Categories
Hawaii Sports

Toeaina, UH get by HPU

The Maui News

Sarah Toeaina scored 15 points, shooting 60 percent from the field, to lead the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team to a 65-54 win over Division II Hawaii Pacific on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Toeaina was 6-for-10 from the field and also had six rebounds. Julissa Tago and Tia Kanoa each scored 10 points for the Rainbow Wahine (7-6).

The Sharks (8-3) got 14 points from Samantha Lambrigtsen. Gabriella Fotu finished with 11.

Hawaii will begin its Big West schedule Thursday with a game at Cal State Fullerton.

Categories
National Sports

Hornibrook’s 4 TDs carry Badgers over Miami, 34-24 in Orange Bowl

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Alex Hornibrook threw four touchdown passes, three of them to Danny Davis, and No. 6 Wisconsin capped off the winningest season in school history by topping No. 11 Miami 34-24 in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night.
Jonathan Taylor capped his record-setting freshman season with 130 rushing yards on 26 carries for the Badgers (13-1), who rallied from an early 14-3 deficit. Taylor finished the year with an FBS-freshman-record 1,977 yards.
A.J. Taylor also had a scoring catch for Wisconsin — one where he mimicked ripping Miami’s “Turnover Chain” off the neck of teammate Kendric Pryor.
The Badgers dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes. Hornibrook completed 23 of 34 passes for 258 yards, going 20 for 25 in the final three quarters.
Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas had rushing scores for Miami (10-3), which was in the Orange Bowl for the 10th time and lost on its home field for the first time in 2017. Lawrence Cager had a touchdown catch for the Hurricanes, while quarterback Malik Rosier was 11 for 26 passing for 203 yards — with three interceptions.
The Hurricanes had a chance to get within a touchdown midway through the fourth, but Michael Badgley’s chip-shot field goal went off the right upright. By the time Miami got the ball back, most of their fans were gone and only 1:37 remained. Rosier was picked off for the third time 18 seconds later, and the Badgers ran out the clock.
The Big Ten is 7-0 in bowls this season.
Homer went in from 5 yards out to give Miami the early lead, and Dallas’ 39-yard scamper for a score out of the wildcat formation pushed the Hurricanes’ edge to 14-3 late in the first quarter.
Miami was rolling.
It was temporary.
Rosier’s pass was intercepted by Wisconsin’s Andrew Van Ginkel on the first play of the second quarter, and the game quickly changed. Hornibrook threw touchdown passes on three consecutive possessions — two to Davis, one to A.J. Taylor — and the Badgers held the ball for more than 11 minutes in that quarter alone on the way to taking a 24-14 lead into the half.
Miami coach Mark Richt was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct just before the third of those scores, after losing his cool while arguing with officials about what replays showed was a missed holding call that would have pushed Wisconsin back. He grabbed at head linesman Gus Morris — part of the SEC crew on the game — while pleading his case, as Miami security personnel unsuccessfully tried to keep him calm.
The Hurricanes got within three points twice in the second half, the first coming when Rosier bought some time and lobbed the ball to a wide-open Cager for a 38-yard score. Rosier tried to connect with Cager again later in the third, but got intercepted again on a play where the Hurricanes thought Cager got held as he neared the end zone.
Hornibrook and Davis connected on a scoring play for the third time with 7:44 left, and the Badgers weren’t threatened again.
BIG PICTURE
Wisconsin: Hornibrook became just the third Badgers quarterback in the last 15 years to have multiple games with at least four touchdown passes in the same season. Scott Tolzien had a pair of four-TD games in 2009, and Jim Sorgi had games of four and five TDs in consecutive weeks back in 2003.

