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(Saturday, September 15th)
Final Score: Minnesota 28, Western Michigan 23
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Max Shortell threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns after entering the game late in the second quarter, helping the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 28-23 win over Western Michigan at TCF Bank Stadium.
Minnesota starting quarterback MarQueis Gray injured his left leg and did not return in the second half. A.J. Barker finished with five catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Gophers (3-0), who have already matched their win total from each of the last two seasons. Donnell Kirkwood carried 23 times for 110 yards in the victory.
The Broncos (1-2) lost to a Big Ten opponent for the ninth straight time, despite 144 yards and a touchdown on the ground from Dareyon Chance. Jaime Wilson headlined the receiving corps with 117 yards and a TD on 10 catches.
WMU grabbed a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Andrew Haldeman.
Golden Gophers' defensive back Michael Carter set up his team's first score of the day with an interception return down to the Broncos' 8. Three plays later, Gray found Barker for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
WMU regained the lead at the 4:37 mark of the second quarter, when Chance scored on a six-yard run. That touchdown was set up by Gray's fumble deep in Minnesota territory.
Gray was injured on the first play of the ensuing possession, but Shortell came in and led the team on a 78-yard drive, capped by a nine-yard scoring strike to Barker.
Shortell and Barker hooked up again for a 53-yard touchdown with 30 seconds to play until the half, as Minnesota took a 21-10 lead into the locker room.
The Broncos cut the margin to 21-17 with just under 11 minutes to play in the third quarter, as Antoin Scriven capped an 11-play, 71-yard drive with a one- yard TD plunge.
The Golden Gophers answered with a long drive of their own, and Shortell found Drew Goodger for a nine-yard touchdown pass to make it a 28-17 game.
The score would remain that way until the 4:18 mark of the fourth quarter, when WMU's Alex Carder tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Wilson. However, the Broncos could not convert the two-point attempt. They later got the ball back with 1:32 to play but failed to get a first down.
Minnesota is now 4-0 all-time against the Broncos, although this was the first meeting between the two schools since 1977.
09/15 16:15:50 ET
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