Minnesota loses Mo Ibrahim to season-ending leg injury

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MINNEAPOLIS — With a senior-laden lineup led by running back Mo Ibrahim, Minnesota entered the season with a prime opportunity to bounce back from a rough year and compete with rivals Wisconsin and Iowa for the West Division title.

One week in, the Gophers have already been handed a major setback.

Ibrahim will miss the rest of the season because of a lower left leg injury, coach P.J. Fleck announced. The fifth-year player from Baltimore will have surgery Tuesday and need four to six months to recover. He was a second-team preseason Associated Press All-America selection.

“This isn’t like you can just say, `OK, we’ll just put the next guy in.’ You can’t do that. He’s such a special player, and I think he’s the best back in the country for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is he’s an unbelievable person, the hardest worker on this team, the heartbeat of the team,” said Fleck, who declined to specify the injury but said Ibrahim sustained a tear.

The severity suggested an Achilles tendon. Ibrahim was hurt on the second-to-last play of the third quarter Thursday against fourth-ranked Ohio State, when he ran to the right side for 1 yard and tried to escape a tackle by safety Ronnie Hickman. After Ibrahim planted his left foot, slow-motion replays on the Fox broadcast showed his leg react as if something had popped inside.

“The specific part, I always leave up to the kids. Not that I’m hiding information. Everybody can watch the video, see it a million times and create your own assumptions,” Fleck said. “I just think there’s something personal to the injury, the exact, specific part.”

Ibrahim gave the Gophers the lead with his touchdown runs and set up their first score with a 56-yard run on fourth-and-1 from their 29. They were ahead 21-17 with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away for good.

Gearing up for a heavy dose of carries for their workhorse, the ground-oriented Gophers tried to keep Ibrahim fresh throughout spring and summer practices.

“But it’s football. You can’t control the injuries when you get onto the field and you’re playing in games,” Fleck said, describing Ibrahim’s outlook as “completely optimistic” even after their postgame conversation when it was clear he was seriously hurt.

“He’s got a smile on his face: `I’m going to be just fine,”‘ Fleck said.

Ibrahim was unavailable to reporters, but he backed his coach’s assessment up with a deeply introspective statement posted Monday to his Twitter account: “What if everything you are going through is preparing you for what you’ve asked for?”

Ibrahim would be eligible for a medical redshirt, should he wish to return to school for a sixth season with the program.

“Whether he comes back or goes to the NFL, it’s a choice he’ll make. Not now, but later,” Fleck said.

Ibrahim rushed 30 times for 163 yards before the injury, moving into eighth place on the program’s career rushing yards list (3,003). His per-game average (103.6) is slightly higher than that of the all-time leader Darrell Thompson (103.4), who racked up 4,654 yards from 1986-89. Ibrahim is also tied for fourth in career touchdowns (33), not far behind the all-time leader Thompson (40).

Fortunately for the Gophers, running back has long been one of their deepest positions. Treyson Potts (third year), Cam Wiley (third year) and Bryce Williams (fourth year) are next in line. Wiley (179 yards, one touchdown) and Potts (121 yards, one touchdown) saw limited action in 2020.

“We believe in all those running backs: Cam, Bryce, Trey. The list goes on,” quarterback Tanner Morgan said. “Our identity is we’re going to keep doing what we do, do what we believe in.”

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.


Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.


Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.


Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.


This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.


North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.


Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.