Categories
Minnesota Sports

Saros’ 29 saves lead Predators over Wild

By Jim Diamond
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Juuse Saros made 29 saves for his second shutout this season, P.K. Subban scored his ninth goal and the Nashville Predators beat the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Saturday night.
Subban also had an assist, and Scott Hartnell and Viktor Arvidsson also scored. Calle Jarnkrok had two assists for the Predators, who have won two of three.
Alex Stalock made 26 saves, and the Wild lost a night after beating Nashville in Minnesota.
Hartnell scored the game’s first goal at 2:23 of the third period. Nick Bonino’s shot from the right boards hit the side of the net, and Hartnell took possession of the puck and skated around the cage. From the left doorstep, Hartnell’s wraparound backhand tipped off Stalock’s blocker and in.
Hartnell was a healthy scratch Friday. This was his first goal since Nov. 3.
Subban made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 7:50 of the third. With Matt Dumba in the box for tripping, Subban’s slap shot from the center of the blue line deflected off the stick of Wild forward Zack Mitchell.
Arvidsson added an empty-net goal with 2:20 to go.
Saros was sharp all evening, with his best save coming with 8:59 remaining in the second when Gustav Olofsson came down the left side unchecked and fired a wrist shot that Saros turned aside.
Following his hat trick Friday, Mikael Granlund paced all Minnesota players with seven shots on goal Saturday.
Stalock stopped eight shots in the first and 11 in the second. He is 0-3-0 in his career against the Predators.
NOTES: Nashville LW Filip Forsberg missed the game with an upper-body injury. The Predators placed their leading goal scorer on injured reserve earlier Saturday. … The Predators are 5-0-1 this season when the game is tied going into the third. … Olofsson was scratched in Minnesota’s last eight contests. … The Wild have allowed one power-play goal against in their last three games.
UP NEXT
Wild: Host Florida on Tuesday night.
Predators: At Vegas on Tuesday night.

