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Why college football's must-see attraction is a punter from San Diego State – ESPN

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San Diego State punter Matt Araiza kicks it from the end zone and pins Air Force inside its own 20 with a huge 81-yard punt. (0:32)
You’re a linebacker ready to rush the opposing kicker to try to block his field goal. You break through, but not fast enough; the kick is good and you end up barging into the holder instead. Suddenly, the kicker is in your face, pointing his finger at you, shouting at you. He’s not going to let you get away with taking a shot at his holder. Not this kicker.
Maybe you’re a wide receiver looking to return a punt. You’re standing near your own 35-yard line because the ball is being snapped inside the opposite 10-yard line. Surely, the punt won’t go more than 70 yards, you think. But the ball explodes off the kicker’s leg and you find yourself taking steps back, and back, and further back. The ball hits the ground and ends up landing inside your own 20-yard line. The field has been flipped.
Or perhaps you’re a teammate prepping for a workout. You walk into the weight room, ready to do some heavy squats, only to see the kicker set up on a nearby rack, squatting the same weight you’re about to contend with — and doing it with ease. You think to yourself: This is not a normal kicker.
Matt Araiza is not your typical kicker. His left leg is a Swiss Army knife that booms punts, nails field goals and crushes kickoffs. His brain processes all of it as part-golf swing, part-soccer shot and part-math equation. His passion is one that coaches and teammates, past and present, rave about. It’s what often makes him one of the most competitive players on the field, ready to dish out tackles as easily as trash talk, and what prompts him to do everything in his power to make sure people respect him and his fellow specialists.
This season, Araiza has turned into a kicking phenomenon and an offensive weapon for the defensively inclined 8-1 San Diego State Aztecs. He has multiple 50-yard field goals and has an 83% touchback rate (top-10 in the country with at least 40 kickoffs). He has two punts of over 80 yards, six punts over 70 yards, an NCAA-record 15 punts over 60 yards and averages 363 punting yards per game and just over 52 yards per punt (both tops in the nation). He is on pace to break the record for most punting yards in a season and well on his way to breaking the records for most yards per punt, too. It’s those punts that often look like doctored videos that have turned Araiza into a vessel for viral videos.
“All of that stuff is crazy to me. I didn’t expect to be getting this much attention for kicking,” Araiza told ESPN last week. “But if I can be a little piece of a change in the narrative about what everyone thinks a kicker and punter is, I’ll be happy with that.”
Araiza’s path to kicking glory and social media fame didn’t happen overnight, but it was just a few months ago that he found himself struggling. He thought he might kick his way out of his starting role unless he buckled down and fixed things. He’s done that and then some.
“I knew the talent and leg strength were there,” said Tyler Holcomb, who was Araiza’s holder for three seasons at Rancho Bernardo High. “And he worked hard, but I don’t know if you could ever expect anyone to be the best punter in the country.”
The soccer fields at North County Park in Poway, Calif., just 25 miles north of downtown San Diego is where the left-footed, 5-year-old Araiza first learned that leg strength was not as important as technique, hand-eye coordination and repetition. There, his dad Rico, who was born in Mexico, would have him go through soccer drills like one-touch passes and shots from different angles and positions over and over again with both legs. These days, Araiza can hit up to a 48-yarder with his off leg.
“I do remember everyone was always impressed by how far I could kick a ball for my age,” Araiza said. “I was always probably a year or two ahead.”
Growing up, football seemed violent to Araiza. He was interested in going pro in soccer, but when he arrived in high school, he had already been kicking footballs for fun at local parks and was considering giving football a shot. His dad pushed him, his mom relented and his teammates relayed the message to the football coaches: There’s a soccer player who wants to kick.
It didn’t take long for the coaches to realize they had something special in the athlete who was as fast and big as anyone on the team at the time. At just 14 years old, Araiza was hitting field goals from beyond 40 yards. He had always had a strong leg, but he never had a scale to measure it until he started kicking on a football field.
“He didn’t seem to have to overswing and the ball just kind of exploded off his foot,” Araiza’s high school coach Tristan McCoy said. “It just looked effortless with him.”
