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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Halftime: Nelson starts at QB, Gophers stumble, trail Hawkeyes 17-0

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers game day Updated: September 28, 2013 - 4:14 PM

The Gophers' first-half nightmares against Iowa continued Saturday.

After falling behind 24-0 by halftime of last year's game in Iowa City, the Gophers found themselves in a 17-0 hole at halftime Saturday.

A big crowd, with a raucous student section, was pretty quiet late in the first half.

Philip Nelson got the start at quarterback for the Gophers, seeing his first action since he strained his right hamstring two weeks ago. It was a surprising move after Mitch Leidner was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his performance last Saturday against San Jose State.

Nelson threw one interception in the first half but made some key completions, too. The Gophers just couldn't run the ball. They finished the half with 17 carries for 13 yards. Nelson was 6-for-10 through the air for 67 yards.

Iowa led 3-0 after one quarter and got a 4-yard touchdown run from quarterback Jake Rudock to take a 10-0 lead. Then, with 2:56 remaining in the half, Damond Powell took a short pass from Rudock and raced 74 yards for a touchdown.

Gophers cornerback Derrick Wells (right shoulder) and safety Brock Vereen (left knee) both sustained first-half injuries. Wells returned, but Vereen did not.

The Gophers lost last year's game 31-13, so they'll need a big second half to pull things out this time.

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