Gophers starters Taylor, Cooper miss game vs. Illinois

The Gophers were without their leading rusher and a starting offensive guard for Saturday's 27-26 loss to Illinois.

True freshman running back Darius Taylor missed his second consecutive game after suffering a leg injury in the fourth quarter of the victory at Iowa on Oct. 21. Left guard Tyler Cooper also missed his second game in a row because of injury, according to the Big Ten availability report released two hours before kickoff.

Redshirt freshman Zach Evans, who ranks fourth on the team in rushing, was listed as questionable. He missed last week's game against Michigan State after suffering a leg injury in the first half at Iowa. Evans played, rushing eight times for 16 yards.

With both Taylor and Evans out last week and senior Sean Tyler losing a fumble on his first carry, the Gophers turned to redshirt sophomore Jordan Nubin, a former defensive back who rushed 40 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-12 win over the Spartans. Nubin was named Big Ten offensive player of the week for his efforts.

On Saturday, Nubin led the Gophers with 75 yards on 19 carries.

Nubin became the seventh Gophers running back since 2021 to have a 100-yard rushing game, and his was the 26th 100-yard game in that span. The other backs in that group are Mohamed Ibrahim (10 100-yard games), Ky Thomas (five), Mar'Keise Irving (three), Trey Potts (three), Taylor (three) and Bryce Williams (1). Ibrahim (two) and Nubin (one) have combined for three 200-yard games since 2021.

Cooper started the season's first seven games. True freshman Greg Johnson started in his place in the past two games.

Cornerback Justin Walley, who left the Michigan State game early in the fourth quarter, was not on the availability report. He had three tackles and two pass breakups.

Also listed as out on the availability report were freshmen offensive linemen Phillip Daniels and Reese Tripp.

• Linebacker Maverick Baranowski suffered an apparent shoulder injury in the second quarter and was tended to in the injury tent.