Dont look now, but Counter Logic Gaming isnt done just yet.The defending champion of North America got off to a more than inadequate start to its possible three-peat as the team labored through the first half of the split. Just a few weeks ago, it was outside of the playoff picture looking in, but CLG are back in the top six and tied for the fifth-seed alongside slumping Team Envy (6-6) with a game above rookie club Apex Gaming (5-7) in seventh.I thought it would feel a lot better, said starting mid laner Choi Huhi Jae-hyun following CLGs 2-0 weekend to get back at .500 in the standings and back into a playoff spot. But I guess since we lost a game versus P1, we werent really that satisfied. Were still pretty happy we 2-0ed, and starting from this week, we knew the matches were really important because we want to get into the playoffs.A finalist of a major tournament only two months ago in Shanghai, China for the Mid-Season Invitational, CLG has recently experienced internal issues when transitioning to the new mid-centric meta. While rival Team SoloMid (12-0) has secured all the positive press this split with its flawless match run and extraordinary 24-3 map score, the defending champs are working hard to get over its slump to hopefully remind TSM which team beat it in the North American League Championship Finals the past two splits.We knew how to snowball the bottom lane and the top lane, Huhi remarked, detailing how the team successfully navigated the spring split and following MSI tournament. That was our play style before. As [the] meta shifted, we realized mid lane pressure is really important We lacked on that a lot because we always prioritized top or bottom, and now we are starting to talk a lot -- me, Xmithie, and Aphromoo -- in real life [and] in-game to get on the same page in order to have really solid mid control like the top tier teams.CLG and TSMs roles have reversed from last season. In the spring, it was CLG that enjoyed a smooth regular season and a first round bye into an eventual championship while TSM was the club struggling to get on the same page as the postseason approached. Fortunately for SoloMid, it snuck into the playoffs and made a spirited run to the finals against CLG before ultimately losing. Counter Logic, on the other hand, is faced with the same timer TSM was burdened with last split, less than two months away from the NA LCS Finals in Toronto.Past the trouble in the mid lane, Darshan Darshan Upadhyaha is going through an uncharacteristically poor split, and Trevor Stixxay Hayes is experiencing a sophomore slump with the shift of attention moving away from the AD carry position to the mid lane. Jake Xmithie Puchero has been a bright spot for the team with clutch objective steals and smart plays; however, if Counter Logic truly wants to make the World Championships in the fall, one or two players cant drag it there. CLG are only as good as its weakest link. Outpowered on paper when you look at the lineups from TSM and second-seed Immortals, its going to have to be the teams intellect and map play that brings it to the promise land, not brute strength.Before, whenever I watched [NA LCS], it was kind of rough. It was fun entertainment, Huhi said. [League of Legends Championship Korea] was really strict -- really organized teams whenever they played -- and NA LCS [fights] a lot, and thats how they win. But now, Ill say its changed a little bit, and it kind of looks like they care about the macro game and rotations. Also, they fought a lot still, so Ill say compared to other regions, we also have that advantage. Whenever the game [turns into] chaos, were more comfortable [in] it. Ill say NA LCS actually became a much stronger region that can be a Worlds contender.The best-of-three format has upped the performances of teams this split. Although viewership numbers have shrunk as the summer has heated up, the clubs are experiencing the benefits of playing more games. Instead of only playing 18 best-of-one games last split, teams are already well over that figure with a third of the season left to go. The new format has also given valuable time to teams like Counter Logic Gaming that need the extra offline practice to fortify the changes in strategy and lane priority. As a whole, for the first time since 2012 when South Korea was making its way into the scene, North America and its fans possess a cautious optimism as the World Champions draw closer.I dont go to Reddit at all, Huhi told me when I brought up the elephant in the room: the community backlash thats risen against him. Throughout CLGs slump, Huhis been the scapegoat, the player picked out as the perceived weak link due to the meta so heavily focused on his position. The important thing is my team encouraging me and back[ing] me up. Theyre always telling me Im really good and stuff like that. Ill say the criticism doesnt really get to me that much compared to other teams.He went on to explain that its fair if the community currently believes he cant be the mid lane carry ace CLG need to make a return trip to the NA LCS Finals. Huhi understands that his role has changed on the team, but even though hes currently not on the same level as TSMs S?ren Bjergsen Bjerg, its not as simple as being mechanically as good as him. Its a team effort from the support, jungle, and the side lane damage dealers to prop up the mid laner to help him succeed. As long as CLG can continue fixing its issues with the Triforce of Zaqueri Aphromoo Black, Xmithie, and Huhi -- showcased by Huhis Player of the Game nod in the teams win over Phoenix1 -- the back-to-back champions feel it can match up with anyone in North America today.Win or lose, it is never because of a single player for CLG. 