Injuries keep mounting for Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen, who could miss the rest of the season after hurting his left foot in last week’s victory over Rutgers.
Coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday that Lingen is definitely out for Saturday’s game at Illinois but wouldn’t rule out the co-captain for the rest of the season.
“I don’t know that for a fact, so I’m not going to comment any more than that,” Claeys said.
Lingen, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last year, missed the season’s first game while rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. He returned against Indiana State, only to suffer a broken clavicle in the third quarter.
After missing three more games, Lingen made it through the full Maryland game but suffered the foot injury in the third quarter against the Scarlet Knights on Saturday.
“I feel really sorry for him, all the things that he’s had to go through this season,” quarterback Mitch Leidner said. “It’s just been tough to see because he’s such a great person and a great player as well.”
Nate Wozniak, the Gophers’ next-best pass-catching tight end, has 16 career receptions, compared to 38 for Lingen.
“When [Lingen] played against Indiana State, it was just amazing, how things just opened up a lot more because of his route-running ability,” Leidner said. “And it’s so difficult for linebackers and even safeties to have to try to guard him because of his size and speed.”
Richardson, Pirsig out
Defensive tackle Steven Richardson is going through the concussion protocol, so he is out for Saturday’s game, as is offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig.
Richardson leads the Gophers with seven tackles for a loss, including three sacks. The junior from Chicago will miss a chance to play before his friends and family in Champaign.
Pirsig has been out since spraining an ankle against Iowa on Oct. 8, but the team is optimistic about him returning next week to play against Purdue.
Can’t count that
After kicking his winning field goal against Rutgers, Emmit Carpenter got pancaked by Gophers center Tyler Moore in the celebration.
Asked if Moore gets credit for that in the Knockdown Cup competition among the offensive lineman, left guard Jared Weyler said, “No, but I know he was trying to get a point out of it.”
Offensive line coach Bart Miller started the competition to reward the lineman who knocks down the most defenders this season.
“It’s a close race,” Miller said. “Tyler has taken the lead, but I think he’s up one on Jared. Jonah had the lead before but he’s been out, so he has come catching up to do. If he plays the way he did when he started the year, he will be right there, too.”