Bison At Gophers: NDSU Beats Minnesota 37-24

For the best coverage of Gopher football that you'll find anywhere, be sure to check out our good friends at The Daily Gopher.

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NDSU 37, Minnesota 24

When Jerry Kill was hired, he gave long suffering Gophers fans hope, but also a message: there was a lot of work to do, and that the Gophers were a long way from being good.

Well, at least he’s honest.

Minnesota got beat handily by 1-AA opponent North Dakota State 37-24 at TCF Bank Stadium, and it was the Bison that looked like a Big Ten team, not the Gophers.

North Dakota State was the team that put pressure on the quarterback, it was North Dakota State that made the big plays, and in the end, it was North Dakota State that got the convincing win.

Although Minnesota took an early 7-0 lead, NDSU’s offense quickly answered and took over the game, and by halftime they had built a 28-14 lead, thanks to an interception/lateral/return on the last play of the half.

Minnesota crawled back into the game in the second half, though. The defense stiffened and got some stops, Max Shortell came in for a largely ineffective MarQueis Gray, threw a beautiful TD pass to Eric Lair on 4th down, and with just under three minutes to play, the Gophers found themselves with the ball and only one score down, at 31-24.

But the hope was short lived. Max Shortell threw a pick, and Marcus Williams, who was the recipient of the lateral/fumble and ran that in for a TD at the end of the first half, intercepted Shortell’s pass and returned it 40 yards for a TD.

The Gophers will now try and regroup before traveling to Ann Arbor to try and wrest away the Little Brown Jug, and it will be interesting to see if the Gophers start Max Shortell or go back to Gray.

But neither of them play defense, so it might not matter.

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NDSU Up 31-17 With 15 Minutes Remaining

If the Minnesota Golden Gophers are going to beat North Dakota State, they’re goingto have to figure out a way to stop the Bison offense, it’s that simple.

North Dakota State has yet to punt in this game, and they have dominated Minnesota on the line of scrimmage. They took the opening kickoff of the second half, and used over half of the third quarter to go 55 yards on 13 plays, which culminated in a 49 yard field goal by Ryan Jastram.

The Gophers then inserted freshamn QB Max Shortell, who lead the Gophers to a field goal as well. MarQueis Gray, who has struggled all evening, accumulated no yardage in the third quarter.

As the third quarter turns to the fourth, the Gophers are down 31-17, and they just held NDSU to a three and out deep in their own end. Minnesota finally has some decent field position, and Gray is back in.

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NDSU Leads 28-14 At Halftime

Do you remember back to the 1988 World Series, after Kirk Gibson hit that dramatic, game winning home run in game one, announcer Jack Buck exclaimed ‘I can’t bee-leeve what I just saw!’.

Fast forward to 2011, TCF Bank Stadium, and that line rings just as true now as ii did all those years ago. With Minnesota down 21-14, they had one play left to end the half, and it seemed a Hail Mary into the end zone was the only play.

Well, the Gophers passed, but MarQueis Gray only threw it down to about the 20, where it was promptly picked off by NDSU DB Colten Heagle. He started returning it up the far sideline, and wildly threw it as he was being tackled…where it was promptly scooped up by Marcus Williams and he ran the rest of the way for the score.

As bad as the defense has been, the offensive running game has been pretty good, as the Gophers have ran for 150 yards in the first half.  Donell Kirkwood has 68 yards and two TD's, and Duane Bennett has 60 yards.

But th Gophers defense has absolutely no answer for anything NDSU does.  The Bison have three drives, and offensive TD's to go with their INT/fumble/what the hell was that TD.  As a team, they have run for 125 yards and three TD's, and QB Brock Jensen is 6-8 for 82 yards, and is playing much better than MarQueis Gray.

Minnesota has quite a hole to dig out of, and NDSU will get the ball to start the half.

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NDSU Takes 14-7 Lead

Really, Minnesota, is your defense THAT bad?

Really?

Really. The Gophers defense can’t stop anything North Dakota State wants to do, as the Bison went 83 yards in 8 plays to take a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

NDSU QB Brock Jensen looks like he should be playing in the NFL as opposed to NDSU, as he has gone 6-7 for 82 yards so far, and his receivers have been wide open all night.

The Gophers have had little to no pressure on Jensen, and the one time the Gophers put a rush on, Jensen escaped and ran for over 10 yards, down to the Gophers three yard line. From there, Bison running back Sam Ojuri punched it in, and lo and behold, we’ve gone back in time to 2007, at least for the time being.

Whatever it is defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys is calling, it ain’t working, and the Gophers defense will need to regroup.

