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By Dave Campbell / AP Sports Writer, Published September 08 2012

Gray’s 4 TDs lead Gophers over New Hampshire

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.

“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.

Andy Vailas replaced Sean Goldrich at quarterback and was 18-for-34 for 158 yards and an interception for the Wildcats (1-1), who failed on all four of their fourth-down conversions. Goldrich separated his left shoulder at the end of a short run on their second play from scrimmage.

New Hampshire 7 0 0 0 – 7

Minnesota 16 14 7 7 – 44

First Quarter

Minn – Safety, 10:12.

Minn – Fruechte 27 pass from Gray (Wettstein kick), 9:54.

UNH – Setian 5 run (MacArthur kick), :34.

Minn – Gray 75 run (Wettstein kick), :23.

Second Quarter

Minn – Rabe 2 pass from Gray (Wettstein kick), 6:50.

Minn – Gray 11 run (Wettstein kick), 4:56.

Third Quarter

Minn – Kirkwood 2 run (Wettstein kick), 3:11.

Fourth Quarter

Minn – Barker 19 pass from Shortell (Wettstein kick), 6:40.

A – 47,022.

UNH Minn

First downs 14 19

Rushes-yards 32-68 52-240

Passing 163 172

Comp-Att-Int 19-36-1 11-14-0

Return Yards 0 50

Punts-Avg. 5-40.2 4-42.0

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-1

Penalties-Yards 5-45 3-33

Time of Possession 25:06 34:54

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: New Hampshire, Steriti 6-34, Setian 5-33, Owens 6-20,

Goldrich 1-4, A.Vailas 13-(minus 8), MacArthur 1-(minus 15). Minnesota,

Gray 17-109, Kirkwood 17-70, Jones 3-20, Shortell 3-17, Wright 3-12,

Maye 4-11, Gillum 5-1.

PASSING: New Hampshire, A.Vailas 18-34-1-158, Goldrich 1-2-0-5.

Minnesota, Gray 6-8-0-100, Shortell 5-6-0-72.

RECEIVING: New Hampshire, Harris 6-61, Giansante 3-55, Orlando 3-22,

Mello 3-15, Steriti 2-10, Ciccone 1-3, Setian 1-(minus 3). Minnesota,

Rabe 3-38, Fruechte 2-53, Barker 2-29, Engel 1-22, Jones 1-14,

Crawford-Tufts 1-9, Hutton 1-7.