What is sweeter than a first championship trophy? A second championship trophy. One of the winningest driver on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has come up short the past few years despite being on the very short list of top wins for each year. This year, he left no doubt. Kyle Busch dominated the field in winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 by 7 seconds over teammate and 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. Busch drove flawlessly, outdueling fellow playoff contender Kevin Harvick in several sequences in the first two stages. But Harvick could never capture the speed over the long runs (only one non-stage yellow all race) and faded. Then there was Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin with crucial pit crew errors (wrong tires on each side and an ill-advised aero tape applied). By the end, it wasn't entertaining. Kyle won, and it was another huge win for Joe Gibbs Racing. Which dominated the year. Congrats Kyle Busch, you're the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
What a weekend in college football, with the headliner being the annually anticipated matchup between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Louisiana State Tigers. For the last eight years, the outcome was seemingly written before it began. This year was a different story. Led by emerging Heisman favorite, Joe Burrow, the Tigers took the Tide in their home stadium. Burrow rarely missed his target, going 31/38, for an astonishing 393 yards and 3 touchdowns. When passing lanes weren't open, or when called upon, he also ran for 64 additional yards totaling over 450 yards from scrimmage. Not your usual Alabama defensive effort but this wasn't the usual offense that they've faced. Joe Burrow went into Tuscaloosa and took the Crimson Tide's milk money. Our Sportsman of the Week made sure of it.
The World Series was a roller coaster of road wins and momentum, but in the end, the hottest team in baseball won it all for the first time in franchise history. The Washington Nationals rolled into the World Series having won 16 of their last 18 games, but it took a full seven to beat the team with the best 2019 record Houston Astros. Winning all four games at Minute Maid Park. Ironically, Anthony Rendon, a native Houstonian, dealt the death blows to the Astros in Games 6 and 7 not a stones throw from where he grew up. In the final two contests, he was 4-9, but with a 2B and 2 HR, knocking in 5 runs. Four of the five RBI came in the 7th inning or later where both games were within a run until the Nationals had more clutch. Led by who may be the National League MVP, and our Sportsman of the Week, Anthony Rendon!
It's hard to believe that the NCAA Football regular season is about 2/3 over, and the Conference title races are starting to take shape. In the middle of the Big 10 as usual, is Ohio State. Defensive lineman disruption specialist Chase Young of Ohio State has shored up the Buckeyes defense in a way that their last few teams didn't have. In their biggest game of the year, he showed up to play. He had six tackles, including 4 were sacks, a fifth was for a loss. Throw in two forced fumbles that were recovered by the Buckeyes. The result, a discombobulated Wisconsin Badgers offense, and a 38-7 win over their best opponent to date. There seems to be little in between the Buckeyes and another Big 10 title game, and this year, very likely a playoff berth. While the Buckeyes have weapons on offense, it's Heisman candidate Young and that defense that seems to be the difference. Chase Young is a sure-fire NFL Top 5 pick, and the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
In what was billed as an epic heavyweight American League Championship Series, the little guy won. The Houston Astros and New York Yankees were tied 1-1 coming into three key games in New York, and Jose Altuve helped deliver the American League West Champion to their second World Series bid in three years. He started Game 3 with a solo home run in the first, then ended the series with an epic walk off 2-run home run off of fireball closer Aroldis Chapman to defeat the Pinstripes. For the week over 4 games, Altuve went 5-16, 1 2B, 2 HR and 6 runs scored (out of his team's 19 runs). He also walked 3 times and never struck out. The three-time American League batting champion is the leader of the Astros and has them in position to win a second title. He is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Major sports benchmarks are made for breaking. Not the least of which is the 2 hour marathon. After millions of tries, it has now been broken. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge shattered the milestone by 40s, a mere 0.3% below but the best ever. Kipchoge ran the record in the Ineos Marathon in Vienna. He's been winning major marathons for 5 plus years, in Chicago, London, and Berlin. Also won Olympics and attempted to break the 2 hour mark in a controlled event but fell short. But now the record has fallen, and Kipchoge is the one that will be remembered with the Roger Banisters, Usain Bolts, and Michael Johnsons for redefining the event. The 34 year old may even top that mark, time will tell. But he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Baseball postseason is in full swing and it doesn't take long for stars to emerge. The National League Wild Card Washington Nationals surged from May to the end of the season to overtake the league competition and secure a spot in the postseason. And they took advantage. Stephen Strasburg proved pivotal in the Wild Card game as the Nats came back on the Milwaukee Brewers to win 4-3 Strasburg notched 3 critical innings of relief and got the win (3IP, 2H, 4K). He then followed up with 6 innings of dominant ball (6IP, 3H, 1ER, 10K) to secure NLDS Game 2 for the Nationals to head home with the series even. He's tapped to start Game 5 in LA and may propel his team to their first NLCS. But Strasburg has emerged as a co-ace to Max Scherzer nad is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
The NFL season is young, and too many times a team is counted out before it has a chance to hit its stride. Such is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Given up for dead after an 1-2 start against suspect competition and double digit underdogs heading to NFC Champion undefeated Los Angeles Rams, the Bucs delivered. Especially Chris Godwin. In racking up 55 points, the Pirates in Pewter Pants went to Goodwin 14 times. He caught 12. All 12 were a first down, two were TDs. And he racked up 172 yards, one of the top performances this year. The Swashbucklers aren't on a lot of radars for the playoffs. But with the Saints QB injury, slow start by the Falcons and Panthers, they may be a team to watch. Thanks to Chris Godwin, the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
In one of the biggest conference games to start the Big 10, a strong Heisman candidate stepped up and made a statement. Jonathan Taylor of the Wisconsin Badgers plowed through what was expected to be a stingy Michigan Wolverine defense for over 200 yards. 203 to be exact, on 23 carries for two TDs. His longest was a spectacular 72 yard scamper in the first quarter to set the tone for the game. He even missed the 2nd quarter with a cramp, but returned in the second half to help ensure the 35-14 conference opening victory in one of their toughest projected games. The win thrust the Badgers up to Number 8 and solidifies their favorite status in the Big 10 West. Taylor has averaged over 2000 yards his first two seasons and is likely to find himself in New York competing for the Heisman, which he finished 9th last year. Taylor is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
The Baltimore Ravens have suddenly surged to favorites in the rugged NFC North thanks to the emergence of their quarterback. Lamar Jackson was handed the reigns of the offense this offseason as former Super Bowl Champion quarterback Joe Flacco was traded to the Denver Broncos. And Jackson has seized his chance in two weeks. This week he tallied 392 total yards and 2 passing TDs, including 120 on the ground as the Arizona Cardinals had no answers. Week 1 he notched 324 yards before the offense called off the dogs against the hapless Miami Dolphins. With Division opponents already with 5 losses, the undefeated Ravens seemed poised to breeze to the playoffs. Then it will be even a bigger stage for the former Heisman Trophy winner. But for this week, Lamar Jackson has been the story of the NFL and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!