Every March Madness features a couple of exhilarating games, but can we measure which games were the most exciting? In this video, Neil Paine and Reuben Fischer-Baum introduce FiveThirtyEight’s excitement index for this year’s NCAA tournaments, which will measure how exciting each game was based on swings in in-game win probability. Plus, a friendly wager: What first-round game will be the most exciting?
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco started the preseason right where he left off last year. On his way to helping his team destroy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he completed seven of nine passes for 57 yards. Ravens running back Bernard Pierce scored on a 20-yard run, and Baltimore’s defense pummeled Tampa Bay, forcing four turnovers in the 44-16 victory on Thursday night.“We’re a very different team than we were, so we were really anxious to get on the field and just see who we are, because we really don’t know in a lot of ways,” coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens said after Thursday night’s 44-16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We suspect we have a chance to be a good team, but we’ve got a long way to go as far as being on the same page in a lot of ways, so it’s a good thing we’ve got preseason, obviously.”The Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw two TD passes, including a 21-yarder to LaQuan Williams, who also scored on a blocked punt recovery in the end zone.“It’s good to see him step up and make plays,” Harbaugh said of Williams. “Here’s a guy that just brings his lunch pail every single week, puts on his blue collar work shirt and goes to work. To see him make those plays, he’s got tremendous talent.”The Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions, and by the looks of it, they may be a heavy contender for this season’s playoffs. Then again, it’s only preseason.
T. Taylor (BUF)38-0.5544-0.23450.42-0.37 SHORT%Z-SCORESHORT%Z-SCORESHORT%Z-SCORETOT. PASS THROWNATTEMPTSCOMP%YPATD%INT%CONV. RATE C. Wentz (PHI)35-0.9239-0.9534-1.06-2.93 D. Brees (NO)52%1.3854%1.1053%1.393.87 M. Ryan (ATL)34-0.9745-0.1041-0.09-1.17 J. Goff (LAR)40-0.1841-0.69440.26-0.60 T. Siemian (DEN)34-0.9742-0.59460.50-1.05 J. McCown (NYJ)490.97470.20460.521.69 J. Brissett (IND)460.48531.0342-0.061.45 A. Smith (KC)480.82551.32460.542.68 J. Cutler (MIA)420.02510.66561.772.45 M. Stafford (DET)40-0.22500.5437-0.70-0.38 FIRST DOWNSECOND DOWNTHIRD DOWN J. Winston (TB)30-1.6232-1.9522-2.54-6.10 Short of the sticks67273.2%6.61.2%2.4%12.5% C. Beathard (SF)501.07470.19551.652.91 B. Hundley (GB)511.24480.25470.562.05 B. Bortles (JAC)501.12480.35480.702.17 D. Prescott (DAL)36-0.8132-1.9642-0.05-2.82 C. Keenum (MIN)501.07460.02460.501.59 M. Trubisky (CHI)29-1.64531.01490.900.28 A. Dalton (CIN)39-0.43581.6636-0.760.46 E. Manning (NYG)430.12551.3440-0.221.25 C. Newton (CAR)501.0738-1.1039-0.37-0.40 C. Palmer (ARI)29-1.6346-0.0340-0.33-1.98 D. Carr (OAK)430.1145-0.12450.330.32 R. Wilson (SEA)36-0.7337-1.2738-0.52-2.52 Picture this common scene on a Sunday afternoon. Your team could really use a scoring drive to turn the tide. On a 3rd-and-10, before the quarterback is even pressured, he quickly throws a 2-yard pass, and the receiver is tackled a few yards later to bring up fourth down. The crowd grumbles, the offense casually jogs off the field and the punting unit comes on. Better luck next time.Sure, once in a blue moon the offense may throw a bubble screen on 3rd-and-33 and end up with a 52-yard touchdown, like the Rams did with Robert Woods against the Giants in Week 9 this season. But that is the rarest of exceptions.Generally, safe passes like that don’t accomplish much, and we have the data to back that up. How does that 2-yard pass on 3rd-and-10 work out? According to the ESPN Stats & Information Group, quarterback passes thrown no more than 2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage on third down with at least 10 yards to go have been converted only 10.9 percent of the time this season. On throws that travel at least 10 yards, quarterbacks have converted 38.6 percent of the time. So an offense can more than triple its conversion rate just by doing the most obvious thing when trying to move the chains: throwing the ball past the imaginary yellow line on your TV screen.And yet despite this, NFL teams are leaning on the short pass more than ever. The same league that transformed into a passing league over the past 10 years is slowing morphing into something else: the dump-off league.There are some risks with throwing deeper, of course, such as a higher interception rate. And in some special situations, getting a first down isn’t the primary goal of a drive, especially when facing third-and-long. Sometimes teams are just trying to get enough yards to make a field-goal attempt shorter. Or with a big lead in the second half, they’re hoping for an easy completion that will run some clock and gain field position.But when an offense really needs to score points, playing it safe and throwing short of the sticks on third down is often the inferior strategy. We looked at the data from ESPN Stats & Info for passes on 3rd-and-10 or longer for Weeks 1 to 13. We divided the passes between those thrown short of the sticks and those thrown at or beyond the sticks:1For reference, a 12-yard pass on 3rd-and-13 would be considered short of the sticks. Which quarterbacks are the most conservative passers?Which quarterbacks throw short of a “successful” pass distance the most relative to their peers (as measured by the z-scores — the standard deviations above/below the mean — of the Short%* for each down added together), minimum 200 dropbacks through Week 13 of the 2017 season A. Rodgers (GB)602.38520.8924-2.280.99 D. Kizer (CLE)37-0.6842-0.52440.28-0.91 D. Watson (HOU)30-1.5331-2.1340-0.26-3.92 The completion rate for short throws is more than 30 percentage points higher than the rate for longer passes and yet the conversation rate is more than 30 points lower. This is not surprising because defenses are playing to prevent the first down and are willing to concede a fraction of the yardage. However, this positioning make it very difficult for a team to throw short and run after the catch to convert.So far we have only talked about third downs, the crucial down for maintaining offensive success. However, analyzing aggressive and conservative passing on first and second down is also important. A bubble screen that loses a few yards to bring up 2nd-and-13 is also putting the offense in a position to fail.Football Outsiders’ key efficiency metrics, including Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (explained here), are built around the concept of successful plays and are adjusted for factors like the down and distance. For instance, a 5-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 is more valuable than a 5-yard pass on 2nd-and-17. For a pass to be considered a successful play, it must gain at least 45 percent of the needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth. A completion that does not meet those standards is considered a failed completion. Joe Flacco of the Ravens set the failed completion record last season, with 144, and he leads all quarterbacks in 2017 with 95 through Week 13.It’s not just Flacco. The ineffective dump-off is happening across the NFL. Leaguewide, 26.1 percent of all completions this season qualify as failed completions. That’s the highest rate for a season in the Football Outsiders database, which goes back to 1989, and if the 2017 rate stays at that level, it will break the current high bar set in 2015 (25.1 percent).This is not to say that the short pass doesn’t have value in the NFL playbook or that every quarterback should begin slinging the ball 25 yards downfield each time he takes a snap. There is no one right way to run an NFL offense, and some teams have been able to use the short pass to devastating effect. To get a better sense of this, let’s look at which quarterbacks throw short most often using air yards stats.2This includes passes that drew a defensive pass interference flag but excludes passes that were intentionally thrown away or became intentional grounding penalties.Football Outsiders has a stat called “Short%” to denote the percentage of attempts that a quarterback threw short of the minimum yards needed for a successful play, as defined above. So if 45 percent of needed yards are required on first downs, then anything shorter than a 5-yard throw on first-and-10 would be considered a short pass here. The league average for Short% in 2017 is 41.6 percent on first down, 45.5 percent on second down, and 42.5 percent on third down. It’s not until fourth down that most quarterbacks realize the importance of needing to convert with a big throw. Short% on fourth down is 26.2 percent (although that is only on a sample of 214 plays).We looked at Short% on first, second and third downs for quarterbacks who have had a minimum of 200 dropbacks this season. For the 35 quarterbacks, we took the z-score (standard deviations above or below average) of each percentage and added them up, to make sure we were accurately capturing quarterbacks who threw short on all of their downs relative to the league. The quarterback with the largest summed z-score in the table below is the most conservative, as a higher percentage of his passes were short of being a successful play. J. Flacco (BAL)480.79551.28511.123.19 B. Hoyer (SF/NE)450.42551.27490.902.59 B. Roethlisberger (PIT)470.6838-1.1136-0.75-1.19 Short passes become puntsKey outcomes for passes on 3rd-and-10 or longer, Weeks 1-13 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group P. Rivers (LAC)440.30510.67450.321.29 T. Savage (HOU)38-0.4742-0.5530-1.57-2.59 T. Brady (NE)36-0.7942-0.5434-1.06-2.40 K. Cousins (WAS)470.70460.03501.051.78 M. Mariota (TEN)37-0.64460.0433-1.10-1.70 At or beyond the sticks39042.89.64.43.842.6 Higher z-scores mean a quarterback throws short more often.