Gophers without top two running backs, one offensive lineman against Michigan State

The Gophers will be without their top two running backs against Michigan State at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday.

Darius Taylor and Zach Evans were ruled out, according to the Gophers’ status report published two hours before kickoff. Both Taylor and Evans exited the 12-10 win over Iowa with undisclosed injuries.

The Gophers will also be without starting left guard Tyler Cooper. Greg Johnson, who has played in five games, will likely fill in against a Spartans rush defense that ranks 32nd in the nation, allowing 115 yards per game.

With running back Bryce Williams ruled out for the season before the Hawkeyes win, Minnesota is now down to Sean Tyler and Jordan Nubin as its primary ball carriers.

On Monday, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck was asked about the health of his running backs. “We’ll see,” Fleck said. “The good thing is got some good news on some guys.”

“When you look at the depth, JoJo Nubin, Jordan Nubin is going to have to be ready to go,” Fleck said. “He was ready last week. He’ll be fine that way. Sean Tyler and then we will hopefully have one of those guys in the mix. Next man up.”

Whatever news that was for Taylor or Evans, it wasn’t short-term enough for them to back on the field come Saturday.

Taylor and Evans have been banged up throughout the season and the pair of freshman will be missed against Michigan State. Taylor leads the team with 101 carries for 591 yards and four touchdowns. Evans has 37 carries for 174 yards and a TD.

Tyler, who began the year as the starter before having fumbling issues, is second on the team with 55 carries for 222 yards. Nubin has six carries for 25 yards in all seven games.

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