Cobb plays through hamstring injury in loss

David Cobb broke the Gophers’ single-season program rushing record.

Grant Donald

Nearly everyone had written off senior running back David Cobb for Saturday’s game after his strained left hamstring kept him out of practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

But Minnesota’s leading rusher himself thought differently.

“Growing up, this is something you dream about. I’ve been waiting all season and my whole life to play in a game like this,” Cobb said. “I was going to play.”

And play he did, rushing for 118 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota’s 34-24 loss to Wisconsin.

It was evident early on that Cobb’s hamstring wasn’t going to hinder his abilities when he made a crisp cut, leaving Wisconsin defenders in his tracks en route to a 40-yard touchdown.

“What [Cobb] did today I haven’t seen very often,” head coach Jerry Kill said. “He ran hard.”

Heading into Saturday’s border battle, Cobb needed only 35 yards to break former Gophers running back Laurence Maroney’s single-season rushing record.

Cobb nabbed the record in the first quarter. And with one game remaining, he has the opportunity to add to the history he has rewritten.

“I definitely think [setting the record] is something I’ll take a lot of pride in, and it definitely means a lot to me right now,” Cobb said.

The path Cobb took to break the record wasn’t easy, though, as he had to work all week to even make setting foot on Camp Randall’s field possible.

“It was just every day, with all the free time you’ve got staying in the training room,” Cobb said. “Hats off to the trainers.”

After Cobb was unable to practice with the team Thursday morning, Kill said he thought there was no way his starting running back would be available Saturday.

Cobb had other plans, and he continued to work with the training staff, hoping he would be healthy enough to play.

“In the middle of the week, I figured if I could keep doing what I’m doing, I would be able to go,” Cobb said.

During the team’s Friday morning practice, the training staff pushed Cobb to see if he would be able to hold up in the game.

After observing him running and making cuts, they deemed Cobb healthy enough to go, something that impressed many of his teammates.

“I didn’t know if he would play, but I knew he would do everything he could do to get ready to play, and he obviously did that,” redshirt senior defensive lineman Cameron Botticelli said.

Cobb said after the game that his hamstring felt “good,” but the running back was noticeably less effective in the second half.

Cobb shredded the Badgers’ defense for 95 yards in the first half but added only 23 second-half yards to his total.

Regardless of Cobb’s effectiveness as the game progressed, the Badgers noticed just how special of a player he is, especially after overcoming an injury that was supposed to keep him sidelined.

“When [Cobb] was running the ball, it was like, ‘Man, this guy’s a beast,’” Wisconsin linebacker Marcus Trotter said.