*Short% is the share of passes that fall short of a successful play’s distance (at least 45 percent of the needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third)Source: Football Outsiders Some of the names at the top of the list are predictable, including Flacco and infamous short pass maestro Alex Smith. Jay Cutler has been very dink-and-dunk oriented with Adam Gase in Miami this season, while San Francisco’s first two quarterbacks this season (Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard) made the top five.The real surprise here is the name at the very top: Drew Brees. Not only does he rank as the most conservative passer, but he has consistently stuck to this strategy no matter what the down is. To his credit, Brees has made it work — the Saints rank No. 1 in offensive DVOA and No. 6 in passing. Perhaps more accurately, the running backs are making this offense work. Through Week 13, rookie Alvin Kamara ranked as the best receiving running back while teammate Mark Ingram ranks as Football Outsiders’ top rusher. With two RBs capable of big gains on any play, it’s no surprise that Brees is throwing short early and often. We’ll see if this strategy can sustain itself — the Saints have failed to score 21 points in all four of their losses this season (each was to a playoff contender, including last night’s loss to Atlanta).At the bottom, seven quarterbacks had a combined z-score below 2.0 standard deviations. That includes the trio of favorites for the MVP race in Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz, whose aggressive styles this year have been a positive for their offenses. Similar things could have been said about Deshaun Watson before Houston’s standout rookie tore his ACL.But being aggressive is not a magic formula for success as the list plainly shows. Watson’s backup, Tom Savage, has tried to emulate Watson’s aggressive style, but without anywhere near the same success. Likewise, Jameis Winston of the Buccaneers is routinely one of the leaders in air yards per attempt, but his lack of consistency remains a problem for Tampa Bay. In Dallas, Dak Prescott is throwing aggressively, but his receivers are getting the fewest yards per carry after the catch in the league.Like with any stat, Short% is only one piece of the puzzle, and every quarterback has his own set of circumstances. As we see with Brees, a quarterback can get away with passive play if he’s extremely efficient and the team is still winning.Few quarterbacks have this type of arsenal or this type of ability, so they would be better served trusting the numbers and resisting the easy dump-off.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
201881.6D. Ayton7’0″M. Bamba7’0″M. Bagley6’11” 199280.7S. O’Neal7’1″C. Laettner6’11”A. Mourning6’10” 200781.6S. Hawes7’1″G. Oden7’0″Y. Jianlian7’0″ 201680.6D. Bender7’1″T. Maker7’1″J. Poeltl7’0″ 2018′s top 10 was calculated using ESPN.com’s latest mock draft.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com When the NBA drafts its newest class of rookies Thursday, big guys should be the order of the night. According to rankings from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, six of the top seven prospects in this year’s draft stand 6-foot-10 or taller. (The one exception is Real Madrid’s Luca Doncic, a 6-foot-8 point guard.) If things play out according to ESPN’s latest mock draft, this could be the second-tallest collection of top-10 picks in any draft since the lottery era began in 1985: 2018 is looking like one of the tallest drafts everTallest average height for top 10 picks in an NBA draft, 1985-2018 YearAvg. HEIGHT (inches)1st2nd3rd Tallest Players 198681.1B. Daugherty7’0″W. Bedford7’0″B. Sellers7’0″ 200281.1Y. Ming7’6″N. Tskitishvili7’0″Nene6’11” 200681.0A. Bargnani7’0″P. O’Bryant7’0″L. Aldridge6’11” 199780.1T. Duncan6’11”T. Battie6’11”K. Van Horn6’10” 198581.5P. Ewing7’0″B. Benjamin7’0″J. Koncak7’0″ 201581.4K. Porzingis7’3″K. Towns7’0″W. C.’Stein7’0″ 200080.6J. Przybilla7’1″C. Mihm7’0″K. Martin6’9″ 200182.0T. Chandler7’1″P. Gasol7’0″E. Curry7’0″ 199480.2E. Montross7’0″S. Wright6’11”D. Marshall6’9″ 201080.6D. Cousins6’11”G. Monroe6’11”D. Favors6’10” 198880.3R. Smits7’4″R. Seikaly6’11”D. Manning6’10” Headlined by Arizona 7-footer Deandre Ayton, this crop of big men is poised to have a profound effect on the league’s future. But therein lies a paradox: In the sport that prizes height like no other, the game itself is moving away from the archetype of the plodding big man. How each top prospect handles this seeming contradiction will go a long way toward determining what kind of pro career he’ll end up enjoying.The changing role of tall players in today’s pace-and-space NBA is complicated. As our ESPN colleague Kevin Pelton noted last week, bigs are actually more effective on a per-minute basis than ever, at least according to player-value metrics. Even though their share of leaguewide minutes has stayed relatively constant since the late 1980s, the share of NBA value over replacement player (VORP) accumulated by players 6-foot-10 or taller has been on the rise, hitting a modern high-water mark during the 2017-18 season, when bigs accounted for 39.5 percent of total value: Last season, 21 of the league’s 50 most valuable players by VORP stood 6-foot-10 or taller, another high for the league since the ABA merger in 1976. So in that sense, towering talents such as Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons are doing just fine in the modern NBA, thank you very much.But at the same time, it’s difficult to conclude that this is a true heyday for taller players when you consider how little difference any of them made during the playoffs.1Granted, NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant is listed as 6-foot-9, but he is certainly taller than that. The percentage of total postseason minutes logged by players 6-foot-10 or taller has fallen from 29 percent in 2009 (the year 6-foot-11 Dwight Howard led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals) to 22 percent this year. At the same time, the share of playoff VORP belonging to big men has fallen from 34 percent to 26 percent. Only two players 6-foot-10 or taller — Kevin Love and JaVale McGee — played any significant minutes in the NBA Finals.2The series’ other players who stand 6-foot-10 or taller — Zaza Pachulia and Ante Zizic — were on the court for a grand total of 11 minutes over the series’ four games. In recent postseasons, the switch-heavy defensive schemes that top teams play have often made it a tactical liability to rely heavily on traditional big-man types, to say nothing of the negative effects of playing a nonshooter like most bigs have been throughout NBA history.Even among those who have survived these shifting conditions and remained relevant as NBA big men, the core responsibilities of the role have changed substantially over time. The floor-spacing element alone has not only put added pressure on bigs to develop greater range as shooters — 7-footers now take more than double the number of threes they did just five seasons ago, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group — but it also requires them to be able to move fluidly in larger areas of defensive space, as well as taking a more active role in ballhandling and passing duties.You can see these changes playing out statistically as today’s big men are diversifying their contributions. Relative to the league average, the typical player who stands 6-foot-10 or taller in the 2010s gets significantly more assists and steals than in previous decades; he also is a much more frequent and efficient scorer and rebounder, but he blocks fewer shots. These changes have been about survival, and several of this draft’s elite post prospects have things they’ll need to prove in order to avoid becoming the next Jahlil Okafor, who entered the NBA with one of the best low-post arsenals in decades but couldn’t move his feet well enough to justify consistent playing time (let alone the No. 3 overall pick).The physically gifted Ayton, who spent much of this past season at power forward, logged very low steal and block rates when compared with other recent top-level post prospects, leading some to question his defensive instincts. Marvin Bagley III, who played zone during his one year at Duke, struggled at times defending the pick and roll, a vital trait in a league where that play can be used every time down the floor. And while Texas’s Mohamed Bamba will enter the NBA with a shot-blocking reputation — he has a ridiculous 7-foot-10 wingspan and erased almost four shots a game in college — it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to make an impact on defense when teams seek to pull him out with a stretch-big who doesn’t need to be tethered to the paint.If we learned anything during these NBA playoffs — between Houston finding ways to torch and neutralize likely defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert and Golden State making mincemeat out of Cleveland’s switch-everything defense in the NBA Finals — it’s that the best offenses generally have counterpunches against highly predictable defensive sets and players. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a shock to see someone like Michigan State’s 6-foot-11 Jaren Jackson Jr. get drafted a few spots earlier than expected, given the defensive versatility he possesses.To be clear, it’s not just the big men who find themselves adapting to a changing game. Players at other positions will also come with a handful of question marks Thursday night for similar reasons. For all his game-changing offensive talents, Oklahoma guard Trae Young’s lack of size (he checks in at 6-foot-2 and just under 180 pounds, with only a 6-foot-4 wingspan) figures to give teams pause after an NBA postseason whose earlier rounds saw smaller guards targeted and exposed consistently on the defensive end. Among perimeter players — rookie and veteran alike — Young isn’t alone in that weakness.On a larger scale, though, the sheer number of elite big-men draft prospects leading the way this year may seem a bit odd, given how the league has seemingly downsized. But just keep in mind the necessary caveat: Big men are still alive and well in the NBA — as long as they can move their feet and possess more than one tangible skill. We’ll see how many of this year’s towering prospects can check off those boxes once they start playing against the pros.
