MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim will miss the remainder of the season because of a lower left leg injury suffered in Thursday's season opener against Ohio State, coach P.J. Fleck announced Monday. Ibrahim will undergo surgery on Tuesday.
"There is no replacing Mohamed Ibrahim'' Fleck said. "He's a special, special player.''
Ibrahim, the reigning Big Ten running back of the year and a player Fleck considered the best running back in the country, was injured in the closing seconds of the third quarter on his 30th carry of the game. He went down after making a cut and pushing off with his left leg. Ibrahim tried to limp off the field but fell to the ground and was tended to by the team's athletic training staff. He went to the sideline and was checked in a tent before leaving for the locker room with a protective boot on his left foot.
Ibrahim had rushed for 163 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 19 yards against Ohio State, giving him a total of 3,003 rushing yards and 33 rushing TDs. The yardage ranks eight in program history and the TD total is tied for third. Last year, he averaged 153.7 rushing yards per game, which ranked second nationally, and earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press.
A redshirt senior from Baltimore, Ibrahim will have a year of eligibility remaining in 2022 if he chooses to use it and could apply for a medical hardship waiver to gain another year. The NCAA did not charge players a year of eligibility in the COVID-19-impacted 2020 season.
With Ibrahim out, the Gophers will turn to the depth behind him to fill in. Trey Potts rushed 10 times for 34 yards and caught one pass for 12 yards Thursday, giving him 210 career rushing yards, while fellow redshirt sophomore Cam Wiley carried three times for 4 yards vs. Ohio State and has 215 career yards. Bryce Williams, a redshirt junior, rushed once for a 2-yard touchdown Thursday and has 541 career yards, including a 33-carry, 141-yard effort against Miami (Ohio) as a true freshman making his first start in 2018. Also in the mix could be redshirt freshman Ky Thomas and true freshman Mar'Keise "Bucky'' Irving.
"Trey Potts is a tremendous tailback, and you got a chance to see that, too,'' Fleck said after Thursday's game. "Bryce Williams has played a ton of football here. Cam Wiley has played a ton of football. … We have a deep backfield, maybe a little inexperienced. One way to get experienced is to go out and play. This is a team, and the next guy's got to go in. I've got a lot of confidence in those guys.''
Q&A: What to know and expect in college football’s second season of COVID-19
Are there any attendance restrictions?
What happens if teams can’t play?
Are vaccines or negative tests required for fans to attend?
Not at most places. Florida schools cannot require vaccines, but Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin recently acknowledged that UF could require fans to show proof of a negative test. The Gators are not doing so, and we’re not aware of any school in the state doing so, either.
A few programs elsewhere, however, are requiring fans to show proof of a negative test or vaccine. That list includes LSU, Oregon, Oregon State and Boston College.
What about masks and other measures?
Are vaccines required for players or coaches?
Not at most places, including ones in Florida. FSU coach Mike Norvell said about 90% of his team has started to become fully vaccinated. The Gators are also at about 90%.
Some schools or states are requiring shots for students, employees or both. They include Ohio State, Wake Forest, Washington and Washington State. That has created drama similar to what’s happening in the rest of society.
A former four-star recruit, Peyton Powell, announced recently that he’s transferring from Rutgers because of its vaccine requirement.
Cougars coach Nick Rolovich could not attend the Pac-12′s media day this summer because he was unvaccinated; he has since said he’ll abide by his governor’s mandate that requires university employees to get the shot or receive a medical or religious exemption.