Gophers’ Tanner Morgan in concussion protocol ahead of Northwestern game

Morgan was injured in the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s loss at Iowa.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan looks to throw the ball at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Liam Armstrong

Quarterback Tanner Morgan looks to throw the ball at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Paul Hodowanic

Gophers starting quarterback Tanner Morgan is in concussion protocol, head coach P.J. Fleck said Tuesday. 

Morgan sustained the injury in the final moments in the team’s loss to Iowa. Morgan was sacked on back-to-back plays to begin the team’s final drive. He was taken out of the game and didn’t come back for either of Minnesota’s final two offensive plays.

Morgan is progressing well, Fleck said, but his status for Saturday’s game at Northwestern remains in question. Morgan was listed as the starter on Minnesota’s official depth chart released on Tuesday. 

If Morgan is unable to play, it will snap a 15-game starting streak for the quarterback. The team is 12-3 in that stretch. This season, Morgan has thrown for 2,468 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Last week, Morgan was named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, presented annually to the best college quarterback. 

If Morgan doesn’t clear concussion protocol, either freshman Cole Kramer, freshman Jacob Clark, or a combination of both will play in his place. Whoever gets the nod to start will depend on how each player performs in practice, Fleck said.

“They’re both getting better, they’re both working really hard, they’ve both made a ton of progress, they both had a lot thrown at them,” Fleck said. “You might see both of them play if Tanner can’t go.”

The pair of freshmen have thrown four passes combined in their limited action in games. Kramer came in to replace Morgan against Iowa, throwing a pair of incompletions. However, just because Kramer was called to replace Morgan last week doesn’t give him the edge this week, Fleck said.

Fleck indicated he will know more as the week progresses, but it appears a decision about Morgan’s status may not be made until game time. The Gophers play their final road game of the season against Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m.