3Roger FedererSwitzerland55.5 7Juan BalcellsSpain54.3 In particular, Dominic Thiem, who knocked out Nadal in Madrid, was able to significantly erode Rafa’s second-serve dominance with a 7-5, 6-3 win. It was the only match Nadal lost on clay this season.What have these players done to put a dent — however temporary — in Nadal’s second serve? To answer that question, we must first look at why it’s so dominant to begin with.In the men’s game at the pro level, the first serve is a statistical powerhouse. It’s a guessing game for the returner — a nightmare of speed, spin and precision. When a player connects on his first serve, he usually wins the point.When a player misses the mark, it’s time for the second serve. That’s when anything can happen and where break points are won. It’s the real contest. It’s also where Nadal is making everyone else look like fools, statistically speaking.What makes Nadal’s second serve so goodThe second-best second server on clay is John Isner, a 6-foot-10 acing titan who can hammer balls more than 150 mph. Many of the career leaders in this second-serve category are like Isner — they bring the heat. 2John IsnerUnited States55.7 The clay-court masters of the second serveCareer leaders in share of points won off second serves on clay courts Alexander Zverev2ndItalian Open38–– Source: ATP OpponentSetTournamentSecond-Serve Points Won 1Rafael NadalSpain56.7% 5Andy RoddickUnited States54.8 10Thomas MusterAustria54.0 8Stan WawrinkaSwitzerland54.2 Dominic Thiem1stMadrid Open40%–– Beating Nadal means beating back his second serveShare of second-serve points that Rafael Nadal won in the four sets he lost on clay this season Fabio Fognini1stItalian Open50–– Rafael Nadal is likely more dominant at clay-court tennis than any other athlete is at any one thing. Winning a set, let alone a match, against Nadal on clay can seem almost hopeless. As he nears 32 years old, he’s already won 56 clay-court titles and a record 10 French Open championships — with a chance to add an 11th next week.While his forehand is explosive and his backhand is relentless, it’s possible Nadal’s greatest advantage is that he turns an element of the game that’s a weakness for so many others into a weapon: the second serve. He has had more success on his second serve than any player in tennis history, and on clay, his prowess here is even more pronounced.In his career, Nadal has won 56.7 percent of his second-serve points on clay. In the past year, he’s upped that percentage to 66.4 percent.1Data reflects his numbers going into the French Open. On Thursday, Nadal advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over Guido Pella. For most pro players, anything better than break-even on second serve is considered good. Nadal has taken the safety net of the sport and turned it into a battle ax.This also unlocks the secret to beating him on his favorite surface. Occasionally players can and do make Nadal more human in this area. Bringing him back to Earth by cracking into his second-serve points, players can make the King of Clay look more like … just a prince, let’s say.This clay-court season, Nadal has lost exactly four sets of tennis. Notice what happened to the percentage of second-serve points Nadal won in those four sets: 6Stefanos TsitsipasGreece54.4 But Rafa’s not about speed on the serve. He’s not even close to the ATP Tour leaders in aces. In fact, his 1.9 career aces per match on clay is the lowest on the table above. (Isner’s rate is 16.3.) Nadal averages around 110 to 115 mph on his first serve and less than 100 mph on this statistically dominant second serve. Very meh speeds.The elements that make his second serve so crushing, particularly on clay, are part intuitive and part mystery. Nadal plays left-handed — a topsy-turvy problem for players conditioned to a world full of right-handed serves. A lefty slice serve travels the opposite way of what players are used to.But slice isn’t the menace on clay that it is elsewhere because players have more time to get to balls on this surface. So if slice is mitigated, why would Nadal’s lefty slice be more potent on clay?John Yandell is a tennis editor and coach who has examined the spins and techniques of hundreds of professional tennis players. He analyzed Nadal’s serve spins and concluded that while Nadal’s second serve “has an element of topspin” and is “heavy” at around 4,000 rotations per minute, it’s not categorically different from other serves on tour, which combine slice and topspin.“Most likely it’s just Rafa,” Yandell said. “What he does after he puts the serve in play.”So the secret could be in what he’s doing when that second serve comes back — a shot sometimes called “the plus-one.”How to win points off his second serveRafa has become a master at managing space on European red clay, where balls travel so far off the bounce that the court plays bigger and wider. On returns, he famously stands far back behind the baseline to take a big swing at the serve, then repositions himself according to where his shot lands. Though he can’t start deep behind the baseline when he serves, he uses that same repositioning approach with his plus-one shot, taking advantage of errors by overzealous returners to dominate these second-serve points.At the French Open on Tuesday, Nadal won a straight-sets victory in what was considered a tough first-round match. He not only took 62 percent of second-serve points, he also tempted Simone Bolelli into going for too much on those points and committing an unforgivable 23 errors — with only four winners.So what about the tougher competition? In Rome on May 19, Nadal faced Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest returners in tennis. The two clashed intensely before Nadal won the first set in a tiebreak. It was a set in which Nadal hit a lot of second serves and won his usual high percentage of second-serve points. It’s also a good case study in what Nadal does so well here in terms of positioning.In this video, Nadal’s second serve puts Djokovic in a defensive position early. An extended rally ensues until Nadal sees his opportunity to step into the court and strike with a forehand winner.But even what Djokovic did above is preferable to the alternative, which is missing the return all together. If you can prolong the rally, at least you have a fighting chance: Contrary to his reputation, Nadal doesn’t do nearly as well in long rallies as he does in short ones.Take note, Rafa challengers. Dominic Thiem2ndMadrid Open29–– RKPlayerCOUNTRYSecond-serve point win share 4Borna CoricCroatia55.2 Source: ATP 9Juan Carlos FerreroSpain54.1
Terrelle Pryor admitted he doesn’t have the most talent or the glitziest numbers. But he proved Saturday he can make plays when it counts. The junior quarterback rallied Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) to a fourth-quarter comeback to escape Iowa City, Iowa, with a 20-17 victory and keep the Buckeyes in the hunt for their sixth straight conference title. “I might not be the best quarterback or have the best stats,” Pryor said, “but I guarantee I can bring my team back and make them believe that we were coming back.” It wasn’t pretty. Pryor scrambled for 14 yards to convert a fourth-and-10 at midfield to revive a game-winning drive that was on life support. Five plays later, running back Dan “Boom” Herron punched in a 2-yard touchdown to cap the 12-play, 76-yard march and give OSU a 20-17 lead with 1:47 remaining. “Our guys don’t panic,” coach Jim Tressel said. “They believe and keep fighting. We felt like it was going to be a four-quarter heavyweight bout.” Herron rushed for 69 yards on 20 carries. The junior has scored at least one touchdown in 10 consecutive games. Iowa’s final crack at tying or winning the game was short-lived. Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward sacked quarterback Ricky Stanzi to force the Hawkeyes into a fourth-and-22, which they couldn’t convert. “I think we knew we really needed a stop,” Heyward said. “The defensive line just took that personally and went out there and played.” Pryor raved all week about OSU’s offensive game plan for Iowa, but aside from the go-ahead series, the Buckeyes struggled to muster up any sort of offensive rhythm. The junior signal-caller tossed a pair of costly interceptions, and officials flagged the Buckeyes eight times for 73 yards, including three false start penalties. “Throughout the game, a lot of things were going on,” Pryor said. “A lot of dropped passes, a lot of bad throws, a lot of inaccurate throws. We lived for another day.” Pryor’s miscues nearly cost OSU the game. Facing third-and-10 with the score tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter, Pryor, looking for receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, threw into double coverage off his back foot. Iowa’s Shaun Prater collected the errant throw after a deflection, returning the pick eight yards to the OSU 27-yard line. The pick “was kind of B.S.,” Pryor said. “It kind of bounced off Dane and bounced up. They made a great play on that.” Two plays later, running back Marcus Coker scored the first touchdown of his career from one yard out to provide Iowa a 17-10 edge. Coker totaled 70 yards on nine carries as he started in place of Adam Robinson, whom Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz benched for the first quarter for what he called “academic indigestions.” “He didn’t do anything wrong, illegal or what have you,” Ferentz said. “But just not dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s.” Robinson, who gained 27 yards on nine carries, left the game on Iowa’s final drive after taking a brutal hit from OSU safety Jermale Hines. With 7:38 to play, Devin Barclay converted a career-long 48-yard field goal to cap an 11-play, 30-yard drive that cut OSU’s deficit to 17-13. One play before Pryor rescued the Buckeyes on fourth down, receiver DeVier Posey, all alone in the end zone, let a downfield heave fall through his fingers. He strutted back to the huddle, hands on his helmet, shaking his head. “Was I pissed? Yeah, I was mad,” Pryor said. “But we had a fourth-and-10 to get to or we were going to lose another game. I hate losing with a passion.” Pryor atoned for Posey’s drop and his own mistakes on the next play, as Tressel opted against punting on fourth down from midfield with more than four minutes left. Instead, the notoriously conservative coach put his trust in an offense that tallied just three points in the first half. “When it was fourth-and-10 and (Pryor) went scrambling, I almost threw up on myself,” linebacker Brian Rolle said. “I held my breath the whole play.” On the Buckeyes’ final possession before halftime, Pryor tried to squeeze a pass into triple coverage for receiver Taurian Washington. After a deflection, Iowa safety Micah Hyde snagged the ball with one hand while falling to the ground to preserve the Hawkeye lead. Following the play, Pryor pleaded his case with Tressel and quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano, insisting that the turnover wasn’t his fault. “He was probably upset about the fact he threw an interception,” Tressel said. “But in the heat of a game when you’re screaming and yelling at each other, there’s no place for the meek and mild. You need to be screamed at and you need to scream. “I don’t know if I was screaming at him or if he was screaming at me or if we were screaming at each other, but we still love each other.” Pryor completed 18 of his 33 pass attempts for 195 yards. He found backup tight end Reid Fragel for a 5-yard touchdown to cap a 12-play, 77-yard drive to start the second half and turn a 7-3 deficit into a 10-7 advantage. The score was the first of Fragel’s career. Iowa responded with a 10-play, 65-yard march of its own, which culminated in a 31-yard field goal to tie the game. Last season, the teams also entered the fourth quarter knotted at 10-10. Herron and running back Brandon Saine scored touchdowns early in the quarter before Iowa erased a 14-point deficit to send the contest into overtime. After Iowa failed to score, Barclay punched the Buckeyes’ ticket to Pasadena, Calif., with a 39-yard field goal. OSU hosts rival Michigan at the Horseshoe at noon Saturday. A victory would clinch the Buckeyes at least a share of the Big Ten title. Michigan State and Wisconsin remain tied with OSU atop the Big Ten standings with one conference loss. The Badgers beat Michigan, and the Spartans rallied to defeat Purdue.