Categories
Iowa Sports

Cyclones win Liberty Bowl

By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Iowa State proved its season-long bid to raise its standards was more than just a slogan.
Allen Lazard tied a Liberty Bowl record with 10 catches and put Iowa State ahead with a remarkable 5-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter Saturday, and the Cyclones beat No. 19 Memphis 21-20 on the Tigers’ home field.
The victory gave Iowa State (8-5) its first bowl victory since a 2009 Insight Bowl triumph and marked the Cyclones’ third win over a Top 25 team this season. That’s the step forward Iowa State had in mind when it made “Raise The Standard” its team motto.
“The thing that finally resonates in our program is that this can happen, not only with our players but the people outside of our program, that success and winning football games at Ames, Iowa, can really happen,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said.
Iowa State’s progress was evident in the way it held on to win after its only lost fumble of the season. Iowa State was attempting to become the first Football Bowl Subdivision team to go an entire season without losing a fumble.
The Cyclones led 21-20 and had third-and-goal from the 1 when David Montgomery fumbled as he was crossing the goal line. As replay officials reviewed the play, Campbell told his players he hoped the call wasn’t overturned because it would enable the Cyclones to show how they’d matured since a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to Kansas State in their regular-season finale.
“Coach was out there preaching to us in the defensive huddle this is what we wanted, to show people that we’d learned from what we’d been through,” Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning said.
Memphis (10-3) drove to the Iowa State 40 but lost the ball when Riley Ferguson overthrew Phil Mayhue on fourth-and-10 with 1:52 remaining. Iowa State ran out the clock from there.
“It was kind of hard getting the ball out, but at the same time, I’ve got to find a way to make a play,” said Ferguson, who went 21 of 33 for 286 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked six times. “There on the last play, I’ve got to find a way to make that throw to Phil, no matter whether I have pressure on my face or not.”
Iowa State pulled ahead 21-17 with 4:28 left in the third quarter when Kyle Kempt’s pass appeared to get deflected just before Lazard caught it in the back of the end zone.
The touchdown came after a roughing-the-passer penalty on Genard Avery wiped out an interception by Memphis’ Curtis Akins and gave the Cyclones first-and-goal.
“I was just playing the play out,” Avery said. “I feel like it was a bad call.”
Lazard had 142 yards receiving in his final college game and was named the Liberty Bowl’s most valuable player. The only other players to catch 10 passes in a Liberty Bowl were Louisville’s Deion Branch in 2000 and Arkansas’ Bobby Joe Edmonds in 1984.
“I just went out there today and gave it my all,” Lazard said. “I kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit, but I only had a certain amount of time and I’d be damned if I (was going to) stand there and watch the offense go to work without me.”
Memphis had the benefit of playing a bowl game on its home field — where it hadn’t lost all season — although enough Iowa State fans traveled to the game to make the sellout crowd of 57,266 a pretty even split.
RECORD SETTERS
Lazard’s 10th touchdown catch of the season set an Iowa State record. Memphis’ Anthony Miller had four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown to end the year with 96 catches for 1,462 yards, breaking his own school single-season records in both categories.
HELMET HIJINKS
During a pregame event, Avery and Miller flipped an Iowa State helmet upside down. Avery told reporters afterward that he wanted to show that Memphis is his team’s city.
Lazard returned the favor Saturday by overturning a Memphis helmet that sat on a table while he collected awards as the Liberty Bowl’s MVP and offensive player of the game.
BIG PICTURE
