Gophers slip by W. Michigan, improve to 3-0

Just a few weeks into the 2012 college football season, the Minnesota Gophers already have three wins – the same number they had in each of the last two seasons. On Saturday, backup quarterback Max Shortell had touchdown passes on his first three possessions after starter MarQueis Gray went out with an ankle and knee injury. The team survived a late Western Michigan rally and is now looking forward to Syracuse in a night game next week.
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The Gophers are 3-0, already with the same number of wins the team had all season two years running. Stunned? As "Jerry Maguire" character Bob Sugar put it: "It's real – you should say something."

Minnesota held off Western Michigan on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in a 28-23 win. The story of the day was Gophers backup quarterback Max Shortell, who is not short at all at 6-foot-6, and who was stellar when he went in for starting quarterback MarQueis Gray, FoxSports North reports.

Gray was felled in the second quarter after nothing too spectacular – he was 3 for 6 for 29 yards passing. He had 11 carries for 57 yards rushing, the Star Tribune reported. And his last attempt went badly awry, as he was swarmed by tacklers and hurt. Gray watched the second half on crutches, with a boot on his left foot, the Strib noted.

Coach Jerry Kill said Gray told him after the game it was a high-ankle sprain, the Pioneer Press reports.

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Gophers improve to 4-0 with win over Syracuse

Donnell Kirkwood rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns and back-up quarterback Max Shortell stepped up for the injured MarQueis Gray Saturday night as the Golden Gophers improved to 4-0 with 17-10 win over Syracuse at TCF Bank Stadium. The win marked the first 4-0 start for the Gophers since 2008.

Minnesota Gophers quarterback could be sidelined for a month

MarQueis Gray was helped off the field during the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday with a left high-ankle sprain. Coach Jerry Kill tells the Pioneer Press the senior quarterback could be out two to four weeks. Sophomore Max Shortell is expected to start the next game against Syracuse. He replaced Gray against Western Michigan and led the Gophers to a 28-23 victory.

Gophers start freshman Nelson at QB, Gray at wide receiver

Gopher freshman quarterback Philip Nelson will start against the Badgers Saturday. Nelson began the season as a third-string quarterback, but started Marqueis Gray has been bothered by a sprained ankle and back-up Max Shortell hurt his neck last week against Northwestern. Gray will start at wide receiver.

Shortell likely to start for Gophers

Jerry Kill is "cautiously optimistic" that MarQueis Gray will play Saturday when the Gophers host Northwestern for a homecoming game at TCF Bank Stadium. However, Fox Sports North reports it's highly likely that Max Shortell gets a third straight start.