Fans of Ohio State sports are lucky, spoiled even, you could say. Not only is Columbus home to one of the country’s best football programs with Urban Meyer at the helm, but the basketball team, under the watch of Thad Matta, has developed into a national power. Over the last five years, OSU leads all schools in the two-sport winning percentage of football and men’s basketball. The past academic year witnessed a flawed but driven football team go undefeated and a basketball squad, having to replace a two-time all-American and the program’s third all-time leading scorer, come within a game of matching its NCAA Tournament run from a season ago. As the photo editor of The Lantern, I was privileged to witness each of OSU’s 12 football games in person. I also covered the majority of the basketball team’s contests, including all of the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago and the NCAA Tournament games in Dayton and Los Angeles. Here’s the best that was on the gridiron and the hardwood in 2012-13 at OSU: Best game: OSU 73, Arizona 70, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Playing in one of America’s basketball cathedrals, OSU advanced to its second Elite Eight in as many seasons at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The No. 6-seeded Wildcats, coached by Sean Miller, Matta’s former assistant at Xavier, raced out to a 26-17 lead. Junior forward Deshaun Thomas hit a couple 3-pointers to help the Buckeyes claw back to within four points at halftime. Out of the break, No. 2 seed OSU used a 10-2 run to take hold of the contest. The Buckeyes lead got as high as eight points with 7:42 to play, but an and-one layup from senior guard Mark Lyons tied the game at 70-70 with 21 seconds remaining. With the ball in his hands less than a week after hitting the game-winner in a third round contest against Iowa State, junior guard Aaron Craft passed to LaQuinton Ross with two seconds left. The sophomore forward and occupant of Kobe Bryant’s locker during the stay in L.A. hit a 3-pointer from the left arc to catapult the Buckeyes past the Wildcats. Best player: Then-sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller Thomas made a strong case for himself being the name in this category, leading the Big Ten in scoring and being OSU’s only offensive option for the most of the season. But as much as the junior forward was relied on this winter, Miller was to an even greater extent with the football team. The then-sophomore set a school record for total yards in a season and was a serious Heisman contender until the trophy’s finalists were announced in early December. In 2012, Miller totaled 3,310 yards and 28 touchdowns. With Thomas declaring himself eligible for the NBA Draft, Miller is likely to see his name in this category again next year. Best play: Craft’s game-winning 3-pointer vs. Iowa State Two plays made by players on the football team came to mind when trying to decide who would win this category. There was the scrambling run for a touchdown by Miller at Penn State that involved multiple juke moves before a leap into the end zone. And the superman-esque dive by then-sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier into Wisconsin then-senior running back Montee Ball forced a fumble at the goal line and stopped history (Ball was a touchdown away from setting the NCAA career record). But neither of those, nor any play made by the football or basketball team this year, were better than the 3-pointer Craft hit in Dayton against Iowa State to send OSU into the Sweet 16. Dribbling the ball at the top of the key, the junior guard waved off calls for the ball by Thomas and junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. With Cyclone freshman forward Georges Niang isolated on him, Craft waited until there was one second left before firing a 3-pointer that found nothing but the bottom of the net. “I hope someday they put a statue in front of our building of him,” Matta said on CBS after the game. “Coaches were telling me he’s exhausted. He’s too tough to be tired. What a big-time shot.” Best moment: Then-redshirt junior quarterback Kenny Guiton leads comeback against Purdue OSU’s dream of an undefeated season nearly came to a screeching halt at the end of the third quarter of the Buckeyes’ Oct. 20 game against Purdue in Columbus. Miller had just suffered an injury, left the field on a cart and exited the stadium in an ambulance. OSU was trailing the Boilermakers, 20-14, and with its best player out, the team’s perfect 7-0 record was almost assuredly going to be handed a blemish. In stepped Guiton, who did little to help the Buckeyes’ cause until the game was just about over. With 2:40 left and the score 22-14, the then-redshirt junior threw an interception. Meyer grabbed Guiton, who was noticeably distraught. “I said, ‘You’re going to win us a game,’” Meyer said. “He looked right at me. I think he was down but I think that moment kind of picked him up.” OSU got the ball back, and Guiton led a 61-yard drive with 47 seconds left that ended with a touchdown pass to then-redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Fields. The Buckeyes tied the game with a two-point conversion on a lobbed throw to then-freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman and won the contest in overtime. Best underdog story: Zach Boren’s move to linebacker OSU’s defense had shredded in back-to-back games against Nebraska and Indiana in mid-October. The Buckeyes allowed a combined 87 points in those two contests, and at the heart of Meyer’s concerns about his defense was the linebacker position. Boren, then-senior and 30-game starter at fullback, had played linebacker in high school and was recruited to OSU to play that position. Sensing that his team needed someone to step up and fill a void, Boren asked Meyer if he could play linebacker during an October practice. Meyer obliged to the request, and Boren responded by helping revamp a defense that allowed just 57 points in November. The Pickerington native recorded 50 tackles on the season and averaged 8.2 tackles per game in his six games at linebacker, including a career-high 12 in the overtime win at Wisconsin. “Talk about Zach Boren. You want someone to write a book on, wow, that would be good if you go write a book on Zach Boren,” Meyer said. Best team: Football The basketball team can make its arguments: Big Ten Tournament champions, an Elite Eight Appearance and an 11-game winning streak. The football team only needs to make one, though. Undefeated. Meyer and his squad literally accomplished everything they could in 2012, winning all 12 of their games and recording the school’s first perfect season since 2002.