Iowa State: The Cyclones held the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense to its second-lowest point total of the season despite missing two key players, with defensive back Evrett Edwards ruled ineligible and safety Kamari Cotton-Moya suspended for a violation of team rules. Iowa State’s six sacks tied a Liberty Bowl record. Iowa State benefited from the absence of injured Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, who rushed for 1,154 yards this season.
Memphis: Missed opportunities haunted the Tigers. An ineligible receiver penalty nullified a first-quarter touchdown and led to a missed field-goal attempt. One Iowa State touchdown happened after a Memphis interception was overturned by replay, and the Cyclones’ go-ahead touchdown came after a Memphis interception was nullified by Avery’s roughing-the-passer penalty.
LOOKING AHEAD
Iowa State will seek to go to back-to-back bowl games, something the Cyclones haven’t done since 2004-05. The Cyclones lose a lot of leadership as they attempt to replace a senior class that includes Lazard and linebacker Joel Lanning, among others.
Memphis must find a way to replace the dynamic tandem of Ferguson and Miller.
UP NEXT
Iowa State begins its 2018 schedule by hosting South Dakota State on Sept. 1.
Memphis hosts Mercer on Sept. 1, 2018.
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More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP—Top25
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Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Categories
National Sports

No. 9 Penn State tops No. 12 Washington 35-28 in Fiesta Bowl

By The Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Trace McSorley threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns, Saquon Barkley ran for two more scores and No. 9 Penn State outlasted No. 12 Washington 35-28 in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.
Penn State (11-2), No. 9 in the final College Football Rankings, had its way with Washington’s vaunted defense early, building a 28-7 lead by the second quarter. Washington (10-3) woke up from an offensive slumber with two touchdowns and pulled to 35-28 on Myles Gaskins’ 69-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies, No. 11 CFP, allowed Penn State to work the clock to under a minute on the next drive and gave up a season-high 545 total yards.
Washington had a shot with a desperation play, but Dante Pettis passed up a chance to step out of bounds to set up another play, and threw a final lateral that was intercepted.
Washington had the nation’s top run defense during the regular season, allowing 92 yards per game, but Barkley matched that on one run in the second quarter. Barkley had 137 of the Nittany Lions’ 203 yards rushing. Penn State also was 13 for 17 on third downs, including touchdown passes by McSorley and three conversions on its final clock-draining drive.
LIBERTY BOWL
IOWA STATE 21, NO. 19 MEMPHIS 20
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Allen Lazard tied a Liberty Bowl record with 10 catches and put Iowa State ahead with a remarkable 5-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, and the Cyclones beat Memphis on the Tigers’ home field.
Iowa State (8-5) held after losing its first fumble this season just as it appeared on the verge of scoring an insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Cyclones led 21-20 and had third-and-goal from the 1 when David Montgomery fumbled as he was crossing the goal line. Jonathan Cook recovered in the end zone for a touchback with 4:06 left.
The call stood after replays were inconclusive as to whether Montgomery had reached the end zone before Memphis’ O’Bryan Goodson knocked the ball loose. Iowa State was attempting to become the first Football Bowl Subdivision team to play an entire season without losing a fumble.
Memphis (10-3) drove to the Iowa State 40 on its next possession but lost the ball on downs when Riley Ferguson overthrew Phil Mayhue on fourth-and-10 with 1:52 remaining.
Iowa State pulled ahead for good on a bizarre play with 4:28 left in the third quarter. On second-and-goal from the 5, Kyle Kempt’s pass appeared to elude Memphis safety Josh Perry’s outstretched arms and get tipped by Iowa State’s Marchie Murdock before Lazard caught it in the back of the end zone.
Lazard had 142 yards receiving.

