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. -- Da'Jon McKnight has had a breakout day for the Gophers, and it's only halftime. But Minnesota is going to need even more offense if it's going to win for the second straight week.
The senior receiver has piled up 121 yards and two touchdowns, and Jordan Wettstein's 27-yard field goal gave the Gophers a lead shortly before halftime. But the 15th-ranked Spartans responded by going 74 yards in 51 seconds, and fullback Todd Anderson's first career TD reception with five seconds remaining sent Minnesota into the locker room trailing 21-17.
McKnight caught a 10-yard pass from MarQueis Gray on the Gophers' first drive, broke a couple of tackles and turned the play into Minnesota's longest from scrimmage this season, a 64-yard romp into the end zone. It was the first time in conference play that Minnesota has scored first.
The Gophers got a break later in the quarter when Spartan tailback Edwin Baker fumbled, and linebacker Keanon Cooper fell on the ball on Michigan State's 26. After a 13-yard scramble by Gray rolled up half the necessary yardage, McKnight made a difficult catch in the left corner of the end zone, going up and over cornerback Johnny Adams, then coming down with his feet in bounds.
Michigan State is outgaining the Gophers, 281 yard to 216 after two quarters, most of it coming through the air. Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown for 223 yards, while Gray has 163 for the Gophers.
McKnight is only 25 yards from his career high of 146, set against New Mexico State in September.
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