3. Braxton Miller’s rollercoaster season.Since spraining the MCL in his left knee in OSU’s win against San Diego State, junior quarterback Braxton Miller has struggled to play consistently. After a four-touchdown performance against Wisconsin, Miller played poorly against Northwestern, turning the ball over three times and failing to find the end zone. Now Miller heads into the game against Penn State on the heels of a performance against Iowa in which he threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns and added 102 yards on the ground. If Miller wants to lead the Buckeyes to another undefeated season, he will need to find more consistency in his play and keep his mistakes to a minimum. Although he was successful against the Hawkeyes, it remains to be seen which Miller will show up Saturday. If Miller can avoid turning the ball over and instead score a couple of touchdowns, it will go a long way to pushing the Buckeyes to 8-0 overall on the season. 4. Can Ohio Stadium and Buckeye Nation rattle Christian Hackenberg?True freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been all Penn State could have asked for this season. The 6-foot-4-inch Palmyra, Va., product has thrown for 1,672 yards and 11 touchdowns so far in 2013, against six interceptions. His three first-half scoring tosses kept the Nittany Lions afloat early on in their quadruple overtime win against Michigan two weeks ago, and the freshman is only getting better. OSU’s secondary has taken multiple hits this season, with the loss of senior safety Christian Bryant to a broken ankle against Wisconsin Sept. 28 and Roby last week to the ejection. If Hackenberg is able to find holes and complete big plays to Robinson and others, the team could light up the scoreboard. 5. Will the pressure get to OSU?The Buckeyes currently sport the nation’s longest winning streak at 19 games, and with the opportunity to take another step toward a Leaders Division title, will the pressure finally get to the team? The last time OSU boasted a 19-game winning streak, Meyer was on the other sidelines with Florida when it ended in the 2006 BCS National Championship. A victory against conference rival Penn State (8 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium) would surely vault the Buckeyes ahead into their next two games on the road against Purdue and Illinois. 2. Will Bradley Roby be ready to step up?This year hasn’t gone exactly how redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby had planned. After being named a preseason All-American, Roby was then suspended for the season opener after a July incident at a Bloomington, Ind., bar. He has been outplayed during games against California and Wisconsin and was then ejected from the game against Iowa for targeting. Roby is expected to play the whole game against the Nittany Lions and will likely be matched up against Penn State junior wide receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson is averaging 117.5 receiving yards per game, the highest among players that OSU has faced so far in 2013. It will be another test for Roby, who continues to watch his NFL Draft stock plummet with his struggles. If Roby can contain Robinson, it could be a long day for Penn State. Senior running back Carlos Hyde (34) dives forward during a game against Iowa Oct. 19 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 34-24.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editor1. How many yards does Carlos Hyde gain?Let’s face it: The lead running back role in the Buckeye offense belongs to Carlos Hyde. Although redshirt-senior Jordan Hall played well during Hyde’s three-game suspension stemming from an incident at a Columbus bar in July, Hyde has completely taken over No. 4 Ohio State’s (7-0, 3-0) backfield. In the four games since returning from suspension, Hyde has rushed for 41, 85, 168 and 149 yards, respectively, and five total touchdowns. Two of those games came against then-top 10 rushing defenses in Wisconsin and Iowa, and Hyde was still successful. Penn State (4-2, 1-1) comes into the game Saturday with the No. 21 rushing defense in the country, so Hyde will look to have another big game to help OSU win its 20th straight game.
But on Friday Cheshire Police brought civil proceedings against him to impose an SRO after they said Mr Crawshaw was a “sexual predator”.Acting for the applicant, Elizabeth Heavey told the court the police accepted the verdicts of the juries but the order came from a “wholly unique and extraordinary” set of circumstances.She said: “The respondent has admitted sexual contact with six complainants out of 11. There appears to have been no previous relationship with these complainants.”He admitted in the course of criminal proceedings that he had sex with one complainant in a toilet in a nightclub. Many complainants he met in nightclubs or bars.”It is for that reason that the application has been drafted.” He admitted in the course of criminal proceedings that he had sex with one complainant in a toilet in a nightclubElizabeth Heavey, acting for the applicant The interim SRO restricts Crawshaw from contacting any of the complainants, from having sex in licensed premises, from having sex in public, from being in a licensed premises between 9pm and 6am and from having sexual contact with any person without giving the police notice beforehand as soon as practicable.Ms Heavey said the restriction on Mr Crawshaw’s sexual contact with other people was only the second case of its type, the other being a man called John O’Neill in York.Defending, Howard Jones said Mr Crawshaw “objects to the order in its entirety” but that he had no intention of contacting any of the women who made complaints about him and said he “didn’t want to have anything to do with them”.He said the order to stop him going into licensed premises between 9pm and 6am would stop him going to a “family dinner, to Sainsbury’s, or a local shop” and was disproportionate. 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. It will restrict his liberty. It does not particularly state what is meant by sexual activity. Is kissing a girl sexual activity?Howard Jones, defending Mr Jones said that as the hearing was about an interim order the bar for granting it was “low” but complained that the definition of sexual contact was “vague”.He said: “With regard to contacting the police before any sexual contact takes place I would ask you to give serious thought to that.”It will restrict his liberty. It does not particularly state what is meant by sexual activity. Is kissing a girl sexual activity?”What if he does meet a girl for the first time and the girl in question wants him to stay overnight. Then Mr Crawshaw is in a situation that he has to ring the police and he has to tell the person why he is calling the police when he has been acquitted of all charges. That would ruin his life.”Magistrates granted the interim order until a full hearing on November 2 at Chester Magistrates Court.A local newspaper and Mr Crawshaw successfully opposed reporting restrictions which Cheshire Police asked to be placed on the case.Cheshire Police argued Mr Crawshaw should not be identified to “maintain his privacy”. Mr Crawshaw said he wanted the case to be heard in public. A man dubbed a “sexual predator” has been banned from going into pubs after 9pm or having having sex without informing the police.Nicholas Crawshaw, 23, has been given an interim Sex Risk Order (SRO) by West Cheshire magistrates which restricts him from having sexual contact without telling the police beforehand.Mr Crawshaw was cleared by a Warrington Crown Court jury of six counts of rape, two of sexual assault and two of assault by penetration against eight different women.In February he was cleared of six counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration against two women in a different trial and in 2015 he was cleared of one count of rape.
Most well-balanced individuals who lose their job wouldn’t then resort to violence against the person taking over their jobDavid Gordon, prosecuting He said: “While the defendant may have made an outward show of not being bothered about losing his job looking after Pamela Newton’s horses, in fact, he harboured resentment about it and this may have provided him with a motive.”Mr Gordon added: “This might sound extreme. Most well-balanced individuals who lose their job wouldn’t then resort to violence against the person taking over their job, but there it is.”The prosecution say that the attack upon Miss Southwell was vicious, relatively protracted, it seems to have involved at least 19 wounds being inflicted to her head and body with a sharp weapon.”And what we say is that Miss Southwell had no known enemies and yet the attack would seem to suggest someone who had a grudge or resentment against her or somebody who was in a disturbed state of mind or both.”The jury, of 11 women and one man, heard Miss Southwell, who was single and lived with her brother and elderly mother, was seen working at Grange Farm on the morning of the murder on July 15 last year.Her brother, Samuel Southwell, who became worried when she did not return home for lunch or dinner, went to look for her and found her in a barn, lying on her back behind a wheelbarrow, the jury was told.Mr Gordon said she had been stabbed repeatedly. The court heard Edwards had found new employment at a neighbouring farm and was working there on the morning of the murder. A stable-hand murdered a 60-year-old woman as he resented losing his job to her before leaving her blood-covered body in a barn, a court heard.Daniel Edwards, 22, is accused of killing Fiona Southwell, who was found dead with 19 stab wounds to her head and body at a farm near Hornsea, East Yorkshire.The jury was told Edwards, who was replaced by Miss Southwell after being sacked at Grange Farm, discussed asking for his old role back the day after her death.David Gordon, prosecuting at Hull Crown Court, told the trial Edwards might have held a grudge against Miss Southwell. 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. Grange Farm in Hornsea, where the body of Fiona Southwell was foundCredit:SWNS.com The following day, he went to work and asked his employer’s partner, John Tierney, if he should ask for his old job back, the trial heard.Mr Gordon said: “The defendant asked John Tierney if he thought that he, the defendant, should ask Pamela Newton about getting his old job back looking after the horses now that Miss Southwell was dead.”Edwards was arrested at his family home in Hornsea on the evening of July 16 and clothing – stained with blood belonging to Miss Southwell – was recovered from his bedroom, the court heard.Miss Southwell’s blood was also found on Edwards’s ankle; a kitchen knife, found discarded in a hedgerow near the farm and from a block kept at Maxholme; and a blood-stained child’s vest, thought to have been used to wipe the knife clean and of the type used as cloths at Maxholme, the jury was told.Edwards’s DNA was also found on areas of the vest and blood on his clothing suggested he was near to Miss Southwell as she lay bleeding from her injuries and still alive, Mr Gordon said. The prosecutor said Edwards sent a number of text messages to a childhood friend in the days leading up to the murder, which might suggest he was “in a disturbed state of mind”.He said: “On the face of it, the fact that a person is sacked wouldn’t normally provide any kind of reason to do harm to their replacement but, in this particular situation, we have, additionally, a young man who, in the hours leading up to the murder, was expressing, to a childhood friend of his, some distress, in the sense that he was feeling he was going to have a breakdown and his ‘head was f—ed’.”Edwards denies murder and the trial continues. The case is being heard at Hull Crown CourtCredit:Alamy
