the turnover, leaving the score at 35-26 after three quarters.Ohio State will attempt to continue its winning streak against Minnesota in Ohio Stadium at 12 p.m. on Oct. 13. Meyer said the pass defense is going to be the key for success as the season progresses.“A combination of poor pass rush and not blocking on your guys,” Meyer said. “We’ve been fine against the run, but the pass has been killing us and that’s going to bite us, something we’ve got to get fixed.”Story updated at 9:24 p.m. with quotes from Meyer and Haskins
An RAF source said the faults were found during routine engineering checks and said the planes had not been “grounded”, but were “currently unserviceable and being fixed”.The aircraft based on a Boeing 707 entered service with the RAF in the 1990s and carries out surveillance and early warning duties, as well as allowing commanders to organise and direct military air campaigns.A spokesman said: “As a result of routine technical Inspections on RAF E-3D Sentry aircraft, an issue has been identified relating to the integrity of some electrical wiring and cabin conditioning systems.“Safety remains our paramount concern, therefore, the UK Sentry fleet will only fly again once the on-going rectification work is complete.” The RAF’s fleet of Sentry early warning aircraft has been taken out of action after wiring faults were discovered that could have caused a fire.The six E-3D Sentry aircraft have been grounded for the past fortnight and will not be operational for several more weeks.The precaution has meant two of the airborne warning and control jets have been pulled out of the international coalition against Islamic State as the offensive against Mosul is underway and the attack on Raqqa is imminent. An RAF Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW1 accompanied by a Tornado F3. RAF AEW1s can be identified by the electronic support measures pods on the wingtipsCredit:Arpingstone/Wikimedia 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.
An ambulance service case review has now disclosed a paramedic told police he doubted Mr Palmer’s wounds were from recent keyhole surgery. Police officers at the scene were “not concerned”.Essex Police said the two officers had been disciplined “for failing to fully comply with Essex Police policy on dealing with sudden deaths” but their actions had not amounted to gross misconduct.An inquest found Mr Palmer was probably shot outside his home in South Weald, near Brentwood by a professional assassin using an 8mm .32 calibre pistol fitted with a silencer.The first paramedic at the scene found him on the ground “with large amounts of blood around the top of his shirt” and his son trying to save his life, the review said. 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. One unnamed paramedic “did not feel the wounds were consistent with keyhole surgery to the gall bladder due, to the location and the fact they were not covered or stitched.””He states that he raised the matter with other clinicians on scene and the police officers but they were not concerned.”It goes on to say the police inspected the body on their arrival, and found “another similar wound on the patient’s back” – though the report does not state whether or not this was a bullet exit wound.One paramedic then speculated with a colleague about whether the wounds could have been caused by gunshots, though this was later described as “an off-the-cuff remark”.The ambulance service concluded however it was “reasonable” paramedics at the scene “accepted the explanation of the injuries they were presented with” given Mr Palmer’s recent operation.In a statement, Essex Police said its officers were “given information that Mr Palmer had recently had surgery and that this could account for his injuries. Paramedics called to the body of a renowned gangster alerted police to his suspicious chest wounds, but officers still failed to spot he had been shot six times, an internal inquiry has found.John “Goldfinger” Palmer was initially thought to have died from natural causes soon after having gall bladder surgery, when he as found collapsed in the garden of his secluded home in 2015.A post mortem later found the man once described as Britain’s richest criminal had been repeatedly shot with a silenced pistol, in a suspected contract killing. John Palmer in the 1980s Police at Mr Palmer’s home after he was found deadCredit:PA “However, they did not carry out a full examination of the body, which would likely have raised suspicions about his injuries,” the statement continued.”They also did not call an inspector to the scene to confirm their assessment, or check Mr Palmer’s antecedents on the police national computer.”Given the full circumstances of the information they were presented with at the time, it was judged that this did not amount to gross misconduct and they have been given management action for failing to fully comply with Essex Police policy on dealing with sudden deaths.” John “Goldfinger” Palmer earned his nickname after being implicated in the 1983 Brink’s-Mat gold bullion heistCredit:Peter Jordan/PA The paramedics found a number of “small wounds in various stages of coagulation” on Mr Palmer’s chest and abdomen and his son said he was “unsure” if they were related to the surgery. Mr Palmer’s inquest heard he had been moving around his extensive grounds on a green six-wheel garden buggy when his assassin struck.Police believe the gunman lay in wait behind a six-foot wooden fence and monitored Mr Palmer’s movements through a discreet spy hole that had been drilled in the fence.Detectives investigating Mr Palmer’s murder in December admitted they were “not even close” to identifying his killer.Mr Palmer earned his nickname after being implicated in the infamous Brink’s-Mat gold bullion heist in 1983, and in 2001 was jailed for a £20m timeshare fraud in Tenerife. At the time of his death he was due to stand trial in Spain on charges of fraud, firearm possession and money laundering.