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7 great sports moments of 2017

Carson Wentz during his Monday Night Football win against the Washington Redskins and Matt Cullen bringing the Stanley Cup back to his hometown of Moorhead top our list of best sports moments of 2017. USA Today and Forum News Service photos

Every year, the world of sports provides memories that will last throughout the ages, and this year was no different. It’s been a year of comebacks, redemption, and a couple of firsts. Here are seven of the best sports moments that happened at the national level this year.

1. Carson Wentz throws four TDs on ‘Monday Night Football.’

Former NDSU quarterback and current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz got an opportunity to showcase his skills on the national stage. Wentz threw four touchdown passes against the Washington Redskins on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” en route to a 34-24 win. This win was the Eagles’ fifth straight and gave Wentz 17 touchdowns on the year, which was one more than he had all of last season.

2. Matt Cullen brings third Stanley Cup to Moorhead.

Current Minnesota Wild forward and Moorhead native Matt Cullen brought his third Stanley Cup (his second in a row with the Pittsburgh Penguins) back home to Moorhead. Cullen visited Sanford Children’s Hospital, where he brought the Cup to Cully’s Kids Cabin. From there, he took the Cup to a Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks game and the Moorhead Dairy Queen. Cullen said this wasn’t a day about himself, but about the community that helped to raise him.

3. Clemson beats Alabama in football national championship.

The Alabama Crimson Tide were leading the Clemson Tigers 31-28 with a little more than two minutes remaining in the game. Then, on Clemson’s last possession, quarterback Deshaun Watson led his team on a 68-yard drive, capped off by a touchdown pass to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. This touchdown gave Clemson its first national title since 1981.

4. New England Patriots win Super Bowl LI in comeback fashion.

Trailing 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter, quarterback Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a win football fans will likely never forget. The Patriots came back from 25 points down — the largest deficit ever overcome in Super Bowl history — to force the first overtime in the history of the big game. In overtime, New England won the game with a two-yard touchdown run by running back James White, which gave the Patriots their fifth Super Bowl victory.

5. North Carolina wins basketball title one year after heartbreak.

In last year’s NCAA basketball national championship, the University of North Carolina lost on a last-second, buzzer-beating shot by Kris Jenkins of Villanova. This year, however, was a different story. North Carolina center Kennedy Meeks provided a crucial late-game block of a layup attempt by Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, which led to a quick dunk by Justin Jackson. This sealed the championship for North Carolina, which won its first national title since 2009 and sixth overall.

6. UND hockey faces Minnesota in Grand Forks.

For the first time in five years, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team faced their biggest rival, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. This was a two-game series, and both nights were sold out in anticipation for the return of the rivalry. In game one, Minnesota won a close one 2-1, while in game two, North Dakota blanked the Gophers 4-0.

7. Houston Astros win first World Series in franchise history.

The 2017 World Series featured a lot of close battles between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. Nearly every game in the series was a back-and-forth contest, but when it came to game seven, the Astros dominated nearly every aspect of the game. Houston scored five runs in the first two innings of the game, and the Dodgers never recovered from that deficit. The Astros went on to win the game 5-1, giving Houston its first World Series championship in the 55-year history of the franchise. This win also came after Houston was affected by Hurricane Harvey, providing the city with some much-needed positivity during the recovery process.