“Security is taken extremely seriously at Canary Wharf. We invest heavily in our security and review the processes on a regular basis.”Current arrangements have been tightened, while our security procedures are being reviewed and an internal investigation conducted.”We are working closely with the Metropolitan Police on this matter. Our priority is to ensure the safety of our tenants, employees and those visiting the Estate.” “Should we touch the top? I need to touch the top of the building. I have done it. I have touched the top of Canary Wharf.“My heart is pounding. We can literally see the whole of London, just everything.”The men have urged others not to try and copy them, saying the building is now locked off.The video was uploaded by a YouTube user called Night Scape on Monday night.A Canary Wharf Group spokesperson said: “We are actively investigating unauthorised entry into One Canada Square, on the Canary Wharf Estate. 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. In the video, the two men jump over the security barriers, set off the alarm, get the lift to the top and then climb out of the building at a terrifying height.They even film themselves touching the pyramid at the top of the skyscraper.The pranksters were shocked to find out the doors to the roof on the 50th floor were unlocked.Looking at London below, the camera man said: “Guys I can’t believe we are on here, it is crazy. Two so-called ‘rooftoppers’ have posted heart-stopping footage of their perilous climb to the top of One Canada Square, one of Canary Wharf’s iconic buildings.They posted an astonishing 10-and-a-half minute clip to YouTube, in which they manage to reach the top of London’s second-tallest building.The Canary Wharf Group, which owns the building, has said it is “working with the Metropolitan Police” after the security breach, and that it has tightened security provisions.At the beginning of the clip, the camera man describes the climb as “almost impossible”.He said: “We are going to try to infiltrate the building called One Canada Square”. The rooftoppers climbed the giddying heights of One Canada SquareCredit:Night Scape/YouTube
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. Body-worn cameras have already been given to 17,500 officers in the country’s largest police force. Firearms officers will wear cameras fixed to their headsCredit:Metropolitan Police Firearms officers working in London will be given head-mounted cameras to boost transparency, more than three years after the plans were first mooted.The Metropolitan Police said officers working for armed response units will have the devices attached to baseball caps and ballistic helmets.Cameras have already been given to 17,500 officers in the country’s largest police force, with the latest tranche seeing 1,000 members of Firearms Command getting the devices.The plans for head-mounted cameras for firearms officers were first suggested by previous Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in 2014 in the wake of the death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan. “It provides a documented and accurate account of the threats officers face and the split second decisions they make. The cameras also offer greater transparency for those in front of the camera as well as those behind it.”Mark Duggan’s death: The protest that lead to a riot – and calls for police headcams Last month, figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission showed the number of fatal police shootings in England and Wales had reached the highest level in 13 years.Statistics revealed there were six police armed fatalities recorded in 2016/17. It was the highest annual number since it began collecting the statistics in 2004. Sir Bernard said giving firearms officers cameras would result in speedier justice for victims and help the force “be more accountable” in the wake of the death, which sparked riots in 2011.Commander Matt Twist, in charge of the Firearms Command, said: “Officers who carry an overt firearm as part of their role very much welcome the use of Body Worn Video. Only those officers who carry a firearm overtly will be given a camera, while other units including Mounted Branch, Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection and Specialist Crime Units to be given the devices by October.London mayor Sadiq Khan said the technology “will make a real difference to those carrying firearms”He said: “As we complete the London-wide rollout, the cameras will also provide our officers with confidence in the transparency of their actions, as they continue their great work on the front line fighting crime and keeping our city safe.”
Britain is losing its religion, research has found, as the proportion of non-believers is the highest it has ever been. More than half of the population has no faith and the share of the population who say they are Church of England Christians has fallen to just 15 per cent – the lowest ever recorded. Just three per cent of those aged 18 to 24 said they belonged to the Church of England, while the proportion overall of non-Christians has tripled from two to six per cent.Church of England leaders said the findings were “troubling”, but expressed optimism that the church could still attract some of the 53 per cent who said they had no religion. The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, said: “In this modern world people are more willing to be honest and say they have ‘no religion’ rather than casually saying they are ‘CofE’. This honesty is welcome.”Of course the latest BSA figures bring a continuing challenge to the churches, to speak clearly of our faith into a sceptical and plural world. But saying ‘no religion’ is not the same as a considered atheism. People’s minds, and hearts, remain open.”But Humanists UK chief executive Andrew Copson said the figures were proof that the Church was undergoing an “ongoing and probably irreversible collapse in adherents”. “It is long overdue that the Government woke up to the demographic reality of today’s Britain and recognises that ever-increasing state funding for religion, and public emphasis on the activities of religious groups, is the reverse of what the public wants,” he said. The proportion of believers is also falling among older demographics, though the figures much higher than among the young. Half of those aged 55 to 64 said they had no religion, the first time religious people have not been in the majority in this age group. Of the overall six per cent belonging to other faiths, half were Muslim and a third were Hindu, with Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and other groups all smaller. The figures from the British Social Attitudes Survey done by the National Centre for Social Research were first produced in 1983. In that year 40 per cent of the population identified as Church of England, a figure which has been steadily declining ever since. More than two-thirds of the population said they were Christian. This has now fallen to 41 per cent. However the proportion of “other” Christians, including Pentecostal and Methodist groups, has stayed exactly the same at 17 per cent, and the proportion of Roman Catholics has shifted only slightly from 10 per cent to 9 per cent. This is thought to have been partly fuelled by immigrant communities. Denominations such as Pentecostal churches, attended by those from areas such as west Africa, are among the fastest-growing. Eastern European immigrants are also thought to have kept the proportion of Catholics steady over the past 30 years. Saying ‘no religion’ is not the same as a considered atheism. People’s minds, and hearts, remain open.The Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool 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.
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. However, this is now making its way up into secondary schools, and Government forecasts published last month suggest that overall primary school pupil numbers may start to plateau beyond 2020/21. Cllr Roy Perry, vice-chairman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “Over recent years councils have created an extra 600,000 new places.This is a demonstrable record that they are doing everything they can to rise to the challenge of ensuring no child goes without a place. The vast majority of councils (82 per cent) said they have seen at least a slight drop in applications this year, while almost one in five (18 per cent) have seen an increase.A breakdown by London borough shows significant differences – with around one in four youngsters missing out in some places.In Camden, 76.6 per cent got their first preference, along with 76.7 per cent in Hammersmith and Fulham, and 76.9 per cent in Wandsworth.Kensington and Chelsea had the lowest proportion of children getting their top choice at 68.3 per cent, meaning just under a third missed out.Barking and Dagenham had the highest proportion of first preferences at 95.3 per cent, Primary schools have seen a boom in pupil numbers in recent years, prompted by a spike in the birth rate in the early 2000s. More children are now getting their first choice primary school because of Brexit, London councils have said.On Monday over half a million families in England were told which primary school their child will attend this autumn, on what is known as “national offer day”. There were signs that in many areas of the country, a higher proportions of children gained places at their first choice of primary school compared to last year.In London, where competition for places at the top schools is particularly acute, around 1,365 more children got their most favoured school compared to last year.The Pan London Admissions Board, which co-ordinates school admissions in the city, London boroughs received 96,681 applications for primary school places this year which is 2.3 per cent fewer than last year.“Schools had been aware that lower birth rates in 2014 would lead to a smaller number of children starting primary school in London this year,” a spokesman for the Board said.“We believe that high property prices in some areas and the initial effects of the EU membership referendum have also contributed to this easing of pressure at primary level.”Following the Brexit vote, European families have been leaving the capital which has eased the pressure on primary schools, the Board’s spokesman explained. Around the country, 72 per cent of local authorities said they have seen an increase in the proportions of pupils getting their first preference compared to last year, according to a survey by the Press Association. “Every child should have a fair chance of getting into their parents’ preferred school and councils and schools work extremely hard to try and ensure that as many pupils as possible are allocated their first preference.”School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “A good primary school education lays the foundations for success at secondary school and beyond, so it is right that we help make sure every child reaches their potential from the moment they start their education.”That’s why we’re investing £5.8 billion to create even more good schools and good school places – building on the 825,000 we’ve created since 2010 – resulting in 9 out of 10 pupils securing one of their top three choices of schools.”
