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.
UPDATE: Quarterback MarQueis Gray is on the field with his teammates, but is not in uniform and obviously won't play tonight. He's moving around well, though, with no apparent limp from his left-ankle sprain.
Also not warming up: wide receiver Andre McDonald, who spent a day in the hospital last week with an undisclosed illness. McDonald is on the field now, but not in uniform.
University Street sidewalks are packed with people, and the party on Ohio Street is well under way. But except for the Will Call windows, there are no lines at the ticket office as I walked by, a reflection of the crowd expected at TCF Bank Stadium tonight.
The game is sold out except for scattered single tickets, said Jason LaFrenz, the assistant athletic director who oversees the ticket office. That's thanks in part to 5,300 seats sold for $10 earlier this week, but the remaining 1,500 tickets (and 2,000 student tickets) were also sold at normal prices.
It should provide a pretty large homefield advantage for the Gophers, especially if the fans cheer to keep warm -- it's chilly now, and when the sun goes down, temperatures will drop into the mid-40s or lower. Yes, summer technically ended yesterday.
The weather isn't what worried Jerry Kill about the late start, though, it was spending the day getting antsy to play.
"As coaches, sometimes you like playing at 11 (a.m.), because you don't have to think about everything all during the (morning) and afternoon," Kill said. "You get up, go to work, you play, you get home and you can get your week started again."
Instead, the Gophers spent the day at a hotel, having breakfast together, holding meetings to review the game plan, and resting up.
The Gophers are wearing all maroon today, a dark look for the BTN broadcast. The Orange will wear white jerseys and, yes, orange pants.
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