The Gophers keep losing games, and now they're losing players, too.

       Defensive tackle Brandon Kirksey has been suspended for Saturday's game at Michigan State for unspecified reasons, Minnesota coach Jeff Horton said Tuesday. But Kirksey -- a team captain -- has already met with Horton, and th

Brandon Kirksey

Brandon Kirksey

e coach said he expects Kirksey to return to action Nov. 14 at Illinois.


      Michael Carter and Ra'Shede Hageman, on the other hand, probably won't play again this season, after Horton suspended them "so they can focus on academics."

     Hageman, a redshirt freshman who backed up Kirksey at defensive tackle, appeared in eight games this season and made five tackles, while Carter, a sophomore cornerback, had two interceptions and 24 tackles in seven games.

    Senior offensive linemen Matt Carufel and Dom Alford, meanwhile, have been sidelined by knee injuries and will not play, leaving the Gophers with six healthy offensive linemen to cover five positions, Horton said. But it's possible that both players could still return this year, the coach added.