Sept. 3, 2011
Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill "I was disappointed. We had opportunities to win the game and didn't do some of the things early and I take responsibility for that. We looked nervous and uncomfortable in the first half. We settled down in the second half. Give them credit, they bowed up and we competed our tails off in the second. If we had played with that confidence and intensity in the first half, maybe it would have been a different story. I compliment them (the Gophers) on their effort and we'll build on it. It leaves a bitter taste when you feel you should have won but it is what it is. We'll build from it. We're going to keep working and move the program forward."
"I thought we were walking around in the first half, lethargic, not what I'm used to dealing with it. We had head set problems in the first half and had trouble communicating. We didn't have head sets for half of the first half. We had trouble getting signals in and had trouble communicating with MarQueis. There just wasn't any smoothness. I told the team (at the half) you are going to play hard and bust your butt."
(On the QB change) "Max, for a true freshman, to come in in the fourth quarter and make some plays, he got in a rhythm and we had some guys make some plays. Offensively, even in the first half, we moved the ball, but got bogged down. I thought as the game went on we had more rhythm on both sides of the ball."
"We worked hard in the off-season on conditioning. They were faster than us in the first half. But in the second half I thought we played faster than they did."
(On Marqueis Gray) "He was cramping in his throwing hand and his legs and I didn't want in passing situations, all of a sudden he cramps and the ball comes out. We were playing with a good rhythm and decided to stay with Max. All we needed was a field goal."
(On the interception) "I'm a competitor. There were two guys going after it. Our guy played hard and their guy played hard and their guy made a play. I hollered, but I'm a competitor. There are no excuses."
Minnesota QB Max Shortell (On the final possession) "I felt driving down on the previous possession things were going our way. I definitely felt we had a great chance. All we needed was a field goal. The kid made a great play. I threw to the back shoulder to Da'Jon (McKnight) and he (USC's Torin Harris) made a great play."
(On his role) "My job is to back up MarQueis and give him a break when necessary. It just so happened this was an extended break."
(On the offensive's rhythm in the second half) "Our offense got rolling in the second half with MarQueis when I stepped in. It was doing some good things and I kept it rolling."
Minnesota TB Duane Bennett (On the team's reaction to Shortell coming in) "He has to be ready at all times. The first time he came into the huddle, we joked and had him laughing in there. Nothing changed. We do what we do and do it well and he made us proud with how he played.
Minnesota QB Marqueis Gray (on his cramping) "I'm not sure why it happened. I've been hydrating all week. Today it just came out.
"It kept bothering me for a couple plays and wouldn't leave, which is why I came out. I tried to get stretched but it wasn't working. I went back to the locker room and got an IV for a couple minutes and came back out. But it just kept coming back.
"Max did an outstanding job. The team has confidence in him and he put the team in a position to win.
"If we started every game in the first half like we came out in the second half, we'll do pretty good."
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Game 4: Minnesota at Penn State
Minnesota opens Big Ten play at Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 1. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network and can be heard on KFAN.
Kick Time Set for Gophers - Hawkeyes
Minnesota will host Iowa at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. The game will be on either ABC or ESPN2 and can be heard on KFAN.