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.

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Gophers spring football game final: Maroon 3, Gold 0

Posted by: Michael Rand under Gopher quarterbacks, Gophers preseason practice, TCF Bank Stadium Updated: April 21, 2012 - 1:20 PM

 

Starting QB MarQueis Gray signs autographs after the game in the concourse.

Starting QB MarQueis Gray signs autographs after the game in the concourse.

A few quick notes from the Gophers football spring game Saturday, which signals the end of the spring practice season for Minnesota:

 

*Quarterbacks: MarQueis Gray looked sharp on most of his passes, completing 4-of-8 passes for 62 yards while competing for the Maroon team, which technically took home a 3-0 victory over the Gold team in the 50-minute scrimmage. The crispest offensive play of the day might have been Gray's early 35-yard hookup with Brandon Green. ... Sophomore Max Shortell was 4-for-10 for 68 yards and ran for 30 more. He directed an impressive late drive that ended with a missed field goal. ... Freshmen Philip Nelson (0-for-6) and Mitch Leidner (0-for-2) did not complete a pass. The passing game overall often looked disjointed, though it's not entirely surprising.

Said coach Jerry Kill: "We divided up our receivers evenly. ... Today, there was a ball, an inch, a foot, two feet here or there, and we didn't make a play. But I think that can all get corrected through repetition in the summer."

*Kill was impressed by the team's speed in the secondary and singled out junior college transfer Martez Shabazz, who had a pass breakup and two tackles. "We've got some guys in the secondary who can run, and we're a little bigger in the secondary," Kill said.

*JoJuan Harper led all running backs with 44 yards on the ground. Donnell Kirkwood had 25 and sophomore Cole Banham had 24 on eight carries.

*The Gophers made just one of three field goal attempts, but Kill chalked much of that up to rotating in less experienced holders.

*The announced crowd was 3,512. The weather was overcast at the 11 a.m. kickoff and light rain developed late.

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