San Diego State special teams coach Doug Deakin first watched Araiza as a high school prospect on tape while he was an operations assistant at SDSU. He was impressed, and the Aztecs didn’t hesitate in offering Araiza a scholarship. But nothing could have prepared Deakin for the sound Araiza’s foot made as it struck the ball. As Araiza arrived on campus and began punting for 60 yards or more as a freshman, Deakin was captivated by the sound; he still is. When Araiza kicks a ball, you can almost hear how far it’ll go.
“The ball just sounds different coming off his foot,” Deakin said. “It immediately climbs.”
Both McCoy and Araiza’s current coach, Brady Hoke, mentioned how having Araiza immediately changed how they approach offensive drives, especially in fourth-down situations, knowing Araiza could and likely would flip the field.
“You’re thinking ahead a bit, you know what kind of weapon we have,” Hoke said. “Really, I just get excited to watch him go out there and do his thing.”
As McCoy points out, people didn’t come to see Araiza kick in high school, but by the time the game was over, they couldn’t help but comment on his talent. Soon, the joke at Rancho Bernardo was that they didn’t need to practice kickoff coverage because Araiza was an automatic touchback machine.
Getting Araiza to explain how he has become an elite kicker requires a bit less romanticism and some more context. First, you have to understand that he’s a computer science major who knows he can grasp concepts better if they’re delivered in a quantitative fashion. If there was a formula to perfect kicking, Araiza is well on his way to defining it.
“From the time the snap moves to when I kick the ball, it needs to be under 2.1 seconds,” Araiza said. “And the snap takes around 0.7. So that leaves me with like 1.4, 1.3 seconds to work with.”
To hear him talk about kicking now, you can see how obsessive Araiza is about every detail — from how many steps he takes into the ball to the way he angles his body forward. Araiza says when he arrived at SDSU he was stagnant, catching the ball with both feet planted. Now, he’s stepping into it more and gathering more momentum.
“He has very relaxed steps and uses a lot of hip rotation through his swing on both punts and field goals,” said Filip Filipović, a former NFL kicker who now runs a kicking clinic that features multiple NFL kickers as alumni. “There is always a fine line with hip rotation. More hip rotation equals more power, but less consistency … Overall, he looks like a very well-rounded athlete with quick leg snap and solid kicking technique.”
As Araiza puts it, a kicker’s approach is determined not just by his leg strength but by his height and weight. He’s identified the NFL kicker that most closely resembles him in both (the Patriots’ Jake Bailey) and studied him, among others.
The second thing you have to understand about Araiza is that he’s a golfer. For as much as he is a logical thinker driven by mathematical concepts, he also recognizes there’s an art to kicking. He’s adopted a willingness to try things, to change things up and even accept short-term regression as part of a necessary growth. Plus, Araiza knows as well as anyone that you can only prepare so much. If you suddenly get a bad snap, logic goes out the window and instinct kicks in.
“The analogy in golf is like, you have to be able to find your hands in your backswing,” Araiza said. “That coordination can save people and for me, that coordination and athleticism can save me when I should be hitting a bad ball. I don’t have to swing too hard because your foot finds the ball.”
The third thing you have to understand about Araiza is that despite his talent, he’s had to put the work in. Just a few months ago, he was coming off a season where, in his own words, he wasn’t ready to handle all three facets of kicking and so his field goal kicking suffered. The reality that he might not actually be able to further his kicking career beyond college spooked him, so he responded.
“I worked harder than I ever have in my life at anything this offseason,” Araiza said.
He didn’t overwork his leg or add more kicking to his routines, but he made sure every kick mattered.
“I remember texting my dad and telling him that I want this more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life,” Araiza said. “And I think that mentality and that drive helped me a lot.”
Through it all, Araiza has realized that, even if he is most comfortable approaching kicking as a science, oftentimes, it comes down to emotion.
Don’t tell Araiza to stay calm.
His fire is part of the package, even if it has gotten him red cards and kicked out of games before. Coaches and teammates can recall when the biggest concern they had was not whether Araiza’s field goal would go through the uprights, but rather whether he’d get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after getting into a defender’s face if he got close to his leg. Or when he’d get so frustrated with a miss he’d throw the ball in anger. Holcomb recalls a time during a high school playoff game where he was holding for Araiza and a linebacker crushed him on his blind side. Araiza immediately charged at the linebacker and got in his face for blindsiding Holcomb and the two had to be separated.
