Postgame Notes: Gophers 28, Western Michigan 23

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

Sept. 15, 2012

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SERIES NOTES:

• Today’s game was the fourth all-time against Western Michigan, with the Gophers leading the series, 4-0.

• Prior to today’s game, Minnesota and WMU last met on the gridiron during the 1977 season, which ended a three-year series between the schools in Minneapolis.

• The Gophers improved to 27-4-1 all-time against current members of the Mid-American Conference.

• Minnesota has won two straight against MAC teams under head coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers defeated Miami (Ohio), 29-23, at TCF Bank Stadium in 2011 for Kill’s first win at Minnesota. In 2010, Kill’s Northern Illinois team defeated the Gophers, 34-23, in Minneapolis.

• Kill is familiar with the Broncos, as his Northern Illinois teams faced WMU each year during 2008-10, and his Southern Illinois squad played the Broncos during 2005. The victory today gives him a mark of 3-2 against WMU.

TEAM NOTES:

• Minnesota won its fourth straight game dating back to last season, its first four-game winning streak since opening the 2008 season with four wins. • The Gophers are 3-0 for the first time since that 2008 season.

• The Gophers improved to 10-13 in games at TCF Bank Stadium, and are 9-7 since the start of the 2010 season.

• Five of head coach Jerry Kill’s six wins at Minnesota have come at home.

• Kill’s career record in home games improved to 80-29 (.734).

• The Gophers intercepted their fifth pass of the season, eclipsing the team’s 2011 total of four in just the third game of the season.

• Minnesota’s first four interceptions had been returned for a combined total of one yard, but Michael Carterreturned today’s interception 18 yards.

• Minnesota passed for four touchdowns in a game for the first time since Adam Weber threw five touchdowns versus Michigan State on Oct. 31, 2009.

• Minnesota finished with 397 yards of total offense (180 rushing/217 passing), marking the first time this season the Gophers fell short of 400 total offensive yards.

• The Gophers’ 180 rushing yards snapped a three-game streak in which they had rushed for 200+ yards.

• With touchdowns in the first three quarters of today’s game, Minnesota had scored a TD in seven straight quarters dating back to last week’s game versus UNH.

• The Minnesota defense recorded two sacks in the game, increasing its season total to eight sacks through three games.

• The Gophers combined to break up eight WMU pass attempts in the game.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

MarQueis Gray threw a TD for the fourth-straight game dating back to last season. Gray, who left the game with an injury in the second quarter, finished 3-of-6 passing for 29 yards and the TD while rushing 11 times for 57 yards.

Max Shortell made his second appearance of the season, replacing Gray in the second quarter.

• Shortell completed 3-of-3 passes for 65 yards and a TD on his initial drive. It was Shortell’s second passing TD of the season and the fourth of his career.

• Shortell threw for 125 yards and two TDs on his two second-quarter possessions, establishing new career-bests in both categories. He threw for 104 yards at Michigan on Oct. 1, 2011, and had thrown a single TD pass in three career games.

• Shortell threw two touchdowns in 2011, and had three today to give him four this season.

• Shortell’s second TD pass covered 53 yards, marking Minnesota’s first pass play of 50+ yards since Gray completed a 64-yard pass to Da’Jon McKnight at Michigan State on Nov. 5, 2011.

• Shortell finished the game with career-highs for passing yards (188) and passing TDs (three),

A.J. Barker caught three first-half touchdowns, becoming the first Minnesota receiver with three TDs in a game since Da’Jon McKnight’s three touchdown receptions at Michigan State on Nov. 5, 2011.

• Barker becomes the 10th player in Minnesota history with three or more TD receptions in a game. McKnight accomplished the feat twice during his career.

• Barker caught five passes for 101 yards. It was his second 100-yard receiving game (also had 101 yards at UNLV) and established a new career-best for receptions in a game. Barker, a graduate of De LaSalle High School, holds Minnesota prep records for career receiving yardage (4,018) and receiving touchdowns (50).

Donnell Kirkwood had 23 rushing attempts for 110 yards, both of which are new career-bests. It was his first career 100-yard rushing performance.

• Drew Goodger’s first career reception went for a nine-yard touchdown from Shortell in the third quarter.

• K.J. Maye, who played QB at Murphy HS in Mobile, Ala., attempted his first career pass for the Gophers in the third quarter. Maye took an end-around from Shortell and threw a pass into the end zone, but it fell incomplete.

Michael Carter intercepted his first pass of the season and returned it 18 yards to the Western Michigan seven yard line. It was Carter’s third career interception, and his first since picking off a pass versus Northwestern on Oct. 2, 2010.

• Carter finished the game with five solo tackles to go with his interception.

Derrick Wells finished with 10 tackles (seven solo) and two pass break-ups. Wells has either led or tied for the team lead in tackles in all three games, recording a total of 26 tackles (17 solo) so far this season.

Mike Rallis tied Wells for the team lead with 10 stops (six solo).