Minnesota's David Cobb, the nation's No. 9 rusher, left last Saturday's upset of Nebraska with a hamstring injury, and Golden Gophers coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that Cobb is "very questionable" for Saturday's game with Wisconsin.
The winner of Saturday's game wins the Big Ten West Division title and would play Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game Dec. 6.
Kill made his comments during his portion of the Big Ten coaches' teleconference.
Cobb (5-foot-10, 229 pounds) has a strained left hamstring, and to complicate matters, backup tailback Berkley Edwards suffered a concussion against Nebraska. Donnell Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams, who have a combined 177 yards and four TDs on 48 carries, would share tailback duties if Cobb can't go.
Cobb is the focal point of the Gophers' offense, having rushed for 1,430 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has accounted for 57 percent of Minnesota's rushing yards and 39 percent of Minnesota's total yards.
If Cobb misses the game, the Gophers figure to lean heavily on quarterback Mitch Leidner, who has rushed for 408 yards and eight TDs. Much of that yardage came in last week's win over Nebraska, in which Leidner rushed for 111 yards and two scores.
Minnesota's offense is all about the run: The Gophers average just 134.7 passing yards per game and have thrown for more than 167 yards just once, against Illinois. Three times this season Minnesota has passed for fewer than 100 yards.
Cobb lacks breakaway speed, but he is a physical, downhill runner with six 100-yard games (and two 200-yard outings) to his credit this season. He is expected to be the first Minnesota running back drafted since Laurence Maroney in 2006.
Minnesota (8-3) has reached the eight-win mark for just the fifth time since 1967, and it has eight wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1960-61. Minnesota has won nine games once since 1905; it won 10 in 2003, when Glen Mason was coach.