“It was never out of control or a bad sport,” McCoy said. “It was just he was so into the game and wanted to succeed and wanted to win so badly that you know, sometimes he lost his composure.”
Araiza remembers being told by coaches in the past that he couldn’t react to the swings of a game like a normal player. He needed to remain calm in case he had to be called upon in a high pressure situation. This year, though, he’s realized that this does not work for him. His investment in the game and his competitive nature makes him better suited to perform when he is engaged with the ups and down of a game.
“I’ve just let my emotions show after punts or field goals, or tackles I’ve made,” Araiza said. “I think that helps motivate me and helps me perform better.”
His coaches learned that, too. Besides giving him a routine to follow in practice, they made sure they put him in high-pressure situations with stakes. At SDSU, Araiza had to compete with and follow John Baron, who held the single season field goal record until Araiza broke it as a redshirt freshman in 2019 (22 made), and all-conference punter Brandon Heicklen. Both McCoy and Deakin turned Araiza’s kicking into the equivalent of a last-second basketball shot as well as a team punishment, depending on whether Araiza could hit it.
“When we do field goals, it’s in front of the whole team,” Deakin said. “There’s generally consequences, whether it’s another gasser for the team if he doesn’t make it or just the personal pressure of not wanting to let his teammates down in front of them.”
Being considered part of the team is paramount to Araiza. He once told Deakin that if he overheard any other player bad-mouthing a specialist, whether a holder or kicker, to let him know and he’d confront them. Of course, everything about the way Araiza carries himself translates into respect. When the team runs, he runs. When the team lifts, he lifts. Hoke compares him to former Michigan kicker Jay Feely, who was always looking to make a tackle after a kick. It’s striking to see how Araiza has gone from viewing football as a violent sport he watched from afar to his own playground.
“I think he’s rewriting the way people think about the specialist position,” Deakin said.
Even on the rare occasions when he makes a mistake, Araiza still finds a way to make an impression. Deakin remembers a 2019 game against UCLA where Araiza missed the sweet spot on a kickoff and squibbed a ball that led to a big Bruins return. It was Araiza who tracked down the returner and tackled him, but by the time he returned to the SDSU sidelines, Araiza was beside himself in frustration about the missed kick. Deakin fed him a compliment, “Hey, nice hit.”
Araiza shot back. “Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

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Different Types of Online Puzzle Games You Ought to Know – Programming Insider

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January 24, 2022, 7:34 am
Puzzle games have gained so much popularity over the past couple of years. The rise in the variety of these online games has led to so many gamers spending their time playing.
It’s not every day that you want to play easy puzzle games. Sometimes you want to challenge your mind and capabilities. You want to find games that you can enjoy and past time. Free sudoku puzzle games are a reliable bet if you’re looking to play enjoyable games. 
Challenge yourself with varying types of sudoku games
Did you know that there’s more to sudoku puzzle games than just your ordinary puzzles in the newspapers? Different configurations, images, colors, and numbers make for puzzles that challenge you more than your typical puzzle games. 
Types of online sudoku puzzle games to consider
If you’re wondering, there are varying types of sudoku types to consider. And they range from extremely difficult to easy ones. These include:
Nonogram is an addictive picture cross and comes with a vast collection of griddlers. 
It is an easy-to-play number puzzle. It requires you to use logic to reveal pixel art pictures.
The game has a clean design and has features that make the game exciting. You can enjoy solving nonogram puzzles anywhere, anytime.
Nonogram puzzles keep you active. You can choose your difficulty level and enjoy building a unique nonogram collection.
If you’re looking for a game that will help you break from your daily routine, nonograms are for you. You can enjoy them on your device, whether on a tablet or phone. 
Some of the best features of nonogram puzzles include:
Color by number games will help melt your stress away and have fun. It gives you leeway to create your pixel art as you relax.
Pixel art coloring games are loved and enjoyed by players worldwide. You can select a wide range of fascinating artworks and colors by number as you have fun.
