Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The Gophers trail by three touchdowns at halftime, but they're doing things differently today. Most notably: MarQueis Gray made a cameo appearance at quarterback.
Gray took the last three snaps of the first quarter, handing off to DeLeon Eskridge for an 11-yard gain, then keeping the ball and running out of the shotgun, picking up 5 and 4 yards. Adam Weber, who had taken all but one snap this season, didn't appear to be injured. Weber watched from the sidelines, and when the quarter ended, the senior stepped in again at QB. That drive immediately stalled when handoffs to Eskridge and Jon Hoese -- making his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury against Penn State two weeks ago -- failed to pick up the 1 yard needed for a first down.
Weber played the rest of the half, but the Gophers have yet to sustain a drive longer than 38 yards and trail, 21-0.
The 16th-ranked Spartans have only one drive longer than 41 yards themselves, but that's because they have generally had excellent field position; a pair of touchdown drives to end the half went 40 and 41 yards for scores. Minnesota's only chance in close was on the game's first drive, when they reached the 15 yard line, but Eric Ellestad missed a 32-yard field goal.
Michigan State, 8-1, has 182 yards of offense, 115 of it on the ground. The Gophers have 98 yards so far.
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