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.
The Gophers have had plenty of chances to open a lead on Syracuse, but at halftime, Minnesota holds only a 7-3 lead.
Max Shortell, making his first start of the season at quarterback, has led the Gophers into Orange territory -- and the red zone -- three times, but the Gophers have only one touchdown, a 2-yard run by tailback Donnell Kirkwood.
Two Minnesota drives have ended with missed field goals by Jordan Wettstein, one a 44-yard kick and the other a 26-yarder, both of which faded wide to the right. And the Gophers appeared to score a touchdown just before halftime, on a 34-yard connection between Shortell and wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts, who caught the ball in stride, with a defender running alongside him, as he reached the end zone. But that score was called back by a holding penalty on fill-in center Jon Christensen.
Syracuse's offense, which averaged 39.7 points per game coming in, hasn't been much better. The Gophers' defense has kept the Orange from making big plays, and Syracuse has only one score, a 33-yard field goal by Ross Krautman.
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