Whether you love coloring by number games to relax or reduce stress, you’ll love these painting games!
Reasons you’ve got to love pixel art coloring games
Jigsaw puzzles are addictive and effortless to play. They allow you to relax, come down and have fun. You can enjoy hours of putting puzzles together.
These puzzles are enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. They help you pass time and enjoy yourself.
Jigsaw puzzles include many beautiful free images of varying difficulty levels. You can choose what you prefer depending on your expert level.
You also get exclusive content coins when you complete a puzzle, and you can spend the same on exclusive puzzles and collections.
The mystery puzzles challenge you to reveal what is hidden in a picture. And you can enjoy an updated gallery so that you will never run out of puzzles to play.
You also enjoy helpful tips that will help you match the puzzle pieces and custom backgrounds that let you choose your preferred appearance as you play.
If you’re looking to make your days relaxing, entertaining, and fun, try solving a jigsaw puzzle.
Blockudoku is a combination of sudoku and block puzzle games. As the name suggests, it is unique yet fun and challenging at the same time.
All you have to do with the game is to complete cubes and lines to get them removed. And ensure that you keep your board clean and beat your high score. The game allows you to test your IQ and think outside the box. 
Some of the features of this game include:
Final thoughts
Play free sudoku puzzle games on your favorite devices! The best part is that you can challenge yourself anywhere, any time. Besides, you can enjoy the game on the go and experience unlimited fun all day.
 
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Obsessed with Wordle? Here are 10 similar games to play – USA TODAY

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— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
A few weeks ago, several of my friends started posting strange tweets that featured a grid of randomly colored blocks. Across the top of the tweet, it always said “Wordle” followed by several numbers. Eventually, curiosity got the best of me, and that’s how I discovered Wordle—the daily word puzzle that’s skyrocketed into popularity over the last few months. 
If you’re not familiar with it, the concept is simple: You get six chances to guess the day’s five-letter word. After every guess, each letter you input is highlighted in a certain color. Gray means the letter isn’t in the puzzle word, yellow means the color is in the word but not in that spot and green means you put the right letter in the right spot. There’s a new puzzle available every day, and while the idea is basic, the game is strangely addicting.
The only real downside of Wordle is that you can only play once per day, so if you’re craving more brain-busting word puzzles, here are 10 similar word games that will hold you over until tomorrow, including IRL games like Boggle and Bananagrams.
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If you thought to yourself, “Hm, Byrdle sounds just like Wordle,” that’s because it’s the exact same game. Yup, this self-proclaimed parody works exactly the same way as the original, giving you six attempts to guess the five-letter word of the day. 
There are several other Wordle knock-offs, as well. For instance, there’s also Hello Wordl, which has the same concept but lets you choose how many letters the word has, ranging from four to 11. Additionally, you can play Hello Wordl as much as you want—there’s no daily limit.
If you enjoy Scrabble but wish it was a little bit faster, Bananagrams is the perfect alternative. In this award-winning game, each person races to create their own word grid using all their tiles. Once someone uses all their letters, they shout out “Peel!” and everyone is forced to take a new tile. The game continues like this until there are no tiles left, and the person who uses all their letters successfully is the winner. Bananagrams can be played with one to eight players, and it’s incredibly entertaining for all ages. 
Get Bananagrams from Amazon for $14.99
As you become an anagram expert, be sure to try your hand Typeshift, a free word puzzle app. The concept is fairly unique: There are several columns of letters that you can shift up and down to create words in the central row. The goal is to use every letter in every column at least once, and there’s one puzzle available each day. Plus, the puzzles get progressively harder throughout the week.
Download Typeshift from the App Store
This one is a major throwback from my childhood—my brother and I used to play Boggle at our grandparent’s house. It’s a classic word search game that you can play alone or with a group. Basically, there are 16 letter cubes inside the base, and after shaking it up, you have 90 seconds to create as many words as you can using face-up letters on the grid. At the end of the round, you tally up your scores, but watch out—if two or more players find the same word, that word doesn’t count.
There are a few variations of Boggle available, as well, including Big Boggle and Super Big Boggle, both of which feature more letter cubes.
