Facing a compressed schedule because the Gophers play Indiana on Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium, coach P.J. Fleck on Tuesday said he still wasn’t certain if true freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad will be available.
Annexstad suffered an internal midsection injury late in the first half at Nebraska on Saturday and was briefly hospitalized for evaluation. Redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan took over for Annexstad in the second half and led three touchdown drives.
“We’ll see if [Annexstad] plays. I’m not sure yet. I have not made the decision,” Fleck said on his radio show, adding that the decision could be in the hands of his medical staff. “If he’s healthy enough to play, we’ll get him in there. If not, Tanner will get the start.”
Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca was impressed with Morgan, who went 11-of-16 for 214 yards with an interception.
“He played with confidence. He responded well to different situations,” Ciarrocca said. “He wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t faze him.”
Morgan also rushed four times for 35 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown run. His work on option plays provided the Gophers a different look.
“We’re not going to mistake him for Herschel Walker, but obviously his escapability is better than Zack’s with his health,” Ciarrocca said, pointing to Annexstad’s ankle injury. “That makes a difference. I called the same plays but maybe a couple more with some of the things [Morgan] does better.”
Hoosiers coach Tom Allen said his team will prepare for both QBs.
• The Gophers depth chart for Friday is nearly the same as last week. One change: Tight end Jake Paulson is listed as a starter. Last week, he was in an “or” situation with Ko Kieft as starter.
• Fleck said the availability of defensive back Antonio Shenault, who suffered a head injury Saturday, will be a game-time decision. “We’ll treat it like he won’t play,” Fleck said.
• Defensive tackle O.J. Smith, who has missed the past two games because of a head injury, is not on the depth chart.
• Austin Winfield, a senior safety at the Woodlands (Texas) High School and the brother of Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr., received a preferred walk-on offer from the Gophers, he said on Twitter. The offer is the first for the 5-5, 155-pound Winfield.