Gray Leads Gophers Before Suffering Ankle Injury

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By Michael Molde,

On a gray and rainy Homecoming afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium, senior quarterback MarQueis Gray appropriately made his return to the Golden Gophers. It came in a tough 21-13 loss to Northwestern, but Gray made his impact felt when he was on the field.

Gray, who missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain surprisingly made his first appearance of the game at wide receiver. He hauled in a 16-yard pass from Max Shortell in the opening quarter, drawing one of the loudest cheers of the afternoon from the crowd of 49,651. It was Gray's first reception since catching 42 passes for 587 yards and five TDs when he last lined up at the position during the 2010 season.
Go Gophers! Lucia
Go Gophers!
MarQueis Gray paced the Gopher offense before leaving with an ankle injury.
Go Gophers!

Later in the first quarter, Gray took his first snaps at quarterback since being injured against Western Michigan on Sept. 15. He later scored the Gophers' lone touchdown of the afternoon on a 25-yard burst up the middle early in the second quarter. Again, the Homecoming crowd roared its approval.

For the game, Gray finished with a team-high 86 yards rushing on just nine carries (9.6 per attempt), while completing 7-of-11 passes for 66 yards with an interception.

Unfortunately, late in the third quarter, Gray had to leave the game after sustaining an ankle injury.

"I think it's a low ankle sprain. That's what I'm told," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said. "You're in the heat of the battle, and you've got a trainer who just said he's out, so we're trying to hustle around. If something happens to Max (Shortell), you've got to know what the next protocol is and so forth. It was challenging times to say the least, but that's part of the game."

Several of Gray's runs were highlight-reel material, as he twice sprinted up the middle and collided with a Northwestern defender, who paid the price for attempting to tackle the 6-foot-4, 250-pound signal-caller.

"Gray's a great player. He's one of the best athletes in this league," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said after the game." You can see his toughness, the way he battled back to go out there and play. That kid's a war daddy. He's a big man, and they were able to get some things going a little bit (with him in the game)."

"Their offensive line did a great job getting the double teams on us," Northwestern defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt said. "He's (Gray) big, so you've got to bring the pads when you tackle him. I think we learned, if anything today, arm tackles aren't going to work in the Big Ten."

With the 86 yards on the ground, Gray moved up two spots on Minnesota's all-time rushing list. Saturday's performance moved him past Shorty Almquist (1925-27) and Terry Jackson II (2001-03), as he now ranks 25th with 323 attempts for 1,661 career yards.

The loss, which dropped Minnesota to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten, wasn't what the Golden Gophers were hoping for. But Gray made his impact on the game.

His status for next week at Wisconsin is not yet known. Coach Kill said after the game he will know more about the severity of the injury in the next couple days. 

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