Three Stars of the Game

Saturday started with the sun shining as fans filed in, the band played and Navy Seals parachuted into TCF Bank Stadium. The place was buzzing as the Gophers were ready to receive the kick. Unfortunately for the Maroon and Gold, Saturday ended with a near-empty student section, dismayed fans and a scoreboard that read 41-38 in favor of the Coyotes of South Dakota.

The high scoring game was filled with great performances from players on both teams. The three stars from this game were Dante Warren and Will Powell of the visiting South Dakota Coyotes as well as Gopher quarterback/wide receiver MarQueis Gray.

Junior quarterback Dante Warren's first start came just last week in a loss to Central Florida. In his second start, Warren was nothing short of spectacular. Warren had 21 completions in 30 attempts for three touchdowns as well as two interceptions.

Not only did Warren dominate through the air, he also beat the Gophers on the ground too. On just ten carries, Warren racked up 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In all, he accounted for 433 total yards and five touchdowns.

Warren showed great pose in his second start. In passing situations he rolled out and found the open receiver with precision. The Coyotes used lots of quick slants and screens to keep the Gopher secondary in close. Then Warren could hit for deeper passes over the inexperienced Gopher safeties and corners. Warren hit three different receivers for passes of over 30 yards.

On the ground Warren had multiple plays where he rolled out and burned Gopher defenders around the outside. The most impressive play was a fourth and one that Warren took on a naked bootleg for 26 yards and the touchdown that ended up being the game winner. The diversity of South Dakota's offense as well as Warren's play were the difference makers in today's game.

Warren's main target on Saturday was sophomore wideout, Will Powell. Powell had a very impressive game with eight catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Powell appeared to have good hands and even more impressive skills after the catch. He had multiple short catches that he turned into big plays with his feet. Powell also had the speed to fly past defenders which he showed on a 61 yard play for a touchdown. Powell helped lead the Coyotes receivers to lots of yards and a win against Minnesota.

In a game that the Gophers lost in which they were heavy favorites, it might be hard to find bright spots amidst the blunders. One of the highlights for the Gophers was the play of quarterback/wide receiver MarQueis Gray. Gray played a great without ever taking a snap at quarterback. The 6-foot-4 Gray snagged a game high nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Adam Webber looked for Gray on countless downs and the connection between the two was obvious. Like most of the Gophers, Gray's play was not without fault. In the second half, Gray had a drop as well as a ball in which he did not adjust to in the air that could have gone for a score. The growing pains for Gray are to be expected at wide receiver. Overall, Gray had a great game for the Gophers and looks to have a bright future as one of Minnesota's top receivers.

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