Hartman: Shortell was ready, just like he said he'd be

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 11:11 PM

Well, the predictions from nearly all of the media were that the Gophers football team's record would all depend on how well MarQueis Gray plays. And if Gray got injured the Gophers would be certain to finish last in the Big Ten. There was nothing but concern Saturday when Gray suffered a high ankle sprain and also a slight knee injury with 4:37 left in the second quarter and the Gophers trailing Western Michigan 10-7.

Fortunately, X-rays showed no fracture, and more will be known Sunday after more examination. However, the odds are strong that Gray won't be physically OK to face Syracuse next Saturday night.

Also fortunate for the Gophers is that No. 2 quarterback Max Shortell had gotten some playing time against New Hampshire last week, when he played most of the fourth quarter and completed five of six passes for 72 yards and one touchdown.

When I spoke with Shortell last week after the New Hampshire win, he said he was happy as a sophomore to be a backup to Gray but was confident he'd be ready if anything happened to Gray.

And was he ever ready. On Saturday, Shortell led three drives that ended with touchdown passes after coming in for Gray. In 12:14 of game time he went 8-for-12 for 168 yards and moved the score from a 10-7 Gophers deficit to a 28-17 Gophers lead.

Yes, Western Michigan had spent the week working on a defense for Gray, and Shortell came in and tore their pass defense apart.

And Shortell was really pleased to be able to hit Drew Goodger, a very close friend, for a touchdown pass. They are both from the Kansas City area.

"Drew, I always played against him in baseball when I was younger and we've been really good buddies since then," Shortell said. "Ever since I knew he committed to Minnesota we've been in contact. We're really good buddies, and it was nice to hook up for a touchdown finally."

And yes Shortell was modest about his success, saying Gray would have had the chance to do the same thing.

"We had some things dialed up. MarQueis would have had a chance to do those, but I got in and got a chance to do some of those plays that we had in our back pocket," he said.

Shortell, who was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 22 quarterback in the 2011 class when Tim Brewster signed him out of Bishop Miege High School, went 26-for-54 with 309 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions in eight games for the Gophers last season.

In his senior season in high school he completed 53 percent of his passes for 2,643 yards and 21 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. And as a junior he led Bishop Miege to a Kansas state championship.

High on Luck

Vikings running back Toby Gerhart played two years at Stanford when Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall draft choice who will face the Vikings on Sunday, was starting there.

"He's a heck of a player, and I think that is why everybody projected him No. 1 in the draft," Gerhart said.

Can Luck do a good job as a rookie starting quarterback in the NFL? "I think he can," Gerhart said. "He's smart enough, he has the physical tools to do it. Of course there's going to bumps along the way, but I think he can get it done."

Neshek in playoff push

On Friday , former Twins reliever and Park Center product Pat Neshek continued his tremendous season with Oakland. Neshek has appeared in 17 games since Aug. 3, pitching 14 1/3 innings and allowing only one run, good for a 0.63 ERA, with 15 strikeouts and six hits allowed. In Friday night's big win over Baltimore, Neshek came on in the seventh inning with Oakland leading 3-2 and got a double play after allowing a walk.

Recruits like the Gophers

The Gophers basketball team didn't get any commitments a week ago from three of the top players in the country for 2013 who were visiting campus. But all three -- Gavin Schilling from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, Cedric Hankerson from Coral Reef High School in Miami and Nigel Hayes from Whitmer High School in Toledo -- indicated they were impressed with Minnesota and have the Gophers near the top of their college lists.

Also, former Gophers basketball coach Jim Dutcher is back living in Edina after spending a month with his son Brian, who is the associate head coach to Steve Fisher at San Diego State. Jim reported that his son's contract contains something that most assistant coaches don't have, a clause that says he will automatically move up to head coach when Fisher retires.


• The figures aren't available on the Western Michigan game, but a week ago at the New Hampshire game there were 15,327 servings of beer and wine sold at the stadium with 13,118 servings in the general seating area and 2,209 in the premium suites. The revenue from the sale was in the area of $111,000.