TAXSLAYER BOWL
NO. 24 MISSISSIPPI STATE 31, LOUISVILLE 27
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Freshman Keytaon Thompson, making his first start in place of injured quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns to help Mississippi State beat Louisville and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Thompson and Jackson provided many of the highlights — and some lowlights.
Thompson scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a 1-yard plunge with 3:39 remaining that put the Bulldogs (9-4) ahead for good.
Jackson had the Cardinals (8-5) on the move late, but safety Mark McLaurin intercepted his third pass of the game. After a failed fourth-down conversation, Jackson got a final chance in the waning seconds, but his final desperation pass was batted away in the end zone.
Jackson completed 13 of 31 passes for 171 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He threw just six picks in the regular season. He ran 24 times for 158 yards and a touchdown, breaking the TaxSlayer Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. Jackson also was sacked six times.
Jackson had the longest run of his career, a 75-yarder late in the second quarter.
Thompson completed 11 of 20 passes for 127 yards. He ran 27 times.

Categories
National Sports

Butler’s 3-point barrage defeats No. 1 Villanova 101-93

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — No. 1 Villanova learned a tough lesson Saturday.
The defense needs to improve dramatically if the Wildcats want to be the nation’s best team.
Kelan Martin scored 24 points, Paul Jorgensen added a career-high 23 and Butler made 15 3-pointers in a 101-93 upset over one of college basketball’s last unbeaten teams.
“This is the best offense we’ve played so far and it showed,” coach Jay Wright said. “We’ve really been outscoring teams to this point and we weren’t going to outscore this team tonight.”
Certainly not against a foe that seems to have a master plan for taking down the Wildcats (13-1, 1-1 Big East).
Almost exactly a year after ending another perfect start to knock Villanova out of the top spot, Butler did it again.
This time, Villanova came into the game allowing 65.8 points and 6.6 3s per game with 10 wins by 14 or more points.
Butler’s shooters blew right past those numbers. Martin and Jorgensen each made four 3s, Kamar Baldwin, who flirted with a triple-double, had three and Henry Baddley and Sean McDermott each made two.
When it ended, Butler shot 60 percent from the field including 15 of 22 from beyond the arc, both season-lows for Villanova. And the Bulldogs posted the highest scoring total against Villanova since Creighton’s 101-80 victory on Feb. 16, 2014.
Afterward, students ignored the school’s pleas to delay storming the court until players had left the floor and the Bulldogs talked about the need to do even bigger and better things.
“Villanova is a team that I grew up watching, watching in the Garden,” said Jorgensen, a native of New City, New York. “So to take them down at Hinkle is really amazing. But like Coach said, we don’t want this to be the highlight of our season.”
The Wildcats really didn’t play that poorly.
Jalen Brunson matched his career high with 31 points and Mikal Bridges had 21 to help Villanova storm back from a 23-point deficit to get within six with 1:33 left. But Brunson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with a chance to make it a four-point game 12 seconds later and the Wildcats couldn’t get any closer.
Butler made seven 3s in the final minutes of the first half to take a 53-45 lead then made all five of their 3s in the second half. When the Wildcats started defending the arc, Butler took advantage with a bevy of layups and dunks, extending the lead to 81-58 with 10:23 left.
“They adjusted to us on the line and started taking away the 3s, so we had to drive to the basket and attack in different ways,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “We made the adjustment and stayed on the attack.”
Villanova countered with full-court pressure and when Butler started throwing the ball away, the Wildcats ran off 14 straight points to make it 84-76 with 5:04 to go.
They just couldn’t quite finish it off.
“We’ve got a lot of room to improve,” Bridges said. “We’re definitely going to get better.”
BIG PICTURE
Villanova: The Wildcats have lost five times over the last two seasons — three times to Butler. They’ll meet again Feb. 10. But explaining those losses — all with Villanova ranked No. 1 or No. 2 and all by eight points — sounds incomprehensible.
