SEP 15, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Gophers wide receiver A.J. Barker (82) scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Western Michigan Broncos at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

Western Michigan Vs. Minnesota: Gophers Move To 3-0 With 28-23 Victory

Minnesota tries to improve to 3-0 to open the season when the Golden Gophers host Western Michigan on Saturday.

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Western Michigan Vs. Minnesota Reactions: A.J. Barker Leads The Gophers To A Perfect 3-0

The Minnesota Golden Gophers moved to 3-0 Saturday by defeating the Western Michigan Broncos, 28-23.

Minnesota won behind the effort of backup quarterback Max Shortell, who entered the game after starter MarQueis Gray was carted off the field in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Shortell came in and performed well, passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns, and wide receiver A.J. Barker starred, catching five passes for 101 yards and three touchdowns.

The game was not perfect by any means, but for a team coming off a 3-9 season in 2011 and now with questions at the quarterback position, Minnesota will take any win it can get.

SB Nation's Minnesota Golden Gophers blog, The Daily Gopher, reacted with pleasure at the win and the performance of their star wide receiver.

After today, regardless of the health of MarQueis Gray, they now have to asks themselves one question on every single play. Where is AJ Barker?

...Overall this was a very good effort by the Gopher pass defense. And the offense was pretty good too, especially when you consider Gray didn't play for over half of the game. We move on. It may not have been the prettiest win, but it was a win. The Gophers are 3-0 and hosing a BCS level opponent next Saturday, under the lights.

Minnesota's next contest comes next week at home against the Syracuse Orange.

For all things Golden Gopher, check out The Daily Gopher. Stay here at SB Nation Minnesota for more coverage of Minnesota football, and SB Nation's college football hub has all the news and analysis you need from around the NCAA.

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Western Michigan Vs. Minnesota 2012: Final Score And Game Recap

The Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated Western Michigan on Saturday, 28-23. Despite losing starting quarterback MarQueis Gray, Minnesota scored all four of its touchdowns in the air with Gray passing for one before leaving the game, and his replacement Max Shortell throwing for the other three.

Shortell played well in Gray's absence, going nine-of-15 on his passes for 181 yards and those three touchdown tosses.

This was A.J. Barker's game. Barker recorded his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and hauled in three of the four touchdown passes.

Minnesota took a commanding 21-10 lead into the half, but Western Michigan rallied as the Gophers had to hold on for the victory. They were outscored 13-7 in the second half.

Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder attempted 43 passes, while completing just 24 of them. Carder had the final minute of the game to lead the Broncos on a last-minute, game-winning touchdown drive, but the Gopher defense held.

For all things Golden Gopher, check out The Daily Gopher. Stay here at SB Nation Minnesota for more coverage of Minnesota football, and SB Nation's college football hubhas all the news and analysis you need from around the NCAA.

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Broncos At Gophers: Max Shortell Connects On Third Touchdown Pass

The Minnesota Golden Gophers' offense is continuing to move the football behind backup quarterback Max Shortell, and they've added another touchdown to increase their lead over the Western Michigan Broncos back to eleven points.

Starting on their own 34-yard line, Shortell converted a third down early on by finding Marcus Jones, and then found A.J. Barker to move the Gophers into Bronco territory. Shortell then did his best MarQueis Gray impression, converting a first down with his legs to move the Gophers inside of the Western Michigan 20-yard line.

Barker nearly had his fourth touchdown catch of the afternoon two plays later, as the Gophers attempted an end around pass with receiver (and former high school quarterback) K.J. Maye. The pass fell incomplete, but a personal foul on the play moved the ball to the 10-yard line. Donnell Kirkwood carried the ball on first down and, after a false start penalty, Shortell found backup tight end Drew Goodger for a 9-yard touchdown pass. It was Shortell's third scoring strike of the afternoon, and it increased the Minnesota lead to 28-17.

Shortell is 8-of-10 on the afternoon for 168 yards and three touchdowns, and has looked very impressive in relief of the injured MarQueis Gray.

The Gophers appear to have intercepted Alex Carder in Western Michigan territory, but the play is currently under review. If it stands, the Gophers will have the ball in Bronco territory once again.

With just under seven minutes left in the third quarter, the Minnesota Golden Gophers lead the Western Michigan Broncos 28-17.

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Broncos At Gophers: Western Michigan Cuts Minnesota Lead To 21-17

The Western Michigan Broncos came out with a very strong drive to open the second half of play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and they have found the end zone to cut the Minnesota lead to four points at 21-17.

Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder went to work on the Gopher defense, and Minnesota didn't seem to have much of an answer for him. Carder completed six out of seven passes on the drive to get the Broncos down to the Minnesota 12-yard line. Carder then converted a third-and-six play to get Western Michigan down to the 1-yard line, and running back Antoin Scriven carried the ball over from one yard out for the touchdown.

After looking fairly solid for much of the first half, the Gopher defense got shredded to start the second. Hopefully Jerry Kill, Tracy Claeys and company can make the necessary adjustments.

With 11 minutes left in the third quarter of play, the Minnesota Golden Gophers lead the Western Michigan Broncos by a score of 21-17.

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MarQueis Gray Leaves Game With Left Ankle Injury

Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray left Saturday's game against Western Michigan on a cart after suffering an injury to his left ankle and his return is doubtful. Gray was brought down on the first carry of a second quarter drive in which he lost four yards on the play.

Minnesota was trailing 10-7 when Gray left the game. Max Shortell came in as Gray's replacement and was successful from the start. Shortell went into halftime having completed five of his six pass attempts for 125 yards and two touchdown tosses in just over four minutes of action.

Before Gray went out with his injury, he'd completed just three of his six passes for 29 yards, one of which was a 10-yard toss to A.J. Barker, who grabbed three touchdown passes in the first half.

For all things Golden Gopher, check out The Daily Gopher. Stay here at SB Nation Minnesota for more coverage of Minnesota football, and SB Nation's college football hub has all the news and analysis you need from around the NCAA.

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Western Michigan Vs. Minnesota: Golden Gophers Lead At Halftime, 21-10

The Minnesota Golden Gophers lead at halftime against Western Michigan, 21-10. But the Gophers may have to finish this game without their starting quarterback MarQueis Gray, who was helped off the field with an ankle injury and taken to the locker room on a cart.

Gray was replaced by Max Shortell.

Western Michigan struck first with a field goal about midway through the first quarter. Andrew Haldeman converted from 35 yards out to give Western Michigan a 3-0 lead. But the Gophers came up with an interception on their following defensive possession in Western Michigan territory.

That play led to Gray's 10-yard pass to A.J. Barker, which along with the point after attempt, put Minnesota up, 7-3. From there, the teams traded scores. Then at the end of the half, Barker caught his third touchdown pass of the game on a 53-yard pass from Shortell.

For all things Golden Gopher, check out The Daily Gopher. Stay here at SB Nation Minnesota for more coverage of Minnesota football, and SB Nation's college football hubhas all the news and analysis you need from around the NCAA.

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Broncos At Gophers: A.J. Barker's Third Touchdown Gives Gophers 21-10 Lead

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are opening it up a bit against the Western Michigan Broncos, as junior receiver A.J. Barker is having a career afternoon.

After a Western Michigan punt, the Gophers started out in Western Michigan territory at the 45-yard line, but a 15-yard penalty on the first play from scrimmage made it first-and-25 for the Gophers. But that didn't matter to Max Shortell, as he found A.J. Barker on third-and-18 on a crossing route. Barker caught the pass, managed to avoid one tackler, and had nothing but green in front of him for what turned into a 53-yard touchdown.

Barker now has four catches for 84 yards on the afternoon and all three Minnesota touchdowns on the afternoon. Max Shortell continues to impress at quarterback, having completed five of his six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

We've hit halftime at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are holding a 21-10 lead over the Broncos of Western Michigan.

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Broncos At Gophers: Max Shortell To A.J. Barker Gives Minnesota The Lead Back

Depending on the significance of the injury to quarterback MarQueis Gray, we might have a bit of a quarterback controversy on our hands for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Max Shortell came in off of the bench after Gray was carted off of the field with an ankle injury, and immediately started to light up the Western Michigan defense. His first throw was a 36-yard completion to Derrick Engel, and his next throw was incomplete to Devin Crawford-Tufts, but drew a flag for pass interference to move the Gophers into Western Michigan territory.

Shortell then found Isaac Fruechte for 24 yards down to the Western Michigan 11-yard line and, after a 2-yard run by Shortell, he found receiver A.J. Barker for a touchdown, Barker's second of the day. The catch, along with Jordan Wettstein's extra point, put the Gophers back ahead of the Broncos by a score of 14-10.

Shortell was 3-for-3 for 65 yards and the touchdown on the drive.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half at TCF Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have re-taken the lead over the Western Michigan Broncos, 14-10.