Get Boggle from Amazon for $11.97
There are plenty of apps that offer word games to play on your phone, and Wordscapes is a popular one. It’s essentially a hybrid between a crossword puzzle and an anagram—you get a number of random letters, and you have to create words to fill in the crossword puzzle spaces. Wordscapes is free to play, and there are more than 6,000 puzzles to work through, so it’s sure to keep you busy for a while.
Download Wordscapes from the App Store
Play Four is like a mini crossword puzzle that you complete in a four-by-four grid. There are eight different words you have to guess—four horizontal and four vertical—and you’re given a clue for each word. You’re scored on how many moves and how much time it takes you to finish the puzzle, and there are both regular and expert modes (the former highlights wrong letters on your grid). Similar to Wordle, there’s only one Play Four puzzle available per day. 
Play Play Four at Merriam-Webster
Dabble is a fun spelling game that you can play with the whole family—it supports two to four players ages 8 and up. Each player gets 20 tiles, and it’s a race to create five words using your letters. However, you have to make one two-letter word, one three-letter word, one four-letter word, one five-letter word and one six-letter word. If no one uses up all their letters in five minutes, players are allowed to swap tiles for new ones, and scoring works similarly to Scrabble, with each letter earning certain points.
Get Dabble from Amazon for $29.95
Kitty Letter, which comes from the creators of the popular card game Exploding Kittens, provides a competitive twist on a classic anagram game. In the free app, you go head to head with another player, trying to create words using your letters. Each word you make unleashes an army of cats to battle your opponent—bigger words give you more cats—and the first person to destroy the opposing player’s house wins.
Download Kitty Letter from the App Store
You can keep your family busy on the go with Word Spin, a classic game that’s over 25 years old. It comes with eight magnetic wheels, each of which has 10 letters on it, and the goal is to spin, switch and re-arrange your wheels to create words—the longer and more complex, the better! It can be played by one or two people, and it’s compact enough to play on a car bus, or plane.
Get Word Spin from Amazon for $17.99
Spelling Bee is another word game that you can play right in your web browser. Each puzzle contains seven letters arranged in a honeycomb shape, and you have to make words using them. It’s not that simple, though—each word has to have at least four letters and must include the center letter, which is highlighted in yellow. You can use letters more than once, and you get points for each word you find, earning you a rank somewhere between “beginner” and “genius.”
Play Spelling Bee
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How to turn on AMD's Smart Access Memory for faster gaming performance – PCWorld

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AMD’s Smart Access Memory allows you to combine a Radeon RX 6000 series GPU with a Ryzen processor to unlock even more gaming performance—dramatically so, in some cases.
Before we show you how to enable Smart Access memory, we’ll discuss the hardware requirements. Next, we’ll walk you through how to configure your BIOS to activate SAM. And lastly, we’ll show you how to confirm it’s working. Let’s get smart! (And be sure to check out our explainer on how Smart Access Memory and the Nvidia-equivalent Resizable BAR work).
As per the recommended hardware above, best results will come from the RX 6000 series GPUs and Ryzen 5000 series CPUs. AMD did add select 3000 series CPUs to the mix, but you’ll still need a 500 series motherboard. If you have an Nvidia GPU or Intel CPU, Nvidia has their own version of Resizable BAR support. We’ll update this article to reflect any future guidance on hardware compatibility.
Note: I ran a test on an AMD 5700XT, a previous generation Radeon GPU. Smart Access Memory did show as “enabled” in the Radeon Software settings, but no conclusion as to any performance gain yet. Your mileage may vary.
If you have all the right hardware, flipping on Smart Access Memory only takes a couple of minutes, though it requires delving into your motherboard BIOS. Here’s how to do that:
If you follow the simple steps above, Smart Access Memory will be activated. The most important steps are enabling “Above 4G Decoding” and “Re-Size BAR support.” You’ll also want to make sure CSM is disabled, which is generally the default setting.
By using the latest version of the AMD Radeon Software, we can now confirm that Smart Access Memory is activated. Browse over to the Performance tab and open the Tuning panel. On this page, you’ll find “Smart Access Memory.” Here you can enable or disable the setting. This will give you confirmation that your trip to the BIOS was indeed successful. Have fun playing around with the extra gaming performance!
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
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