MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Vikings hold fast and beat Washington 34-27
MINNEAPOLIS (SportsNetwork.com) - Minnesota's defense came up with a goalline stand in the final minute to secure the Vikings' 34-27 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Robert Griffin III and the Redskins took over from their own 20 with 3:36 to play. Despite having no timeouts, Washington was able to move the ball down the field. Jordan Reed's 17-yard catch moved the ball to the 8-yard line. Following a run by Roy Helu and two incomplete passes, Griffin lofted a fourth-down pass to Santana Moss. The wide receiver caught the ball but was out of bounds. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder completed 17-of-21 passes for 174 yards, two touchdowns and an interception before leaving late in the third quarter with a dislocated left shoulder. Matt Cassel connected on 4-of-6 passes for 47 yards in relief. Adrian Peterson carried the ball 20 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings (2-7), who snapped a four-game skid. John Carlson caught seven passes for 98 yards and a score for Minnesota, which announced earlier this week that tight end Kyle Rudolph could miss as much as a month with a fractured foot.
Nicklas Backstrom scored the lone goal of the shootout in the third round to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at Verizon Center. After the first four shooters came up empty, Backstrom skated in and rifled a wrister from between the circles past the glove-side of Josh Harding. Braden Holtby, who finished with 33 saves, then turned away Charlie Coyle to send the Capitals to their fourth straight win. Alex Ovechkin scored his 13th goal of the season to open the scoring, while Marcus Johansson netted the equalizer with 3:08 left in regulation to force the extra session. Coyle and Mikael Granlund each scored once for the Wild, who had won six of their last seven games coming into the contest. Harding finished with 25 saves in the setback.
The Governor's Victory Bell will be on the line Saturday afternoon when the Penn State Nittany Lions step into TCF Stadium to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Big Ten Conference play. The trophy has been awarded to the winner of this matchup since the first meeting in 1993. PSU has won four straight against Minnesota and leads the all-time series, 8-4. These teams have not faced each other since 2010, and they are not scheduled to do so again until the 2016 season. Penn State is coming off last week's 24-17 overtime victory against Illinois, its second overtime in the last three games after beating Michigan in four overtimes on Oct. 12. Had they not been serving a four-year postseason ban, the Nittany Lions would be playing for bowl eligibility this weekend. Following this tilt, they'll wrap up their schedule with home games against Purdue and Nebraska, and then at Wisconsin for the regular-season finale. Meanwhile, Minnesota is riding a three-game Big Ten winning streak for the first time since 2008, and the team has not won four in a row in league play since 1973. All three victories have come under acting coach Tracy Claeys, while head coach Jerry Kill remains on leave to get treatment for epileptic seizures. Most recently, the Golden Gophers were a 42-39 winner at Indiana last weekend.