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MarQueis Gray Injury: Gophers Quarterback Goes Down With Leg Injury

Things have quickly gone from bad to worse for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, as quarterback Marqueis Gray has been helped off the field with an injury.

On the first play following a Western Michigan touchdown, Gray took a snap and ran over the left side. He was met by a large pile behind the line of scrimmage, and he got pushed back for a loss of yardage. After the pile was cleared, Gray remained on the turf and had difficulty getting to his feet.

Eventually Gray got up, and was assisted off of the field by a couple of his offensive linemen, not putting any weight on his left leg. On the sidelines, the trainers appear to be focused on his left ankle. We have not gotten word on how severe the injury is yet.

Max Shortell is in at quarterback for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and got himself off to a nice start by hitting Derrick Engel for a 36-yard completion. The Gophers just got a big pass interference call, and a pass to Isaac Fruechte has put them deep into Western Michigan territory.

We'll keep you up to date on the injury to MarQueis Gray as we get more on it.

With less than three minutes left in the first half, the Gophers are driving, trailing Western Michigan by a score of 10-7.

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Broncos At Gophers: Western Michigan Takes Advantage Of Minnesota Turnover

In a bit of a surprise, we've gotten a low-scoring game at TCF Bank Stadium this afternoon. Each team has made a big mistake deep in their own territory, and both teams have taken advantage of it with a touchdown.

MarQueis Gray converted an interception into a touchdown for the Minnesota Golden Gophers to give them a lead, but it was Gray's turnover that allowed the Western Michigan Broncos to take the lead back. After a penalty on a punt return started the Gophers at their own 5-yard line, Gray took a snap and ran over the left side, dragging defenders with him. Unfortunately, he put the ball on the turf, and Western Michigan recovered the fumble at the Minnesota 18-yard line.

The Broncos took advantage. After a third down conversion from Alex Carder to Jamie Wilson put the ball on the 6-yard line, Dareyon Chance took a handoff and went six yards untouched into the end zone for a Western Michigan touchdown and a 10-7 Broncos lead.

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Broncos At Gophers: Michael Carter Interception Leads To A.J. Barker Touchdown

The Minnesota Golden Gophers needed a spark to get themselves going against the Western Michigan Broncos, and they got one from senior Michael Carter.

After the Gophers were forced to punt the ball away, Western Michigan took over at their own 15-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Broncos quarterback Alex Carder was once again looking for freshman Jamie Wilson, but Carter stepped in front of the pass for the interception, returning the pick all the way down to the Western Michigan 8-yard line.

A false start from Ed Olson pushed the Gophers back to the 13-yard line, and after a couple of Donnell Kirkwood carries, MarQueis Gray dropped back on third-and-goal and found junior receiver A.J. Barker for a 10-yard touchdown strike. Jordan Wettstein added the extra point, and the Gophers took their first lead of the afternoon at 7-3.

We have exactly two minutes remaining in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are ahead of the Western Michigan Broncos by a score of 7-3. Keep it right here for the latest updates on the Gophers quest to get to 3-0 for the first time in. . .well, a really long time.

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Broncos At Gophers: Western Michigan Gets On The Board First

We're underway from TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and the home team finds themselves trailing in the early going, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers trail the Western Michigan Broncos by a score of 3-0.

Minnesota got the ball first in this one, and looked fairly good on the opening drive. Donnell Kirkwood carried the ball three times for 26 yards, and MarQueis Gray found A.J. Barker and Isaac Fruechte to help get the Gophers down to the Western Michigan 21-yard line. However, a third down pass fell incomplete, and kicker Jordan Wettstein pushed his 38-yard field goal attempt wide to the left, leaving the Gophers with no points.

Western Michigan took over, and quarterback Alex Carder moved the Broncos down the field. He did most of his damage to freshman wide receiver Jamie Wilson, who caught three of Carder's four completions on the drive, and racked up 45 receiving yards. The Broncos shot themselves in the foot with a false start and a delay of game penalty, and wound up settling for a field goal. Western Michigan kicker Andrew Haldeman hit the kick from 35 yards out, and the Broncos took the first lead of the afternoon, 3-0.

The Gophers are getting ready to take over on their second drive, and they'll start from the 25-yard line after a touchback on the kickoff.

With about six minutes left in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium, the Western Michigan Broncos lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 3-0.

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Western Michigan Vs. Minnesota 2012: Game Time, TV Schedule, Odds And More

Minnesota tries to improve to 3-0 to open the season when the Golden Gophers host Western Michigan on Saturday.

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