A British hospital has condemned as “ridiculous” Donald Trump’s suggestion that gun ownership could help combat the menace of knife crime which led to a London emergency ward being compared to a “war zone”.The US President told the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas, that because the UK has “unbelievably tough gun laws” there was “blood all over the floors” from knife attacks in one of the capital’s hospitals.It appears Mr Trump was referring to comments made by Martin Griffiths, a surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, who said last month a ward resembled an Afghan war zone due to the number of victims of knife attacks.The surgeon took to Twitter yesterday to claim the president had missed the point, adding that he was “happy to invite Mr Trump to my prestigious hospital … to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London.”Professor Karim Brohi, trauma surgeon at The Royal London Hospital and director of London’s major trauma system, said the medical staff were proud of the “excellent trauma care” they provide, adding that it was “ridiculous” for the president to suggest guns could be part of the solution to knife crime.”The Royal London Hospital has cut the number of our young patients returning after further knife attacks from 45 per cent to 1 per cent,” he said in a statement. “There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. “Clearly, I disagree strongly with the president’s sentiments,” he said. “We know violence breeds violence. Blood will lead to blood. However, Mrs Shearer agreed with the president that knife crime was out of control and hospitals and police were bearing the brunt of the crisis.“Our wards in our hospitals are not just seeing two or three stabbings a night. They are seeing many, many more. It is so out of hand.”Lynne Booker, who son Terry, 19, was stabbed to death in 2000, said she disagreed with the Mr Trump’s suggestion that guns could be part of the solution to the menace of knife crime.”We are trying to get dangerous weapons off the streets, not put more on with guns,” she said. Patrick Green, chief executive of The Ben Kinsella Trust, an organisation set up to tackle knife crime after schoolboy Ben Kinsella was murdered in 2008, said the president’s suggestion that escalating the weaponry would help tackle knife crime was “absurd”. “We have enough of a problem with knife crime,” she said. “We don’t need a new problem with gun crime. That’s the last thing we need. We have got enough nutcases running around with knives. Can you imagine what it would be like if they had guns?“We must not go down that route otherwise we are heading for even more of a disaster.” Ben Kinsella was stabbed to death in 2008Credit:PA The backlash continued as parents of children murdered on UK condemned the American President for implying that the right to bear arms could tackle gang violence.Bhupinder Iffat Rizvi, whose 20 year old daughter, Sabina, was shot dead in Kent in 2003 after being caught up in a dispute about a car, said she was “horrified and offended” by Mr Trump’s comments.“I found his speech very, very offensive,” she said. “Since he made it I’ve had calls from other mother and fathers affected by knife and gun crime.“Mr Trump may be a businessman, and the US does see guns as big business and money is important to them, but we are mothers and have lost our children to violence.“Is he really suggesting we should legalise guns? I couldn’t believe it. Is he really saying people should pick up a gun and go and shoot someone they are in dispute with, and they can try to shoot you back?“He needs to look at his own hometowns where young people are standing up against gun ownership. They don’t want to be put in a situation where they are being shot at in schools.” “Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair.” Jay Whiston, from Clacton, who was stabbed at a party, believed to have got out of control after being advertised on FacebookCredit:PA Scotland Yard has launched 55 investigations into suspected murders in 2018. At least 35 of of those victims were stabbed to death. 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. Caroline Shearer, from Essex who set up Only Cowards Carry after her son Jay Whiston, 17, was murdered at a Colchester house party in September 2012, said that the last thing Britain needed was to follow America’s example where “nutcases” carry guns. “The president in my opinion has missed the point in what we are trying to do in the UK. We need to tackle knife crime by stopping young people carrying knives in the first place.”Therefore if you go around with a gun ready to shoot someone you believe is about to do you harm you will only increase the crime rate. The crime and murder rate in the US speak for themselves.“We need to go in completely the opposite direction. We know the answer to London’s knife crime problem is to stop young people carrying knives in the first place. If we do that then everything else falls into place. There will be less demand on hospitals. The police will be under less pressure. That’s the critical first step.”Mr Trump spoke to Theresa May by telephone on Saturday but the pair did not discuss his knife crime comments.In a statement the White House said they had discussed a range of issues including trade, the upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the Iran nuclear deal.The statement added: “Both leaders reiterated they are looking forward to the President’s visit to the United Kingdom in July.”
A three-year-old boy targeted in an acid attack has been put under police protection along with his mother after the arrest of four men for an “unspeakable crime” caught on camera.The boy suffered burns to his face and arms after a substance – described as a “pungent pink chemical” – was thrown or sprayed on him in a home discount store in Worcester while he sat in a buggy pushed by his mother.Sources have told The Telegraph that police believe the boy was targeted on Saturday at the Home Bargains store as part of a wider community dispute. Police have refused to discuss any motive for the attack on the child but insisted it was not related to a march by the English Defence League, a far-Right, anti-Islamic organisation, held in Worcester at the same time. One theory for the assault is that the mother and child had recently moved to Worcester and that the attacker, or attackers, followed her there. A 39-year-old man was arrested in Wolverhampton on Sunday and three men, aged 22, 25 and 26 were detained on Monday in an early morning raid at a house in Walthamstow in east London. All four are being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. A West Mercia Police source said: “The mother fears for her safety and wellbeing and that of her little boy. This is an unspeakable crime.“Police also fear for the safety of the mother and child and they’ve been temporarily moved away from their home while our investigation continues. They are under police protection. They are safe but still in a state of shock by what happened.”The child suffered serious burns but was discharged from hospital on Monday. A well-placed source said: “It would appear to be an issue within a community rather than linked to some of the wilder theories going around. I understand the woman and child only moved to Worcester recently.” Police conduct a search of the Worcester retail park Home Bargains store in Worcester where the attack took place on SaturdayCredit:James Ward/Caters News The officer said: “Our thoughts are with the little boy and his family at this time and we are absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of this incident. 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. He went on: “The family are coming to terms with something that is quite shocking. It’s a difficult time for them and we need to make sure that while we work through the investigation they are safe and secure and are allowed to deal with the issues that they face.“What we will do is work to make people understand that this is not the way to resolve issues and disputes in communities.”The attack was caught on CCTV in the store but police said that would not be made public at this stage. But the footage is alleged to suggest it could have been a deliberate act against the little boy.The substance was either an acid of alkali but strong enough to cause burns. A paramedic who treated the three-year-old boy described the liquid as a pungent pink chemical. “There is still work to do and we are keeping an open mind as to the circumstances of the incident.”But Chief Supt Travis added: “There is nothing to suggest that this incident is in anyway motivated by race or anything to do with the EDL protest that took place in Worcester this weekend.“I think it’s a natural question people would ask but we’re really, really confident that they’re not connected.” Police said they were still seeking a motive but sources said the child had acid hurled in his faceWitnesses described seeing the boy’s distraught mother in tears and screaming: “My baby, my baby, what have they done to my baby?”West Mercia Police insisted on Monday they were “keeping an open mind” over the motive. But Chief Superintendent Mark Travis suggested it was a result of a “dispute in communities”. Nick Carson, of West Midlands Ambulance Service, told the BBC: “It’s horrific, absolutely horrific. We had no inkling or reason to suspect that it was an acid attack, we just thought that maybe he’d come into contact with some sort of chemical.“But to find out that afterwards that that was the case, it’s shocking. The fluid that I saw was pink in colour. It had quite a strong smell, no bleach or acidy type smell but it was an astringent kind of smell. It just smelt like a chemical really.”Beth Sidhu, 21, a shop worker on her lunch break when the attack happened at about 2.15pm on Saturday, said: “I was outside getting some lunch and fresh air in the car park when I heard a kid screaming and suddenly there was all this commotion.“Customers were being ordered out of the shop and then police and fire services arrived at the scene.“No one knew what was going on and it was quite scary. The place was swarming with police, they were looking under all the cars and a huge fire engine was blocking the entrance not allowing anyone out.”
