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Mitch Leidner could start at quarterback for Golden Gophers

Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press
Minnesota may have to start freshman Mitch Leidner at quarterback Saturday vs. San Jose State.

Minnesota starting quarterback Philip Nelson remains bothered by a hamstring injury, so redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner likely will start Saturday against San Jose State.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill told reporters than Nelson's hamstring injury was about 75 percent healed. Leidner (6-feet-4, 230 pounds) came on for Nelson (6-2, 215), a sophomore, in last week's win over Western Illinois and would make his first career start against the Spartans in a game that could end up being key to Minnesota's bowl hopes.

True freshman Chris Streveler (6-2, 209) also could see time. He hasn't played this season, though he did enroll early and go through spring practice.

Kill also said starting running back Donnell Kirkwood, who has not played this season because of an ankle injury, has been practicing this week. But Kill isn't sure Kirkwood, who rushed for 926 yards and six TDs last season, will play against San Jose State.

The Gophers have run effectively with backups Rodrick Williams (72.3 yards per game, three TDs) and David Cobb (69.0 ypg, three TDs) filling in for Kirkwood. Nelson's absence would hurt most in the running game; he is the Gophers' leading rusher.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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