MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The University of Minnesota football team is on the road to face No. 2-ranked Ohio State Saturday, and they’ll be without a starting running back and at least one of their starting linebackers.
Gophers running back Darius Taylor will miss his fourth straight game with a leg injury suffered in the 12-10 win at Iowa. Taylor did not play against Michigan State, Illinois or Purdue and despite playing in only five games, still leads the Minnesota run game with 591 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Without Taylor, Zach Evans and Jordan Nubin will get the bulk of the carries. Sean Tyler is also an option, but has had issues with fumbles most of the season.
The Gophers are also without starting linebacker Maverick Baranowski, who left last week’s loss at Purdue in the first half and did not return. Safety Aidan Gousby is out for the season, and Cody Lindenberg is questionable. Lindenberg did not play at Purdue last week, and the Gophers allowed 49 points and more than 600 total yards. He was participating in early warm-ups at Ohio State, but was not dressed when the team came out of the locker room pregame. He missed the first seven games of the season with an injury suffered late in fall camp. Without Baranowski and Lindenberg, the Gophers will look to Devon Williams, Matt Kingsbury and Tyler Stolsky at linebacker.
Minnesota heads into Saturday’s game as 27.5-point underdogs, and is in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season. It would also be their third straight loss. If the Gophers lose to the Buckeyes, they’ll need a win over Wisconsin in the regular season finale to earn bowl eligibility. Minnesota has not had a losing season under P.J. Fleck since his first year, in 2017.
Ohio State is 10-0 and has a date with Michigan next weekend to determine the winner of the Big Ten East, a spot in the league title game in Indianapolis and likely the College Football Playoff.