Gray’s 4 TDs lead Gophers past New Hampshire 44-7

Published 9:25 am Monday, September 10, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — This is how Big Ten teams are supposed to fare against FCS foes: take an early lead, dominate on both sides of the ball and bring the backups in at the end.

For Minnesota, even the easy victories are cause for celebration.

MarQueis Gray threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more by halftime, and the Gophers scored their most points in a game in five years by beating New Hampshire 44-7 on Saturday.

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“A lot more comfortable. A lot more confident,” said Gray, who passed only eight times but completed six for 100 yards and scores to Isaac Fruechte and John Rabe. Gray also gained 109 yards on 17 rushing attempts, including a 75-yard untouched burst through the middle of the line for a momentum-swinging, career-long touchdown at the end of the first quarter.

“He’s 260 (pounds) solid, man, and moving like a freight train. I knew he was gone,” said Donnell Kirkwood, who ran for 70 yards and a third-quarter score on 17 carries for the Golden Gophers (2-0), who had lost three of their last five games against FCS opponents.