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Three-time defending national champion North Dakota State is picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference title.....

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Three-time defending national champion North Dakota State is picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference title.  The poll of league coaches, media and sports information directors released today shows the Bison with 24 out of 39 first-place votes and 370 points.
     NDSU has won 24 straight games. The Bison had a change in head coaches over the winter when Chris Klieman was named to replace Craig Bohl, who left for Wyoming.
     South Dakota State is the second choice with eight first-place votes and 330 points, followed by Northern Iowa with seven first-place votes and 324 points.  Youngstown State is tabbed for fourth with 240 points, followed by Southern Illinois (237), Illinois State (197), Missouri State (180), South Dakota (121), Western Illinois (96) and Indiana State (50).

    Once again this year 1320 KHRT-AM will be the Minot area radio home to NDSU Bison football.  The Bison begin the season August 30th at Iowa State.

     MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Captain Munnerlyn started his first training camp with the Minnesota Vikings away from the action and on the sideline, placed on the physically unable to perform list so he could work his way through a minor hamstring injury.
     Make no mistake, though. Munnerlyn will play the most prominent role in this team's young secondary. "I'm definitely a leadership kind of guy," he said. "My name's Captain!"
     Drafting Teddy Bridgewater was the offseason move by the Vikings that created the biggest stir, given their decade-long quest to establish a long-term solution at quarterback.
     Signing Munnerlyn in free agency was the most important acquisition in the meantime, however.  This is a defense that allowed an average of 30 points per game last year, the most in the league, and the root of the problem was at cornerback.

     ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Wild have re-signed right wing Justin Fontaine to a two-year contract, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing.  The deal was done today.
     Fontaine had 13 goals, eight assists and a plus-6 rating for the Wild in 66 games last season as a rookie, ranking fourth on the team in goals. Playing primarily on the third line, Fontaine also had one goal and one assist in nine playoff games.
     The 26-year-old Fontaine's goal total last season was the third-highest by a rookie in Wild history, and his plus-minus rating was second. The former Minnesota Duluth star also recorded the franchise's first hat trick by a first-year player, when he had three goals in a game at Phoenix in January.


     CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR has suspended Denny Hamlin's crew chief and car chief for six races for a failed post-race inspection at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.   Darian Grubb and Wesley Sherrill are both suspended through the Sept. 6 race at Richmond. They are not eligible to return until the opener for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Sept. 14 at Chicago.   Grubb was also fined $125,000.
     Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs were both also docked 75 points in the driver and owner standings.   Hamlin finished third on Sunday in the Brickyard 400 and his Toyota failed post-race inspection. NASCAR said Tuesday it found issues with several of the covers in the rear firewall of the driver compartment. Loose or missing covers could vent the driver compartment and create more downforce for the car.


     EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Byron Scott is taking over the Los Angeles Lakers with the vocal support of his fellow Showtime greats.   Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes attended Tuesday's introductory news conference for Scott, the 25th head coach in franchise history.
     Scott boldly predicted a quick return to NBA title contention for the Lakers, who are coming off their worst season since moving to Los Angeles.   The Lakers spent nearly three months without a head coach before finally hiring Scott, a shooting guard on three Showtime championship teams in the 1980s.
     Scott has been a head coach with New Jersey, New Orleans and Cleveland. But the Lakers have always been the ideal job for the Inglewood product who grew up sneaking into the Forum to watch Jerry West.



   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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