Found September 16, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS For the first time since 2008, the University of Minnesota football team is 3-0. The latest victory was a 28-23 win Saturday over visiting Western Michigan at TCF Bank Stadium.Running offense: B Redshirt sophomore running back Donnell Kirkwood had his first career 100-yard rushing game, as he gained 110 yards on 23 carries for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Quarterback MarQueis Gray picked up 62 yards on 23 carries before leaving the game with a high ankle sprain. He didn't return after the injury, and backup quarterback Max Shortell didn't offer much in the rushing game (three carries for 14 yards). Without Gray, Minnesota's rushing attack became one-dimensional. Still, Kirkwood came up with big yards when he needed them. His game-long 26-yard run late in the fourth quarter helped extend a drive and keep the clock running as Minnesota held on for a win. Kirkwood didn't find the end zone Saturday, but he was effective enough throughout the game to keep Western Michigan's defense in check.Passing offense: B Before Gray left with an injury, he was just 3-for-6 for 29 yards and a touchdown. Shortell, meanwhile, stepped in and took over a struggling Gophers offense by leading Minnesota to three touchdown drives. Shortell's first pass of the game went for a 32-yard gain as he hit a wide-open Derrick Engel downfield. Shortell later had a 24-yard pass to A.J. Barker on that drive and capped everything with a 9-yard score to Barker. Shortell finished 10-for-17 for 188 yards and three scores, while Barker caught three of Minnesota's four touchdowns. He had five catches for a team-high 101 yards, his second 100-yard receiving game this season.Running defense: B- Western Michigan is known as a pass-first offense the Broncos attempted 44 passes Saturday but WMU's rushing game was still effective enough to do some damage. Minnesota allowed 165 total rushing yards, including 144 yards to running back Dareyon Chance. Chance carried the ball 29 times, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. He also had one of the Broncos' three touchdowns on a 6-yard run in the second quarter. Western Michigan's Antoin Scriven also ran in a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter.Passing defense: A- Broncos quarterback Alex Carder threw for 364 yards and five touchdowns last weekend against Eastern Illinois, so the Gophers' secondary knew it would be in for a long day. Carder wound up attempting 44 passes but completed just 24 of those for 209 yards and one touchdown. Minnesota defensive back Michael Carter intercepted Carder to give the Gophers the ball in the red zone. Carder was also sacked twice by Minnesota's defense. Other than receiver Jaime Wilson who had 10 catches for 117 yards and a score none of the Broncos receivers posed much of a threat.Special teams: B- Special teams ended up being a bit of a non-factor Saturday. Gophers kicker Jordan Wettstein missed his only field goal attempt of the night, hooking a 38-yarder wide left in the first quarter. Punter Christian Eldred didn't have his best game, averaging just 29.5 yards per punt on four total punts. The Gophers didn't have much to speak of in the kick return game, either, as their only punt return yielded no yards. Marcus Jones returned three kickoffs for a total of 57 yards. Overall: B This was easily Minnesota's toughest test through three non-conference games this season. The Gophers held on to win without their starting quarterback and improved to 3-0. While Minnesota did well in certain areas, particularly on defense, there are still areas where coach Jerry Kill will be addressing this week as his team prepares for Syracuse next Saturday. Of course, the big question will be how Gray recovers from his ankle sprain. But aside from that, Minnesota knows it has some work to do before its final non-conference game.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Gophers' Gray injures ankle, carted off

MINNEAPOLIS Gophers senior quarterback MarQueis Gray suffered an apparent ankle injury in the first half of Saturday's game against Western Michigan. He was carted off the field and later returned in the third quarter wearing a walking boot and walking with crutches.Gray's backup, sophomore Max Shortell, was impressive in relief of Gray. Shortell led the Gophers to a pair...

Shortell rallies Minnesota past W. Michigan

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Max Shortell replaced an injured MarQueis Gray and passed for 188 yards and three touchdowns, helping Minnesota overcome a sluggish start to beat Western Michigan 28-23 on Saturday. Gray hurt his left leg late in the second quarter with the Gophers (3-0) trailing, but Shortell steered a six-play, 78-yard march for the go-ahead score that A.J. Barker capped with...

Minnesota 28, W. Michigan 23

Max Shortell replaced an injured MarQueis Gray and passed for 188 yards and three touchdowns, helping Minnesota overcome a sluggish start to beat Western Michigan 28-23 on Saturday. Gray hurt his left leg late in the second quarter with the Gophers (3-0) trailing, but Shortell steered a six-play, 78-yard march for the go-ahead score that A.J. Barker capped with his second of three...

Gophers own aerial game versus W. Michigan

MINNEAPOLIS The University of Minnesota football team lost its starting quarterback to an injury, but it won the game Saturday against Western Michigan, beating the visiting Broncos by a 28-23 final at TCF Bank Stadium. Quarterback MarQueis Gray left the game with a high ankle sprain and did not return, but sophomore Max Shortell stepped in admirably. Meanwhile, the Gophers defense...

Minnesota QB Gray leaves game with leg injury

Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray has left the game with an apparent injury to his left leg. Gray got hurt late in the second quarter against Western Michigan on Saturday, when he faked a throw, turned to run and ran into his right tackle Josh Campion. Gray went down in a pile of defenders and stayed on the turf in pain until limping off with assistance, with the Gophers trailing...
College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.