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7-7 Early Second Quarter

North Dakota sees your 13 play drive and raises you a 15 play drive, Minnesota (if you count 4 penalties). Speaking of penalties, the Gophers didn’t help themselves by committing two defensive penalties on that drive, one of which was a personal foul against Gery Tinsley that kept the drive alive.

Bison QB Brock Jensen was 4/4 on that drive for 39 yards, and snuck the ball over from the one yard line for the tying score.

So each team has had two drives, and they both went the length of the field for a touchdown. Minnesota went 13 plays, NDSU went (officially) 11 plays. The Gophers went 68 yards, NDSU went 65.

Yeah, it’s goingto be a barn burner, at least that what it looks like early on. Both offenses lookm better than their opposing defenses by leaps and bounds, and as I write this, the Gophers are on the move again.

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Kirkwood Gives U of M early Lead

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are well aware of what happened to them when they played North Dakota State in 2007, and if the first drive is any indication, they won’t let that happen again.

The Gophers took the opening kick and went 68 yards in 13 plays, using a nice mix of running and passing the ball, and freshman running back Donnell Kirkwood went in from 4 yards out. With the Chris Hawthorne extra point, the Gophers have an early 7-0 lead.

On the drive, junior QB MarQueis Gray was 3-4 for 31 yards, including a nice 16 yard pickup to DaJon McKnight on the first third down of the series. He also had 3 carries for 13 yards, while Kirkwood contributed 17 yards.

North Dakota State currently has the ball and they just crossed midfield, aided by a 15 yard personal foul penalty against the Gophers on third down. With just over 4 minutes left in the opening quarter, it’s 7-0 Minnesota.

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Bison At Gophers: How Can You Follow The Action?

Hopefully there are a lot of you that can't see this update, as you're on your way to TCF Bank Stadium to watch the Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the North Dakota State University Bison. However, for those of you who are outside of the Twin Cities, there are plenty of ways for you to be able to watch or listen to all of the action.

First off, on the television side, the game will be on the Big Ten Network. Based on your cable provider of choice, here are the channels that you can find that on.

DirecTV: Channel 610 (both standard definition and high definition)
Dish Network: Channel 439 (standard definition) or Channel 9500 (high definition)
Verizon FiOS: Channel 85 (standard definition) or Channel 595 (high definition)
AT&T U-Verse: Channel 650 (standard definition) or Channel 1650 (high definition)

If you're not watching on television, you can still listen to the game via the Gopher Radio Network. The flagship stations are KFAN-FM 100.3 and KTCN-AM 1130. If you are outside of those areas, you can find your Gopher Radio Network affiliate by clicking right here. You can also listen if you have SiriusXM Satellite Radio by turning the dial to Channel 117.

In addition, if you don't have any of those things, you can listen to a free online stream provided by the good folks at GopherSports.com by clicking this link here.

We're a little more than an hour away from kickoff at TCF Bank Stadium, ladies and gentlemen, and now you know how you can follow all of the action between the Gophers and the Bison this evening. Please take advantage and support Goldy this evening, wherever you are!

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Bison At Gophers: Is Minnesota Really Ranked Lower Than NDSU?

That's a bit of a trick question, obviously. . .the rankings for the Football Bowl Subdivision are completely separate from those for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly known as 1-AA), so the two teams will never actually appear in the same set of rankings.

Well, until NDSU joins the Big Ten, anyway. . .with the craziness of conference realignment, I'm not sure such a move would surprise anyone at this point, but that's another discussion for another day.

But the folks over at The Daily Gopher found something interesting while doing their research leading up to today's game. They took a look at the rankings put together by Jeff Sagarin of USA Today, who does all sorts of mathematical gymnastics in order to determine who he feels the best college football teams in America are. Between the FBS and FCS, the Sagarin Ratings rank 246 teams in both subdivisions.

According to the latest Sagarin Ratings, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are the 110th best college football team in the nation.

The NDSU Bison, on the other hand, are ranked 89th.

NDSU has a very strong football history. . .they were a dominant force in Division II for a long time before moving up to I-AA, and have continued that tradition since the move. Though they were ranked 12th in the most recent FCS Coaches poll, the Sagarin Ratings only show four teams ahead of the Bison at this point in time.

The Gophers are still very capable of winning this evening's contest at TCF Bank Stadium, but anyone that's expecting Minnesota to simply roll over NDSU should probably think again.

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Bison At Gophers: Minnesota Looks For Second Straight Victory

For the best coverage of Gopher football that you'll find anywhere, be sure to check out our good friends at The Daily Gopher.

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