Minnesota’s leading receiver, senior Derrick Engel, is out for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL during practice last Sunday. The Chaska native had accumulated 401 yards on 25 receptions and five touchdowns this season. It’s a crushing blow for the Gophers, who will play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday.
The Gophers will need every yard of offense against the Badgers as Wisconsin has a defense that’s giving up only 14 points per contest. Without Engel, starting quarterback Philip Nelson will likely look to true freshmans Donovahn Jones and Drew Wolitarsky to step up in his absence.
Engel has been Minnesota’s most consistent receiver, which hasn’t been easy considering the quarterback indecisiveness that marred the earlier portion of the season. But in the last few games since Nelson has been the starter, Engel has been the No. 1 option with a highlight game against Indiana in which he had two touchdowns on four receptions for 97 yards.