Butler: Jordan got his first big win since returning to his alma mater. The win certainly helps the Bulldogs’ tourney resume and the entertaining performance on national television could help with recruiting, too. But Jordan wants to see his team start playing this way consistently.
KEY NUMBERS
Villanova: Donte DiVincenzo had 16 points and Eric Paschall had 15. … Omari Spellman had nine rebounds while Brunson added five assists. … The Wildcats only had four turnovers and outscored Butler 52-30 in the paint.
Butler: Baldwin had 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. … The Bulldogs had nine of their 13 turnovers in the last 10 minutes. … They also had a 37-26 rebounding edge. … Butler is 9-0 at home this season.
PROJECT 44
Jordan wore a special T-shirt over his dress shirt and tie Saturday to remind people about the need to donate bone marrow through Project 44, which honors the late Andrew Smith.
Smith, who played on Butler’s two Final Four teams, died in January 2016 after battling cancer. He was 25. His widow, Samantha, and one of Smith’s former teammates, Chase Stigall, whose donation helped save a young boy, spoke to the crowd during the first media timeout.
“That was a lot of fun,” Jordan said. “Two wins for the Butler family.”
UP NEXT
Villanova: The Wildcats get a short break before hosting Marquette next Saturday, ending a 37-day stretch with only one home game.
Butler: Renews its rivalry at No. 6 Xavier on Tuesday.

Categories
Minnesota Sports

Murphy, McBrayer lead Minnesota past Harvard 65-55

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jordan Murphy scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, posting his national-best 15th double-double to pace Minnesota during a grind-it-out 65-55 victory over Harvard on Saturday.
Dupree McBrayer returned from a two-game absence to a lower left leg injury with a team-leading 15 points on 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range, a big boost for the Gophers backcourt with senior point guard Nate Mason sitting out to protect a sprained left ankle.
Freshman Isaiah Washington started in Mason’s place and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds to help soften the blow of a 4-for-17 shooting performance from the field.
Corey Johnson led the Crimson with 12 points, going 4 for 10 from 3-point range. The rest of his teammates were 3 for 22 behind the arc.
Amir Coffey, who had 12 points and five assists for the Gophers (12-3), started the second half with a corner 3-pointer to push their lead back to double digits. The Crimson (5-8) didn’t fade despite their perimeter-shooting persistence, finally attempting their first free throw with 12:11 remaining in the game.
Chris Lewis, who added 10 points, converted a reverse layup before a 3-pointer by Johnson brought the Crimson within 45-42 and brought the bench players jumping to their feet to cheer. McBrayer coolly sank a 3-pointer at the 8-minute mark on the other end, though, and the Gophers muscled their way to an important victory in their final nonconference game of the season.
Williams Arena at tipoff was minus-7 degrees, and the jump-shooting by both teams was just about as cold at the beginning of the game. The Gophers bricked nine of their first 11 attempts from the floor, until a steal by McBrayer sent him on a one-man fast break for a one-handed dunk to cut the Crimson’s lead to 9-7. The Gophers finished a 16-3 run with a 3-pointer by Davonte Fitzgerald for a 20-12 advantage that held until the 6½-minute mark, but with 29 points at the break they registered their second-lowest halftime score of the season.
The Crimson, though, missed 12 of their 14 attempts from 3-point range in the first half.
BIG PICTURE
Harvard: After winning 20 or more games in six of head coach Tommy Amaker’s first nine seasons, including five shared or outright Ivy League titles and two NCAA Tournament victories, the Crimson slipped back toward the pack the last two years, finishing fourth and second in conference play. They were picked as the preseason favorite to win the league in 2017-18, but aside from a competitive 79-70 defeat at then-seventh-ranked Kentucky on Dec. 2 they’ve got plenty of blemishes on their record already. This kind of game ideally will further toughen them for conference play.
Minnesota: The Gophers did exactly what they needed to do in the program’s first game against Harvard, avoiding further injuries and recording their fourth consecutive victory. Most promising over the last few weeks has been an uptick in production from a thin bench, with Hurt and Fitzgerald providing quality playing time on Saturday.

