Sept. 24, 2011
North Dakota State [3-0] 37, Minnesota [1-3] 24
Sept. 24, 2011 | TCF Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minn. | Att. 48,802
• Minnesota falls to 7-2 all-time versus North Dakota State, having lost the past two meetings. The Bison defeated Minnesota, 27-21, on October 20, 2007, at the Metrodome.
• The Gophers are 26-2-0 all-time against schools from North Dakota – 7-2 vs. NDSU, 19-0 vs. North Dakota.
• Minnesota has played a team from North or South Dakota in four of the past five seasons. But the word Dakota does not appear on Minnesota’s future schedules until 2015, when South Dakota State is slated to visit TCF Bank Stadium.
• Minnesota’s touchdown on its opening possession of the game marked the first time the Gophers had scored a first-possession TD since doing so versus Ohio State on October 30, 2010.
• The Gophers held a team scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season. Minnesota last held an opponent scoreless during its 27-24 season-ending victory versus Iowa on November 27, 2010.
• Minnesota trailed 28-14 at the half, the third time it headed to the intermission facing a deficit in four games this season.
• Minnesota falls to 6-11 at TCF Bank Stadium.
• The Gophers finish the non-conference portion of the 2011 schedule with a record of 1-3.
• Freshman Donnell Kirkwood gave Minnesota a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 4-yard TD run. It was his second career TD after also scoring from 4 yards in last week’s win .
• Kirkwood added a 30-yard TD run to tie the score at 14-14 in the second quarter. It marked Minnesota’s longest scoring run since DeLeon Eskridge had a 46-yard TD carry at Illinois on October 11, 2008.
• Kirkwood rushed for a career-high 70 yards on 10 attempts, but had 68 yards and two TDs on nine attempts (7.6 per carry) in the first half.
• Senior Duane Bennett added seven rushes for 60 yards (8.6 per attempt) in the opening half, and finished with 13 attempts for a team-high 74 yards.
• True freshman QB Max Shortell appeared in his third game this season, directing the Gophers on the 10-play, 95-yard scoring drive that tied the score at 14-14 in the second quarter. Minnesota ran the ball on all 10 plays of that drive.
• Shortell completed 4-of-8 passes for 71 yards and one TD in the game. It was his second career touchdown pass, a 20-yard strike to senior tight end Eric Lair.
• Lair caught two passes for 41 yards, and the TD reception was the third of his career.
• Sophomore kicker Chris Hawthorne converted a career-long 36-yard field goal in the third quarter, his fourth consecutive successful attempt after missing three of his first four attempts in the opening two games.
• Freshman David Cobb made his first career appearance, running for a three-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
• Junior QB MarQueis Gray was limited to 23 rushing yards on 13 attempts. He entered the game having rushed for 100-plus yards in back-to-back games, including a total of 171 yards in last week’s win versus Miami (Ohio), the most ever by a Minnesota quarterback.
• Sophomore linebacker Aaron Hill appeared in his first game of the season, while making his third career start for the Gophers. Hill finished with five tackles (two solo).
• Senior safety Kim Royston recorded his fourth consecutive game with a double-digit total for tackles, registering a season-best 11 (four solo). Royston had recorded 10 tackles in each of Minnesota’s first three games this season.
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.
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