Engel's knee injury thins options at wide receiver for Gophers

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 20, 2013 - 11:18 AM

The severity of the knee injury to the team’s top wide receiver is still uncertain.

Just when the Gophers found a rhythm to their passing game, they’ve lost their top wide receiver because of a knee injury.

Derrick Engel injured his knee during a one-on-one passing drill in Sunday’s practice, leaving him doubtful for Saturday’s showdown against No. 16 Wisconsin.

There was Internet speculation that Engel had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which would end the redshirt senior’s college football career, but coach Jerry Kill said he first needed to see the results of Engel’s MRI exam.

“I’m not going to [speculate],” Kill said. “That’s the worst thing you can do. It could be a medial [collateral] ligament, it could be cartilage. Until you get an MRI, you don’t know those things.”

Still, either of those injuries likely would cost Engel the final two regular-season games, at least. That would be a big loss for the Gophers, especially against Wisconsin and Michigan State — two of the top five scoring defenses in the country.

Engel leads the Gophers with 25 receptions for 405 yards and five touchdowns. They don’t have another wide receiver with more than eight receptions or a single touchdown catch this season.

That list includes freshman Drew Wolitarsky (eight catches, 109 yards), junior Isaac Fruechte (8-97), freshman Donovahn Jones (6-79), sophomore KJ Maye (6-70) and junior Logan Hutton (3-31).

Redshirt freshman tight end Maxx Williams is second on the team with 17 catches for 299 yards and four touchdowns, followed by running back David Cobb (14-148).

Engel’s emergence was critical for a team that since last season had lost receivers A.J. Barker, Devin Crawford-Tufts and Andre McDonald.

“We’ve had people make some catches,” Kill said. “Derrick [Engel] and Maxx Williams, and a lot of people haven’t realized how good those two freshmen [Wolitarsky and Jones] are starting to play.”

The Gophers averaged only 117.7 passing yards through their first seven games, but that number jumped to 223.3 yards over their past three games.

Wisconsin has the nation’s seventh-best rushing defense (98.8 yards per game) but was vulnerable against the pass in losses at Arizona State and Ohio State. The Sun Devils passed for 352 yards, and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller threw for four touchdowns.

The Badgers have a talented front seven but have more holes in the secondary. Without the speedy Engel, the Gophers would have a harder time exploiting the defensive backs.

Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson said it was difficult seeing Engel get injured.

“You’re a little worried,” Nelson said. “You see a receiver go down, and we’re not particularly deep there, and Derrick’s a great player. So you wish the best for him, and hopefully he’ll be able to play [Saturday]. We’re not sure yet, but once again I’m confident in our [other] receivers.”

Engel could become the team’s third starter to go down with a season-ending injury. Junior cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun tore an ACL in the season’s second game, and redshirt sophomore center Jon Christenson broke a leg in the Nov. 2 victory at Indiana.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 0 Top 4th Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Houston - B. Peacock 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
San Francisco - T. Hudson 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Kelly
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Detroit - R. Ray 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Miami - H. Alvarez 7:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
San Diego - O. Despaigne 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 6:30 PM
Oakland 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 9:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 8:00 PM
FC Dallas
Montreal 7:30 PM
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Chicago 6:30 PM
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question