It has been a shockingly outstanding season for the Minnesota Golden Gophers football program (8-2 overall, 4-2 in the Big 10), but if one report is true, they will be short-handed for the rest of their presumptive push toward a January 1st bowl game.
— JoeChristensen (@JoeCStrib) November 22, 2013
Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Minnesota’s leading receiver, senior Derrick Engel, has a torn ACL that will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the 2013 season. It’s important to note that the Minnesota program has gone to great lengths to not confirm this injury, with Engel’s availability for this week listed as questionable. However, if the report is true, it’s a potentially crushing blow for the Gophers.
Arguably, the toughest games on the Minnesota schedule this season are the final two match-ups with Michigan State and Wisconsin, and the timing of this couldn’t be worse. Passing offense is already a weakness for the team (114th in the country in passing yardage), but without Engel, it’s downright ugly through the air. Pair that with a suffocating Michigan State defense this Saturday, and the recipe is there for a disastrous showing.
There should be more clarity in this situation in the very near future (perhaps before Saturday), but if Engel is indeed gone, it’ll be surprising (to me, at least) if Minnesota can compete against the Spartans and Badgers.