Sports News-December 31, 2012

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The Houston Texans slipped from first to third in the AFC seedings and will open the postseason at home next Saturday against wild-card Cincinnati.  That game will be followed by a Minnesota/Green Bay rematch of Sunday's 37-34 Vikings' victory.  On Sunday, the AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens will host Indianapolis in the first wild-card game.  That game will be followed by the NFC East champion Washington  hosting Seattle in the final wild-card game next Sunday.

At one point this season, the Washington Redskins were 3-6, going nowhere fast and coach Mike Shanahan was openly pointing toward next season.  Today the Redskins are NFC East champions for the first time since 1999.  The Redskins won their seventh straight game and the NFC East title by beating Dallas 28-18 behind rookie Robert Griffin III.  RG3, wearing a heavy black brace on his mildly sprained right knee, ran ten yards for a touchdown to give the Redskins the lead.  Griffin isn't the only outstanding Washington rookie.  Alfred Morris, a sixth-round draft pick, ran 33 times for 200 yards and three Tds.  Morris became the Redskins' all-time single-season rushing leader with 1,613 yards.

While the Husker football team is here, an Orlando prep wide receiver has pledged to Nebraska.  N-U picked up its 17th pledge of the 2013 recruiting class when Dominic Walker picked the Huskers over Florida State and Cincinnati according to the Lincoln Journal Star.  Walker formally announced his intentions last night in Houston at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.  The 6’2, 195-pound Walker visited Lincoln back in late September and pushed Nebraska to the top of his list despite receiving roughly 25 offers, including from the Seminoles and in-state school Florida.  Rivals.com listed Walker among their top performers during those early week practices.  Rated a three-star player by the recruiting sites, Rivals rates him the 89th best player nationally at his position, FoxSportsNext ranks him 78th and 247 Sports ranks him 141st.  Walker becomes the second wide receiver commit in this Husker class, joining Kevin Gladney of Akron, Ohio.  Nebraska plays Georgia tomorrow in the Capital One Bowl at 12:00 in Orlando, Florida.  The Huskers are ranked 16th in the BCS Standings while the Bulldogs are seventh.  The game is televised on ABC and can be heard on Newstalk WJAG 780 AM & 105.9 FM.

Nebraska sophomore Robert Kokesh got a pair of reversals late in the match and rallied to beat Nate Brown of Lehigh 8-4 to win the 174-pound title last night at the Midlands Championships wrestling tournament in Evanston, Illinois.  Kokesh’s six wins this weekend improved his record to 22-1, including 17 by bonus points.  The only other Husker competing yesterday was redshirt freshman Austin Wilson, who lost to Ramon Santiago of Rider 7-5 in a wrestleback match at 165.  Nebraska finished in a tie for 15th place with 39 points.  Illinois won the team title with 99.5, two more than Virginia Tech.  The Huskers return to action on Jan. 11 with a road dual against Michigan and the next day at Northwestern, which hosted the Midlands Championships.

Quinnipiac spotted the Nebraska-Omaha hockey team a one-goal lead then came back to beat the Mavericks 3-1 yesterday to sweep their series.  Ryan Walters staked UNO to an early lead on the power play at 5:25 of the first period.  It was Walters' 14th goal of the season but the Bobcats scored the next three goals to extend their unbeaten string to twelve games.  Clay Harvey scored Quinnipiac’s first goal, and Connor Jones and Ben Amt added power-play goals.  Neither team scored in the third period.  Eric Hartzell made 28 saves for the Bobcats and John Faulkner had 34 saves for Nebraska-Omaha.  Quinnipiac won 5-4 on Saturday.  The Mavericks are now 11-8-1 on the season while the Bobcats improve to 14-3-2.

The Creighton women’s basketball team dropped an 88-81 double overtime loss at Minnesota yesterday.  The Golden Gophers’ Rachel Banham, a sophomore guard, finished with a career-high 39 points, 33 of which came after halftime.  Her output was the sixth-highest in Minnesota history and the most by a Bluejay opponent since Texas Tech’s Jia Perkins scored 41 on Creighton in 2002.  Bluejay forward Sarah Nelson finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, and guard Carli Tritz scored 17 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists. Teammate Marissa Janning, a freshman guard from Minnesota, had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists before fouling out in the first overtime. Creighton led 54-37 in the second half.  Minnesota improves to 11-3 while the Bluejays are now 8-3.

New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead is launching his own clothing line, but fans will have to travel to his Nebraska hometown to buy a shirt.  North Platte is currently the only place where Woodhead's DW39 Gear is sold because Woodhead's hometown friends are creating the shirts.  Jordan and Crystal Vigil designed the shirts at their Operation Clothing business and then pitched the idea to Woodhead.  It probably helped that Jordan Vigil and Woodhead have been friends since childhood.  Whitetail Screen Printing in North Platte makes the shirts in cooperation with the Vigils.  The shirts will be available in time for the NFL playoffs.

Local Schedule:  LHNE Vs. Wisner/Pilger at Wisner/Pilger (Shootout on the Elkhorn Tourn. BBB Third Place Game-2:45); LHNE Vs. Oakland/Craig at Wisner/Pilger (Shootout on the Elkhorn Tourn. GBB Seventh Place Game-9:30 AM); Missouri-Kansas City at Nebraska-Omaha (MBB-5:00); Grace Univ. At WSC (MBB-1:30); Chadron St. At WSC (WBB-4:00).

Local Scores:  Minnesota 88 Creighton 81 (2 OT) (WBB); South Dakota 62 Nebraska-Omaha 57 (WBB); Quinnipiac 3 Nebraska-Omaha 1 (Hock.).

NFL Scoreboard:  Cincinnati 23 Baltimore 17; Carolina 44 New Orleans 38; Chicago 26 Detroit 24; Pittsburgh 24 Cleveland 10; Indianapolis 28 Houston 16; Tennessee 38 Jacksonville 20; Buffalo 28 N.Y. Jets 9; N.Y. Giants 42 Philadelphia 7; Tampa Bay 22 Atlanta 17; San Francisco 27 Arizona 13; Minnesota 37 Green Bay 34; Denver 38 Kansas City 3; New England 28 Miami 0; San Diego 24 Oakland 21; Seattle 20 St. Louis 13; Washington 28 Dallas 18.

     NATIONAL  BASKETBALL  ASSOCIATION
    
      Final    Detroit                96    Milwaukee      94
      Final    San  Antonio      111    Dallas            86
      Final    Sacramento        118    Boston            96
      Final    L-A  Clippers    107    Utah                96
    
    
          TOP-25  WOMEN'S  COLLEGE  BASKETBALL
    
      Final    (  4)  Duke                          73              Monmouth  (NJ)        32
      Final    (  7)  Kentucky                  78              Marist                      56
      Final    (13)  Tennessee                66              Rutgers                    47
      Final    (14)  Oklahoma  St.          80              San  Diego  St.        72
      Final              Bowling  Green        65    (15)  Dayton                      40
      Final    (16)  North  Carolina      65              Clemson                    58
      Final              Cent.  Michigan      73    (20)  Texas                        65
      Final    (21)  Florida  St.            76              Boston  College      70

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