Update on the latest sports
Seahawks silence Vikings
SEATTLE (AP) – The Seattle Seahawks are on the doorstep of the postseason following their fourth straight win.
A blocked field goal and a fumble return sparked the Seahawks to a 21-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Seattle led just 6-0 when Bobby Wagner provided the block midway through the fourth quarter to set up Chris Carson’s two-yard scoring run with 2:53 remaining. Just 18 seconds later, Justin Coleman brought back a fumble 29 yards for the game-clinching TD.
The Seahawks improved to 8-5 and finished with 214 yards rushing, led by 90 yards from Carson and 61 from Russell Wilson. The ground game made up for a quiet passing attack as Wilson threw for just 72 yards on 10 of 20 passing.
The Vikings had first-and-goal at the Seattle 4 but turned the ball over on downs with 9:06 remaining.
Kirk Cousins passed for 208 yards and didn’t get the Vikings into the end zone until his 6-yard scoring toss to Dalvin Cook with 1:10 to play.
The Vikings dropped to .500 at 6-6-1, but they still hold the second NFC wild-card berth.
Kick returns down 20 percent in 1st year of fair catch rule
UNDATED (AP) – Kickoff returns are down about 20 percent in the first year of a new NCAA rule that gives the receiving team possession at its 25-yard line if a fair catch is made anywhere between the goal line and 25.
According to NCAA figures provided to The Associated Press on Monday, kick return men in the Football Bowl Subdivision made fair catches on about 1 out of every 10 kickoffs they received between the goal line and 25.
The rule was implemented to enhance player safety. Kick returns have been shown to have a higher injury rate compared with other types of plays because of the likelihood of high-speed player collisions.
Of the 9,079 kickoffs in the regular season, 41.2 percent were returned. That’s down from 51.2 percent at this point last season.
With the new rule, there was a fair catch on 11 percent of kicks fielded between the goal line and 25. That figure is similar to what was reported at midseason. Rules officials have said they expected more fair catches because of the automatic spot at the 25.
NCAA national coordinator of officials Rogers Redding has said the Football Rules Committee probably will consider more changes to kickoff rules next year with the objective of reducing returns or making them less likely to result in injury.
Vanderbilt hires G League President Malcolm Turner as new AD
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Vanderbilt has hired NBA G League President Malcolm Turner as its new athletic director, going with a business executive over candidates with experience in college athletic administration for the Southeastern Conference’s only private university.
Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos says athletic directors were among the diverse candidates Vanderbilt considered. Zeppos says Turner didn’t come up through college athletics but believes Turner is a great fit for the Commodores.
He will start Feb. 1 and replace David Williams, the first African-American athletic director in the SEC to cap a search that started in September.
Turner says Vanderbilt is a really special place offering a rare combination of student-athletes and a commitment to an opportunity for excellence on and off the field.
EUROPE-US TRACK MEET
Europe to face US in track meet before 2019 worlds
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – The United States will face Europe in a track and field meet in Belarus ahead of the world championships in September.
European Athletics says it has signed a deal with USA Track & Field for the Sept. 9-10 event at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk. The world championships open on Sept. 27 in Doha, Qatar.
Winners of individual events in Minsk will get 7,000 euros ($7,900) in prize money, and relay teams will share 6,000 euros ($6,800).
European Athletics says “at least 10 Belarusian athletes are expected” to represent the home team.
The same stadium will host track and field at the 2019 European Games in June.
ESPN signs Jessica Mendoza to multiyear extension
UNDATED (AP) – Jessica Mendoza has signed a multiyear extension with ESPN to remain part of the “Sunday Night Baseball” announcer’s booth and appear more often on other ESPN platforms.
Mendoza will begin her fourth full season on Sunday Night Baseball next year. She’ll appear more regularly on “SportsCenter” and “Get Up!” as well as Baseball Tonight.
In 2015, Mendoza became the first female analyst in nationally televised MLB game. She did her first Sunday Night game on Aug. 30, 2015.
Mendoza, who will be inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame next year, will continue as a lead analyst during ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s College World Series. She’s been with the network since 2007.