What was expected to be a shootout has turned into a slugfest, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers lead the Syracuse Orange by a score of 7-3 as we head into the locker room at halftime.
Minnesota got off to a fast start, intercepting the first pass attempt from Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, but Jordan Wettstein could not convert on a 44-yard field goal attempt, and the game remained scoreless. After forcing a Syracuse punt, Minnesota scored the game's lone touchdown, as Donnell Kirkwood found the end zone from two yards out.
Syracuse answered the Minnesota touchdown with a long, 13-play drive, but they could only get three points out of it, as kicker Ross Krautman hit a field goal from 33 yards out to make the score 7-3 in favor of the Golden Gophers.
The second quarter was scoreless, though the Gophers gave their fans some excitement near the end of it. Quarterback Max Shortell, starting for the injured MarQueis Gray, appeared to find Devin Crawford-Tufts for a 34-yard touchdown pass, but a holding penalty on Jon Christenson negated the play. The Gophers couldn't move the ball any further from there, and the teams went into halftime with Minnesota leading 7-3.
The Gophers have outgained the Orange in terms of total yardage in the first half, 184 yards to 151. The key thus far is that Syracuse has turned the ball over two times, but the Gophers failed to convert either of them into points.
In addition to the 44-yarder he missed early on, Wettstein also missed a 26-yard chip shot in the second quarter, which is another part of why the score remains 7-3.
Max Shortell has shown a good command of the offense thus far, having connected on nine of his fifteen pass attempts for 128 yards. Donnell Kirkwood has led the way for Minnesota on the ground with 12 carries for 38 yards and the game's lone touchdown. For Syracuse, Ryan Nassib has completed eight of fifteen passes for 82 yards and one interception. Jerome Smith is the leading rusher for the Orange with 52 yards on six carries.
We're at halftime at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers lead the Syracuse Orange by a score of 7-3.