If Max Shortell is nervous about making his big debut today, he's hiding it well.
Shortell, the true freshman that has come in to relieve an injured MarQueis Gray, led an outstanding drive to get the Minnesota Golden Gophers to within two points of the USC Trojans in the 2011 season opener. The Gophers now trail by a score of 19-17.
The Gophers took over at their own 17-yard line, and Shortell wasted little time as he connected with Marcus Jones for 23 yards. Minnesota appeared to be in trouble, facing 4th and 7 at the USC 46-yard line, but Shortell remained calm and hit Da'Jon McKnight for a 12-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Shortell kept moving the Gophers down the field, and eventually found Brandon Green on a 12-yard catch and run to get the Gophers their second touchdown of the game. Chris Hawthorne hit the extra point, and the Gophers are now within two points of the heavily-favored Trojans.
With five minutes left in the game, the Trojans have the ball, and Minnesota is trying to get it back, trailing 19-17.