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Cowboys’ Dak Prescott focused on humility after humiliation of Falcons: ‘We won’t get overconfident again’

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ARLINGTON, Texas — “There is no blueprint.” At least, that’s what cornerback Trevon Diggs wanted to make sure the league understood following the Dallas Cowboys‘ loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 9, when asked if the secret was out on how to defeat his team. That sentiment was echoed loudly by quarterback Dak Prescott, who made it clear it wasn’t what the Broncos did to win as much as it was what the Cowboys did to lose, and everyone in a white and blue jersey proved both Diggs and Prescott correct when the Atlanta Falcons strolled into AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

Prescott and the Cowboys dismembered the Falcons with surgical precision pristine enough to make Dexter blush, using an variety of weapons in all three phases to hand Atlanta one of its worst losses in franchise history — a 43-3 drubbing that could’ve been much worse if Dallas played perfect football (believe it or not, but they did leave points on the board, a nod to just how dangerous they can be when focused).

“Obviously, we wanted it to come fast, but I knew there was a lot of work to do throughout the week,” said Prescott in his post-game press conference. “It was important to take it day by day and focus on getting better. I wanted to use every day of the week to make sure I got better at my footwork and all the things I thought I needed to make sure I didn’t repeat the performance from last week, and I’m sure a lot of other guys took accountability for that loss last week wanted to do the same. 

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“As a team we focused in, we had a great week of practice and preparation and were able to come out and complement each other in all three phases of the game this week.” 

So, about that supposed blueprint? Prescott says the Falcons “tried it” — i.e., attempted to emulate the Broncos — to open up the game, but it didn’t end how they thought it would.

“I think, as I said last week, the reason I wanted it is because we didn’t play a good game,” he said. “If [other teams] feel like that was the recipe for success against us, then good luck to them.”

Don’t count on the Cowboys ever smelling the cheese again, though. The Broncos might’ve done them a favor, in that regard, while simultaneously making things harder for the Falcons and every other opponent on the Cowboys schedule going forward.

“We’re not going to get overconfident again,” said Prescott. “That’s what a game like last week does for you. It leaves that taste in your mouth and keeps you humble. … Last week just wasn’t us and everybody in the locker room knows that and it left a bad taste in our mouth. 

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“I think it was a taste that we needed. As I said, to understand how tough this game is, but tonight just showed that when we focus in, we take it one play at a time. When our heart and minds are where our feet are, we’re capable of doing to some great things. So, we’ve just got to continue to focus on that and take it play by play, game by game and we’ll continue to get better and hopefully have a lot more performances like this.”

Needless to say, head coach Mike McCarthy was pleased as well.

“Clearly, it was the response we were looking for,” he said. “I think from Monday the players were very accountable, went about it just the way you would expect them too. Everybody contributed today. Excellent team win. 

“We had a ton of production and we were pretty much dominate there in the first half. It’s great to see the locker room the way it is right now. But that’s what you’re looking for — preparation was excellent and our guys did a great job applying it to today, and played with great emotion, won the turnover differential, and did a lot of good things.”

It was such an intense set of practices last week, filled with fury and focus by players and coaches alike, that McCarthy decided to break the tension with a fun exercise to balance things out. That anger served the Cowboys very well against the Falcons, additionally motivated to win the game for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who received a game ball for the masterful way he called the game, holding Matt Ryan to only 117 yards passing with two interceptions and no touchdowns — along with a third interception when Josh Rosen entered the game after the Falcons waved the white flag.

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The Cowboys finished with two sacks to complement those three interceptions and cornerback Anthony Brown, who had an amazing PBU-turned-INT himself, couldn’t be more impressed with how the defense performed; and especially in the wake of losing one of the team’s best pass rushers in Randy Gregory to injured reserve.

“That just felt amazing,” said Brown. “It’s the first time that happened since I’ve been here. That felt amazing. That’s what we need to do every week. 

“You see how it affects the team.”

The domination came on offense, defense and by way of a blocked punt from Dorance Armstrong that turned into a recovery for a touchdown by rookie fifth-round pick Nahshon Wright, with a list of Cowboys highlights long enough to reach the moon and then wrap around it several times. And rumor has it the moon is made of cheese, which is big, if true, but rest assured Prescott and the Cowboys won’t be trying to eat it.

“I mean, we’ve got to get better,” Prescott added. ‘There’s a lot of work to do. That’s got to be our mindset and our focus is just each and every week finding a way to get better, being the best version of ourselves, best offense, best defense, playing complementary football, and we can keep going. 

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“We can get so much better.”





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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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