Our worst fears have been confirmed
Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim will miss the rest of the season after suffering a lower leg injury in the Golden Gophers’ 45-31 season-opening loss to Ohio State, head coach P.J. Fleck announced during his weekly media availability Monday morning.
Fleck declined to get into specifics regarding the injury but did say it will require surgery. Ibrahim is looking at a recovery timetable of 4-6 months.
Ibrahim rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns against the Buckeyes before exiting the game with a lower leg injury in the third quarter. Expectations were high this season for Ibrahim after he led the Big Ten in rushing last year and was named Big Ten Running Back of the Year, in addition to earning First-Team All-Big Ten and AP Third-Team All-American honors. Without him, the Gophers’ ground game will need to find a new workhorse (or, more likely, workhorses).
All eyes now turn to the running backs behind Ibrahim on the depth chart, none of whom have made much of an impression in limited game action. Trey Potts has served as Ibrahim’s primary back-up the last two years and rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries in the season opener. In his career, Potts only has 36 carries for 206 rushing yards and two touchdowns. You can also expect more carries for Cam Wiley, who only toted the rock three times against Ohio State. Wiley’s career up to this point has amounted to 43 carries for 215 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Bryce Williams is the most experienced running back on the roster now after rushing for 502 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman in 2018. But since then, he has only notched 21 carries for 39 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The two unknowns are Ky Thomas, who was a freshman last season, and Mar’Keise “Bucky” Irving, a freshman who enrolled this fall.
Expect the rushing attack to be a focal point for the Gophers against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday after the RedHawks surrendered 247 rushing yards in their season-opening loss to Cincinnati.