Checking In On Minnesota

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Wisconsin's Week 8 contest is The Battle For Paul Bunyan's Axe against a Minnesota squad that has dropped two straight after a strong start.

In a battle of two Big Ten upstarts on Saturday, Minnesota managed only 13 points for the second straight week, falling 21-13 to Northwestern. The loss was the Gophers' second in as many weeks, eliminating the momentum gathered by a 4-0 start.

Quarterback MarQueis Gray returned after missing the previous two games with knee and ankle injuries, though he did throw an interception and was injured again in the third quarter. Head Coach Jerry Kill also suffered a seizure in the locker room after the game, though he is reportedly "in excellent health" after being released from a Minneapolis hospital on Sunday.

What once appeared a short road to bowl eligibility is suddenly much longer and more arduous, given Wisconsin's improved play and the presence of Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State still on the schedule. The Gophers have alternated between two quarterbacks (MarQueis Gray and Max Shortell) due to Gray's injuries, and rank sixth in the Big Ten in both passing (209.2 yards per game) and rushing (165.8 yards per game). The defense, sixth overall, is stout against the pass (162.5 passing yards allowed per game, second in the conference) but vulnerable on the ground (150.7 rushing yards allowed per game, eighth in the conference).

MINNESOTA BREAKDOWN:

  • 4-2 (0-2), 6th in Legends Division
  • Offense: 9th in Big Ten, 24.2 points per game
  • Defense: 6th in Big Ten, 19.8 points per game

PASSING:

NAME COMP ATT YDS COMP % YDS/ATT TD INT RATING
Max Shortell 60 105 791 57.1 7.53 6 4 131.7
MarQueis Gray 33 55 464 60.0 8.44 5 2 153.6

RUSHING:

NAME CAR YDS AVG LONG TD
Donnell Kirkwood 111 467 4.2 26 3
MarQueis Gray 54 320 5.9 75 (TD) 3
James Gillum 23 60 2.6 16 (TD) 1
Max Shortell 32 43 1.3 13 0
KJ Maye 13 43 3.3 7 0

RECEIVING:

NAME REC YDS AVG LONG TD
A.J. Barker 22 406 18.5 53 (TD) 4
Isaac Fruechte 11 186 16.9 34 2
Devin Crawford-Tufts 11 137 12.5 40 0
Derrick Engel 7 136 19.4 33 0
John Rabe 9 104 11.6 33 3

SCHEDULE/RESULTS:

DATE OPPONENT RESULT/TIME RECORD
Thu, Aug. 20 @ UNLV W 30-27, 3OT 1-0
Sat, Sept. 8 New Hampshire W 44-7 2-0
Sat, Sept. 15 Western Michigan W 28-23 3-0
Sat, Sept. 22 Syracuse W 17-10 4-0
Sat, Sept. 29 @ Iowa L 31-13 4-1 (0-1)
Sat, Oct. 13 Northwestern L 21-13 4-2 (0-2)
Sat, Oct. 20 @ Wisconsin 11:00 PM CT
Sat, Oct. 27 Purdue 2:30 PM CT
Sat, Nov. 3 Michigan TBD
Sat, Nov. 10 @ Illinois TBD
Sat, Nov. 17 @ Nebraska TBD
Sat, Nov. 24 Michigan State TBD
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