E-cigarette users should be allowed to vape in public places, such as in offices, buses and trains, a controversial report by MPs has recommended.The Science and Technology Committee said that forcing vapers into the smoking shelters could undermine their efforts to quit and called for a ‘liberalisation on restrictions’ which would necessitate ‘non-vapers having to accommodate vapers.’MPs also said regulations should be relaxed to allow licensing, prescribing and advertising of e-cigarettes to promoted their health benefits.Committee chair Norman Lamb MP, said: “E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this and businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same. There is no public health rationale for doing so.”However the inquiry and report was widely criticised for taking oral evidence predominantly from vaping lobbyists, big tobacco and pro e-cigarette supporters, while seemingly ignoring dozens of letters from experts cautioning about the health impacts. Professor David Thickett, of the Institute for Inflammation and Ageing, at the University of Birmingham, who earlier this week published research showing that vaping may damage the immune system and trigger lung disease said clear evidence of harm was emerging.“This is a very controversial report and it does seem to downplay the potential for harm to long term vaping of nicotine,” he said.“There is mounting evidence at least in the lung that much of the potential damage is driven by the nicotine.“I think we have the data to suggest that long term vaping may cause inflammatory lung disease such as cold because at least in the lung it is driven by nicotine inhalation”. Scientists and health officials across the world are currently divided over the safety of e-cigarettes. Public Health England (PHE) continues to urge smokers to switch to vaping, claiming they are around 95 per cent safer than tobacco. Simon Capewell, Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool said there was mounting evidence suggested the public were at risk from passive vaping.“Vaping in public spaces like offices, pubs and cafes is a bad thing because bystanders, adults & children, are at risk from inhaling the toxins and it undermines the hard-won victory to legislate for smoke-free public space.“Big Tobacco companies will be thrilled by this report. They are using e-cigarettes as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to normalise the act of smoking, and to undermine decades of progress in Tobacco Control.” Prof Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “Those involved in tobacco control outside England will be amazed at these conclusions although not entirely surprised as the committee took oral evidence almost entirely from individuals who are strong supporters of e-cigarettes.“Once again it will show that England is out of step with the rest of the world. It is especially astonishing that the 95% safer figure is used, given that it has no credibility internationally. “It is equally astonishing to see the claim that they are a proven smoking aid given the recent publication of a large controlled trial in the New England Journal of Medicine showing no effect. Moreover, there is now lots of evidence from observational studies that they reduce quitting.” A controversial report has said that business and public transport companies must reconsider banning vapers Credit:Yui Mok According to the Office For National Statistics, there are around 2.8 million regular vapers in Britain.However, the US Surgeon General has warned that e-cigarettes leave young people at risk of nicotine addiction, brain development problems and mood disorders, while the World Health Organisation has said it is concerned that heating e-fluid can lead to the ‘formation of toxicants.’ There are nearly three million vapers in Britain but the long term health impacts are still unknownCredit:Bloomberg News Timothy Fadek Yet in written evidence to the committee experts from Committee on Toxicity, Chemicals and Food, Nice, Ash Scotland, The University of Liverpool, London Southbank University, The University of East London, The University of Glasgow, The Royal Society of Public Health, the British Heart Foundation and British Lung Foundation, as well as individual doctors, all warned that it was too soon to tell the long term health effects of vaping. 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.
John Higgs, the treasurer of the Trust, said he was “furious” at the cancellation.”It’s an absolutely nonsensical decision,” he said, adding that the committee had been planning the event for over a year and he had been forced to tell almost 100 choir members that it would no longer be going ahead with less than a month’s notice. A spokesman for the cathedral denied the allegations of sabotage and said: “The Cathedral regrets that sales of tickets for the commemoration of the Commonwealth contribution to World War I, Forward Together, have been disappointing. “Because of this, and despite generous sponsorship, the costs of running the event would not have been covered. With great reluctance the decision was therefore taken to cancel what would have been a memorable event.”We hope that the many other commemorative events being held at the Cathedral, within Peterborough, and around the diocese will offer the opportunity for everyone properly to recognise the sacrifices of all who fought in this tragic war.”A page on the cathedral’s website promises refunds for anyone who has bought tickets or sponsored the event. A row has broken out over an armistice service at Peterborough cathedral as a senior cleric has been accused of sabotaging a First World War Commonwealth ceremony.Trustees at the Peterborough Cathedral Trust accused former acting Dean Tim Alban Jones of deliberately failing to promote the October 6 event, which has now been cancelled, because – it’s claimed – he did not approve of its military flavour. Jimmy James, the secretary of the trust, said that Mr Alban Jones had pressured the organisers to change the emphasis from celebrating the Commonwealth’s contribution to victory in the First World War to commemorating the armistice. The cathedral said the event had been cancelled because of “disappointing” ticket sales and said the cost of running the event would not have been covered. Mr James admitted that as of Friday less than 100 tickets had been sold, of the 750 that would be needed to fill the cathedral, but blamed Mr Alban Jones, now vice dean of the cathedral, for failing to promote it properly. He said advertising for the event had been delayed by two months and that events had been scheduled for shortly before and after the evening, and promoted before the Trust’s event, which Mr James believed damaged ticket sales.Mr James believes that Mr Jones persuaded the rest of the clergy that “we shouldn’t be celebrating the victory, we should just be commemorating the participation in the war” adding “I think he’s got a problem with all of that, I think, in common with a lot of Church of England clergy.”Asked if he believed the event was deliberately sabotaged, he said: “I’d get pretty close to that, yes, very close indeed.”Prominent figures including the High Commissioners from Australia and Canada were slated to appear at the event, which was supposed to feature “military music from around the Commonwealth” and songs from the First World War. Trustees said it would have raised £15,000 for the cathedral, which has been beset by financial problems in recent years. A cashflow crisis in 2016 meant that the cathedral had to be bailed out with a loan from the church commissioners, after it was revealed that staff were in danger of not being paid. Mr Alban Jones, who is also chaplain to the bishop of Peterborough, was acting dean between October last year and January this year, when current Dean Chris Dalliston took over. 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.
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. “We believe this to be a terrorist act, we believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans, our assessment at this time is that the new IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry.”Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The death of Lyra McKee in last night’s suspected terrorist incident in Londonderry is shocking and truly senseless. Lyra McKee, a 29-year-old journalist, was killed in Londonderry last night, police confirmed Seamus Dooley, of the National Union of Journalists, said the organisation was “shocked by (the) killing of a journalist of courage, style and integrity”. “She was a journalist who died doing her job with great courage.”Ms McKee tweeted about the “absolute madness” in Londonderry in the hours before she was shot dead. She was said to be covering the unrest as violence flared in the city when masked attackers appeared to throw petrol bombs, fireworks and other debris at police Land Rovers.The journalist rose to prominence in 2014 after a blog post called “Letter to my 14-year-old self” in which she spoke about the struggle of growing up gay in Belfast.In the five years since, her letter was turned into a short film, she became a published author with Angels With Blue Faces, and had recently signed a two-book deal with Faber & Faber, as well as appearing in domestic and international publications.Named as one of the “30 under 30 in media” by Forbes Magazine in 2016, Ms McKee, who worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry, was cited for her passion of “digging into topics that others don’t care about”. The police force earlier tweeted: “Police are appealing for calm after a number of shots have been fired and petrol bombs thrown in the Creggan area of Derry.” Ms McKee was said to be reporting on unrest in Londonderry at the time “A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019,” she said.”No one wants to go back. My thoughts are also with the brave officers who stood in defence of their community.”Gary Middleton, a DUP former deputy mayor of Derry City Council and current Member of the Legislative Assembly, tweeted: “Disgraceful scenes of violence in the Creggan estate tonight.”PSNI and members of the public being put in danger by unrepresentative thugs intent on destroying communities.” “My deepest condolences go to her family, friends and colleagues. Armed police at the scene of unrest in Creggan, LondonderryCredit:PA Police had cordoned off the Fanad Drive area of Creggan as violence left a van and car burnt out in the middle of a road.Mark H Durkan, SDLP MLA for Foyle, said he was “heartbroken and angry” by the killing, which is being blamed on dissident Republicans.”Just leaving Creggan, heartbroken and angry at the senseless loss of a young life,” he tweeted.”Violence only creates victims, that’s all it ever has done. The thoughts and prayers of our city are with the young woman’s family and friends, may she rest in peace.” Serious rioting now in Creggan, #Derry dozens of petrol bombs have been thrown at police vehicles in Fanad Drive pic.twitter.com/UmztUc0750— Leona O’Neill (@LeonaONeill1) April 18, 2019 A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at policeCredit:PA The unrest comes ahead of the Easter weekend where republicans mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a time when dissidents are traditionally active.Arlene Foster, Democratic Unionist Party leader, called the killing “a senseless act”. Heavilly armed police guard a crime scene during unrest in the Creggan area of LondonderryCredit:PA Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, LondonderryCredit:PA Robin Swann, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, said news of the death was “devastating”.He tweeted: “A precious life lost, we can’t go back to this nor can we allow others to drag us back.” Leona O’Neill, a local journalist, said she was at the scene of the killing.Writing on Twitter, she said: “I was standing beside this young woman when she fell beside a police Land Rover tonight in Creggan £Derry.”I called an ambulance for her but police put her in the back of their vehicle and rushed her to hospital where she died. Just 29 years old. Sick to my stomach tonight.” A journalist murdered in Northern Ireland last night has been named as 29-year-old Lyra McKee, as police said they suspected the New IRA of carrying out the attack.The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton confirmed Ms McKee was the victim after shots were fired in Londonderry, with police treating her death as a “terrorist act”. It was suspected “violent dissident republicans” were behind the attack, which police said was most likely perpetrated by the New IRA.Speaking at a press conference this morning, Mr Hamilton said: “Unfortunately, at 11pm last night, a gunman appeared and fired a number of shots towards police and a young woman, Lyra McKee, 29 years old, was wounded,” she said.”She was taken away in a police landrover to Altnagelvin Hospital but unfortunately she has died there. We have now launched a murder inquiry here in the city.