Column: Injured Cobb unable to silence critics

David Nelson

Senior running back David Cobb could only watch from the sidelines as Donnell Kirkwood pushed through the Nebraska defense on his way to a first down in the game’s closing minutes.

That rush ultimately sealed the game for Minnesota and sends them to Madison, Wis., next week with the opportunity to reach to its first Big Ten championship game.

The fact that Minnesota came back to defeat the Cornhuskers in the second half despite being without Cobb in the backfield because of an injury is an impressive accomplishment.

But perhaps something even more shocking is that the talented running back was snubbed in the list of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award last Tuesday.

The award, inspired by a former Southern Methodist University running back, is given annually to the best running back in college football.

Apparently, the committee that selects the semifinalists just doesn’t see Cobb as one of the best.

It’s dead wrong.

For almost every game this season, the Gophers’ offense — and sometimes the entire team — has lived and died by Cobb’s play.

He’s posted the third-most carries in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision and accounted for the ninth-most yards at 1,430.

After rushing for 1,200 or more yards during this season and last, Cobb climbed the ranks of Minnesota’s greats in just two seasons.

Just imagine where he’d be if he had started all four years.

The senior stands just 34 yards shy of the all-time single season rushing record at Minnesota.

The current record holder — Laurence Maroney — went on to play for the New England Patriots and helped them reach Super Bowl XLII.

But apparently none of this shows Cobb is a superior talent, according to the selection committee.

Never mind the fact that out of the 10 semifinalists who made the cut, all belong to better passing offenses than Cobb does.

The senior has been the focal point of Minnesota’s offense all season, as the team has had inconsistencies in its aerial attack.

It’s important to note that redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner made some key plays down the stretch after the Gophers lost their primary tailback Saturday.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Minnesota needs Cobb to play against Wisconsin next week in order to punch its ticket to Indianapolis.

Cobb has been instrumental in the Gophers’ 8-3 season and is the main reason Minnesota kept up with Ohio State.

It’s a shame that injury forced Cobb to sit out a majority of the second half of the game against Nebraska.

But perhaps the more unjust fact is that the talented runner never got a chance to quiet his critics.