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Young formally announced his retirement Friday after returning to Rangers Ballpark, his baseball home for all but the last of his 13 major league seasons.CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Robert Wright is permanently scarred from Miamis win over Duke last season .And he was on the winning side.Anyone familiar with Miamis game-ending kickoff return for a touchdown at Duke last season knows all about the eight laterals, the wild scene when Corn Elder reached the end zone, the lengthy review from the replay booth, the officiating mistakes and the Hurricanes wild celebratory reaction when they were declared winners.Turns out, there was so much more than what was seen on the field that night. With the Hurricanes set to host Duke on Saturday in the teams first meeting since that still-debated 30-27 win by the Hurricanes, some of the principals involved in The Miami Miracle recalled this week how it happened.---SETTING THE SCENEMiami was at its lowest point that week.Coach Al Golden was fired on Sunday, a day after the Hurricanes lost to Clemson 58-0. Star defensive back Artie Burns mother died in the days before the Duke game, and quarterback Brad Kaaya was ruled out with a concussion.It was a rough week, said Kaaya, who didnt even make the trip to Duke.There was more, too. A backup player was arrested that week on suspicion of domestic battery, and police came to practice on Tuesday to talk to some graduate assistants after the home they shared was burglarized on Monday night.But practice went on and something Miami installed that week was a throwback-pass kickoff return that the Hurricanes had run a couple of times in Goldens tenure, including in his first game at Maryland in 2011.The plan was to run it at Duke. They ended up running something else .We wanted to run what we called `Music City, for the Music City Miracle, said Wright, a graduate assistant coach for Miami last year and now an assistant at Illinois, referring to the throwback-pass kickoff return that lifted Tennessee over Buffalo in an NFL playoff game in January 2000. But when we called it, the GA who was on the field lost the card and we couldnt show it to players.So they scrambled and came up with a new play on the fly.I just remember thinking, `Its going to work, Elder said. We were going to win.---THE PLAYDuke scored its go-ahead touchdown with 6 seconds left -- some at Miami still say the Blue Devils didnt cross the goal line -- and everyone knew the ensuing kickoff would put the Hurricanes in a desperate spot.With Music City off the table since the card was lost, Miami set up a different throwback return. Its now known as Desperado, though that name was apparently given after the fact.Dallas Crawford fielded Dukes squib-kick at the Miami 26. Crawford was a last-second addition to the unit, after Miami scrambled to come up with something to replace Music City. His job was to get the ball across the field to Elder, which he did -- twice, actually, the ssecond of those being the eighth and final lateral.dddddddddddd.Elder took that last one 91 yards to the end zone. The play wound up taking 49 seconds. What happened next took nearly 9 more minutes.When Corn cut inside of the last defender, my natural instinct was just to like run, so I ran out of the coaches booth and started running around going crazy, Wright said. We all took off down four stories to get to the field.Thats when they saw the flag.Miami got called for a block in the back, with Mark Walton being flagged at the Duke 25. The game wasnt over. Miami was getting an untimed down.Theyre going to have to bring him back, Duke offensive lineman Casey Blaser remembers thinking, as he watched from the sideline. Even if they get one play, our defense will stop them.Maybe he would have been right. But that play never happened.---THE REVIEWConfusion reigned, but after a few minutes -- with replay still going on -- Miami figured that at worst, it would have a 57-yard field goal attempt to try to tie the game.Kicker Michael Badgley was told to get ready. There was so much chaos on the sideline, though, that Badgley didnt have enough space to warm up by kicking into the net behind the bench.So he kicked into the woods.I dont know what happened to those footballs, Miami sports information director Tom Symonds said.Finally, the word came from referee Jerry Magallanes: After review, there was never a knee down by any of the runners of Miami. However, the block in question was from the side, not from the back. Its a legal play. Touchdown. Games over.The officials and those in the replay booth were suspended for two games for botching how the play was handled, but the score stood.Miami 30, Duke 27.There had to be 35 people watching with us on TV, said Kaaya, who was watching in Coral Gables at a teammates apartment. Trick-or-treaters kept coming to the door. I was having all the candy I could eat. And then Corn took off and the whole house went crazy. People threw stuff everywhere. Dudes were running outside. It was awesome.---THE SCARAn hour after the game, Wright was changing out of his coaching attire to get ready for the joyous flight home -- one on which everyone was taking photos with the football that Elder carried into the end zone (and should have been returned to Duke, technically, since it was the Blue Devils ball).Thats when he saw the blood.Turns out he smashed his shin into a metal bench during the chaos and didnt even realize it.I now have a permanent scar right there, Wright said.An unneeded reminder, from a game hell never forget.---More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 ' ' '