• The Yankees come to town this week for three games with no sellouts predicted for the first time in Target Field history. In fact, there are $25 tickets available in good sections.
• Connor Cosgrove is a recovering cancer patient, but Jerry Kill has Cosgrove listed on the Gophers roster and he takes part in all of the activities the players do, including training and meals. His father, Kevin Cosgrove, who was on the Gophers staff under Tim Brewster, is now an assistant at New Mexico under Bob Davies.

• One reason that the Gophers didn't schedule any of the Dakota schools is because while Tim Brewster was coach he thought there was nothing to gain if you beat them and a lot of criticism if you lost. In my opinion it made no sense playing a school like New Hampshire that didn't draw instead of one of the Dakota schools that would sell out the stadium. The Gophers' next meeting with a Dakota school is in 2015 against South Dakota State, with nothing further scheduled.

• It's interesting that Syracuse, the Gophers' opponent next Saturday night, played Stony Brook, the school where new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler worked before coming here. The Syracuse game will be a prime-time game on the Big Ten Network.

• Brad Childress had this season remaining on his Vikings contract so whatever he earns from the Browns as offensive coordinator will be discounted from the pay he is owed by the Vikings. So he is really coaching for almost no pay this season.

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Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
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Cleveland 9
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Los Angeles 7
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NY Yankees 0
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Washington 46
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Atlanta 2
Boston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Detroit 7:00 PM
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Phoenix 7:00 PM
Denver 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 1 2nd Prd
New Jersey 0
Minnesota 1 2nd Prd
Carolina 0
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 16:47
Ottawa 0
Calgary 0 1st Prd 16:01
Detroit 1
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 55 2nd Half 2:33
Elon 60
Gardner-Webb 61 2nd Half 1:56
High Point 61
Samford 60 2nd Half 6:55
UNC Greensboro 65
Northern Ill 14 1st Half 4:15
Ball State 18
Bowling Green 30 1st Half 4:17
Buffalo 20
Brown 34 1st Half 1:18
Dartmouth 17
Toledo 26 1st Half 1:40
Eastern Mich 26
Akron 27 1st Half 0:52
Kent State 35
Ill-Chicago 20 1st Half 2:39
Oakland 27
Miami-Ohio 25 1st Half 3:04
Ohio 43
Columbia 6 1st Half 3:00
Penn 21
Cornell 25 1st Half 0:11
Princeton 30
Central Mich 19 1st Half 3:35
Western Mich 34
Bradley 13 1st Half 3:48
Northern Iowa 26
Morehead State 13 1st Half 13:10
Murray State 10
UNC-Asheville 7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Yale 7:00 PM
Furman 7:30 PM
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
Texas Tech 8:00 PM
Pacific 8:00 PM
San Francisco
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Belmont 8:30 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 33 2nd Half 5:37
(7) Florida State 72
SMU 47 2nd Half 7:44
Memphis 62
Lehigh 67 2nd Half 2:27
Holy Cross 60
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Duquesne 27
North Florida 12 1st Half 3:04
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 28
Kennesaw St 25 1st Half 3:30
Jacksonville 23
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Northern Ky 20
Lipscomb 20 1st Half 2:50
Stetson 43
Nebraska 31 1st Half 1:46
(14) Iowa 34
Saint Peters 27 2nd Half
Marist 25
Navy 21 1st Half 1:41
Bucknell 22
Lafayette 29 1st Half 2:36
American Univ 31
Colgate 13 1st Half 1:03
Army 20
Georgia 9 1st Half 1:31
(5) Tennessee 28
Dartmouth 37 2nd Half
Brown 23
Penn 19 1st Half 1:27
Columbia 13
(13) Princeton 39 2nd Half
Cornell 19
Kansas 10 1st Half 2:59
Kansas State 21
Harvard 39 2nd Half
Yale 34
(15) North Carolina 7:00 PM
(10) Louisville
San Jose St 7:00 PM
Houston 7:00 PM
Utah State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Colorado 8:00 PM
(8) Oregon State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Niagara 8:30 PM
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM


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