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 have made most of their passing game

Posted by: Phil Miller under College football Updated: October 11, 2012 - 9:30 AM

     I wrote in today's Star Tribune about the Gophers' phone-book receiving corps, a position that's getting contributions from many players. Three receivers have caught passes in all five games, and two more have receptions in four games, so the ball is being spread around in every game, especially when you consider that tight ends John Rabe and Drew Goodger have nine and seven catches, respectively, as well.
     Even more remarkable: Freshmen Jamel Harbison and Andre McDonald and senior Brandon Green, a trio expected to have a big impact this year, have one catch (by McDonald in the opener) between them.
     A.J. Barker is the top receiver by far, with 19 catches, 357 yards and four touchdowns, more than double in every category than any of his teammates. That's mostly due to how he's covered, or not covered, by opposing defenses, quarterback Max Shortell said.
     "It's a combination of everything. I'm not trying to throw to my favorite receiver or something, that's not the case," Shortell said. "I'm throwing based on what the coverage gives me."
     The Gophers have made the most of their passing game. Consider this: Only four Big Ten teams average fewer than 16 completions per game; the Gophers, at 15.4 catches, are one of them, yet they rank fifth in the conference in passing yardage, at 217.2 yards per game. The other three low-completion teams? They rank 10th (Wisconsin), 11th (Michigan) and 12th (Ohio State) in passing yards.
     I talked to Marcus Jones as part of the story, because he seems like a player whose catches are only going to increase as the season goes on. He's made only five catches this year, but that's understandable, considering he tore a knee ligament last season and had major surgery.
     The knee is giving him little trouble this year, Jones said, and I suspect his role in the offense will grow as the season wears on. One other thing that will grow: the amount of caution he uses as the weather grows colder.
     "As of right now, I don't feel anything, but as things get cold, you get tighter some times," the 19-year-old receiver said. "I feel like you've got to do a little more to warm it up, make sure you're ready. That's something I'm going to do every day -- take 10 extra minutes to warm it up every time I go out, just to be sure."
 

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 93 4th Qtr 0:48
Detroit 86
Milwaukee 98 4th Qtr 5:48
Miami 91
Memphis 54 3rd Qtr
Dallas 44
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 2nd OT :00
Philadelphia 3
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 3rd Prd 11:40
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 3rd Prd 13:32
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 3rd Prd 13:00
Florida 3
Colorado 2 3rd Prd
Nashville 2
Buffalo 1 2nd Prd
Calgary 1
Minnesota 0 1st Prd 17:57
Edmonton 0
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 54 2nd Half 7:16
Evansville 67
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 28 1st Half 2:51
Alabama 18
Tennessee 28 1st Half 5:01
Arkansas 27
Texas A&M 25 1st Half 5:30
Auburn 24
Baylor 19 1st Half 2:45
Oklahoma State 23
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 23 1st Half 0:49
Utah State 27
Fresno State 19 1st Half 2:52
San Diego St 24
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Tulane 55 2nd Half 2:20
Houston 39
(3) Baylor 87 2nd Half 3:49
TCU 60
Valparaiso 40 2nd Half 1:18
Illinois-Chicago 56
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