Categories
Minnesota Sports

Vikings place long snapper Kevin McDermott on IR

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have placed long snapper Kevin McDermott on injured reserve, forcing them to break in a new specialist right before the playoffs.
The move was made Saturday, making room on the active roster to promote practice squad center Cornelius Edison. McDermott hurt his shoulder on Dec. 23 at Green Bay, and backup tight end David Morgan stepped in as the emergency long snapper against the Packers.
The Vikings signed Jeff Overbaugh earlier this week for the final regular-season game against Chicago, but now Overbaugh will have the job for the postseason, too. Overbaugh went undrafted last year out of San Diego State and has not appeared in a regular-season game. He has had stints with the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears.

Categories
Minnesota Sports

Vikings have plenty more to play for in rematch vs. Bears

By Dave Campbell
AP Pro Football Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have won a whole bunch of games since their previous matchup with Chicago, a steady march to become NFC North champions that has put plenty of distance between the playoffs they’re about to enter and that ugly first half they played against the Bears.
That’s precisely where their path to the postseason began to straighten out.
When Case Keenum replaced the ailing Sam Bradford again at quarterback, the Vikings steered themselves back on course that night of Oct. 9 for a 20-17 victory that was the first of eight straight.
For as much as coaches and players speak about the clichéd one-game-at-a-time focus, momentum can be an undeniable force.
“It was big,” said wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who hobbled through that game with a groin injury. “I wouldn’t say really like a turning point, but definitely some momentum moving into the rest of the season that no matter how we’ve got to do it, we can get a ‘W’ and finish.”
The Vikings had fallen to 2-2 at the quarter point of the season, stinging from a 14-7 defeat at home by Detroit made possible by three lost fumbles and made worse by the season-ending ACL tear to running back Dalvin Cook’s knee suffered that afternoon.
After missing the three previous games with knee trouble, Bradford was cleared to return against the Bears. He clearly wasn’t right. Bradford was sacked four times, and the Vikings totaled 34 yards on six possessions while he was in the game.
Keenum took over again late in the second quarter and, 10 wins later, has the Vikings on a Super Bowl track that could’ve been wrecked by the absence of two of the team’s most vital players.
“It was that stretch that we talk about,” wide receiver Adam Thielen said. “Every game seemed like a bigger game.”
This rematch with the Bears (5-10) on Sunday has proven to be just as important for the Vikings (12-3).
With a win in this final regular-season game, they’ll secure the No. 2 seed for the NFC playoffs that comes with a first-round bye. That’s basically a bonus victory, and the Vikings have been treating this scenario accordingly.
“The biggest thing is the confidence that this team is playing with,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said.
“We feel like if we take care of our business and we play the style of football that we’re accustomed to, it doesn’t matter who we play, when we play, where we play. It’s just how we play.”
The Vikings can also get the coveted bye with an assist from any of three other teams: New Orleans beating Tampa Bay on the road, Atlanta beating Carolina at home or Los Angeles beating San Francisco at home.
Just one of those would need to happen. That’s quite the safety net the Vikings have no desire to use.
“We don’t want to get any help from anyone. We want to go out and take care of our business, play well, continue to ride this momentum into the playoffs,” Rudolph said.
“The last thing you want to do is limp into the playoffs coming off of a loss. We want to go out and play well and end this season the right way.”
Here are some other key angles to follow during the game on Sunday:
FOX WATCH: With a 14-33 record in three years, this could be John Fox’s final game coaching the Bears. If so, it’ll be the end of one of the least successful tenures in the franchise history. Only Abe Gibron has a lower winning percentage as a Bears head coach, going 11-30-1 (.274) from 1972-74.
Fox helped orchestrate quick turnarounds with Carolina and Denver, joining Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to lead two franchises to Super Bowl appearances, but he hasn’t experienced similar success in Chicago.
“I’ve never had trouble getting employment in this league,” Fox said this week, “and I’m not going to start worrying about it now.”
YOU AGAIN?: This is the fifth time in 13 years that the Bears will wrap up the regular season in Minnesota, including three of the past four, but this is the first of these finales that features any kind of postseason impact. Both teams were eliminated in 2016, 2014 and 2011. The Bears already had the division title clinched in 2005.
“It’s still a game. Everybody has to play it. And you have to approach it that way,” Fox said. “It will be no different for us.”
LONG WAY: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has come a long way since he debuted against the Vikings in that matchup in Chicago nearly three months ago, and the second overall pick in the draft would love to show it.
Trubisky completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards on Oct. 9, and his interception in the closing minutes set up the winning field goal by the Vikings. Though his passer rating is a paltry 78.5, Trubisky already holds the franchise rookie passing record with 2,015 yards.
With the Bears expanding the playbook for him, Trubisky has gone from completing 53 percent of his passes through his first seven games to 71 percent over the past four games while throwing for 880 yards.
“Hopefully the game will slow down for me a little bit, and I’ll be able to see things a little better,” Trubisky said.
STANDING PAT? If the Bears fire Fox, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur could find himself a candidate for the vacancy. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said this week he believes Shurmur deserves another opportunity, five years after his tenure with Cleveland ended at two seasons.
“He’s done a really good job. He’s a good guy to work with. He’s smart. He’s respectful,” Zimmer said.
Shurmur has bigger priorities for now.
“At some point, if somebody wants to sit down and visit about being the head coach, I can talk about a job that I’ve already done and about how I’m better since I did that job,” he said.

Categories
Hawaii Sports

Batoon hired as new UH DC

The Maui News

Saint Louis School graduate Corey Batoon has been brought on as the University of Hawaii’s defensive coordinator, the school announced Friday.

Batoon spent this season as special teams coordinator and co-defensive coordinator on Lane Kiffin’s staff at Florida Atlantic. The Owls posted an 11-3 record, winning the Conference USA title and defeating Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl.

“We’re excited to announce Corey Batoon as our defensive coordinator,” Rainbow Warriors head coach Nick Rolovich said. “We’ve had conversations about coming back for some time now and the timing is right. He’s an incredibly smart football coach and is regarded as an excellent recruiter. He’s another local boy on our staff who’s come back home and we’re thrilled to have him.”

Prior to his stint at FAU, Batoon spent four years as an assistant at Mississippi and has also had coaching stops at Arkansas State, Northern Arizona, Montana, Central Missouri State, Saint Mary’s (Calif.) and Pierce Junior College.

This season, Hawaii (3-9) ranked 114th out of 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense, allowing 458.8 yards per game.