Given starting nod, Jackson II enjoys career day

WBy Brian Hall and Brian Stensaas

with Minnesota’s heralded running backs Marion Barber III and Thomas Tapeh injured, sophomore Terry Jackson II has taken his opportunity and ran.

Jackson II, who leads the Gophers in rushing this season, started Saturday’s win over Toledo while Barber III sat out nursing a sore hamstring and Tapeh played sparingly due to a high ankle sprain.

He carried the ball 24 times for 94 yards and one touchdown, all career-highs.

“I’m here to help,” Jackson II said. “My role is to run hard, protect the ball, catch passes and make blocks. If they need me, I’m there. And when I am not playing, I am cheering.”

Minnesota coach Glen Mason said Jackson II deserved to start because he had received most of the work in practice while Tapeh and Barber III tried to recover from their injuries.

“You do all the work, then you get an opportunity,” Mason said. “When he has gotten the opportunity, he has performed well for us. He has run hard and held onto the football.”

Mason said Tapeh had practiced last Wednesday putting him in position to play against the Rockets.

Tapeh ran the ball 11 times for 74 yards including a 31-yard touchdown run.

Meanwhile, Mason expects to possibly have Barber III back in the lineup this week against Buffalo.

Barber attempted to play against Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend but re-injured his hamstring.

“Marion is chomping at the bit to get back in there,” Mason said. “We thought we had him healthy last week. The trainer thought we should hold him out this game, because otherwise you keep doing this over and over again.”

Overall the Gophers had a strong running game, totaling 263 yards on the ground. The only thing keeping Jackson from leading the team in rushing against Toledo was quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq’s scrambling ability.

Abdul-Khaliq ran 10 times for a career-high 103 yards rushing and had the longest scamper of his career, a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Ouch

mason confirmed Sunday that safety Justin Isom and tight end Scooter Baugus each sustained concussions during Saturday’s game.

Both could play next week against Buffalo if needed.

Meanwhile, defensive lineman Ryan Domin, who played in his first game of the year, re-injured his shoulder, and Mason said the injury might be something that sticks with the senior all season.

Nystrom, Ward shine

minnesota kicker Dan Nystrom and safety Eli Ward continued their solid play.

Nystrom connected on his first field goal attempt of the year, a 21-yarder in the fourth quarter. He now needs five field goals to tie all-time school record holder Chip Lohmiller with 57.

With four successful extra point attempts, Nystrom has now connected on 56 straight. His last miss came against Wisconsin on Nov. 4, 2000.

Ward, who posted the first interceptions of his career last week against the Cajuns, collected his first fumble recovery as a Gopher. Ward finished the game with three tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.