Sept 22, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood (20) gets picked by teammates after scoring a one yard touchdown in the first half against the Syracuse Orange at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Vs. Syracuse: The Gophers Are Undefeated After 4 Games

The Minnesota Golden Gophers defense was the big story on Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium, as they forced four Syracuse turnovers. With the win, Minnesota has already surpassed last season's win total.

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

The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Syracuse Orange face off Saturday in a non-conference matchup.

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MarQueis Gray Injury Shouldn't Change Gophers' Offensive Strategy

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will start quarterback Max Shortell this week in place of the injured MarQueis Gray, and though the quarterbacks have different playing styles, the Golden Gophers won't change their offensive philosophy much.

Gray leans much more toward the "dual threat" archetype while Shortell is a pocket passer, but Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said the underlying offensive philosophy won't change even if plays are called a bit differently with one guy in or another.

From Marcus R. Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Limegrover likened it to how the Baylor Bears catered to Robert Griffin III's strengths as a quarterback. From Fuller's story:

"We're going to block the same way," he said. "We're going to run the same routes. There are certain parts of it now we can move into that game plan because Max is there that we maybe stayed away from because it wasn't MarQueis' strength. One part goes in, one part goes out. But for the overall continuity, with the whole group, it's not a seismic shift in what our philosophy is."

Gray could miss up to a month with a high ankle sprain. Shortell entered the second quarter of last week's win over the Western Michigan Broncos and threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

The Golden Gophers kick off against the Syracuse Orange at 7 p.m. CT Saturday.

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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Max Shortell Confident He'll Do Better As Gophers Starter

Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Max Shortell will start against the Syracuse Orange on Saturday night, and the team is hoping that he won't dwell on the results of his last start, a 58-0 loss to the Michigan Wolverines in 2011. The good news for Minnesota is that Shortell is a year older and Syracuse, of course, is not nearly as good as the 2011 Wolverines team that won the Sugar Bowl. Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover says that the difference in Shortell's demeanor is obvious.

"There's a definite air of confidence now. He knows he can go out and beat anybody. He's a quarterback. He's got that air about him. Didn't have that last year."

(via Minnesota Star-Tribune)

Shortell is filling in for MarQueis Gray, who injured himself in Minnesota's win over the Western Michigan Broncos. In that game, Shortell completed 10-of-17 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns in relief.

For more on the Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher or stick with SB Nation Minnesota. For more news, notes and analysis from around the country, head over to SB Nation's NCAA news hub.

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MarQueis Gray Injury Could Lead To Gophers' Quarterback Controversy

Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray suffered a high ankle sprain Saturday against Western Michigan, and he's expected to miss a month or so. In that time, could backup Max Shortell give reason for the coaching staff to question who deserves the snaps when Gray is healthy?

Or, as Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins is arguing, could Shortell force the question of who deserves more snaps.

Scoggins:

The Gophers have two quarterbacks with two different skill sets. They have different strengths, different weaknesses, different personalities.

Gray is a better runner and athlete, Max Shortell is a better passer. The offense relies on both facets, and the coaching staff trusts them in different situations.

So why not use both to maximize that position? It's worth considering to see if a tag-team approach provides some benefits.

Scoggins is basing his argument on one game, one which Shortell entered in the second quarter, against a defense not prepared for his style of play. But still, the point has its merits. Gray has only thrown for 398 yards in nine full quarters of play, and Shortell seems to be much more comfortable in the passing game.

Whatever the split is — and Scoggins explicitly stated he's not calling for a 50-50 split — it's an idea. And it's one Minnesota will be forced to confront in one way or another as Shortell handles the job on his own until Gray's ankle heals.

The Golden Gophers host the Syracuse Orange at 7 p.m. CT Saturday.

For more on the Gophers, head over to the Daily Gopher or stick with SB Nation Minnesota. For more news, notes and analysis from around the country, check out SB Nation's NFL news hub.

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