NCAA FB

Minnesota's Decker out for season with foot injury

Share This Story

   
 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP)

Minnesota's sputtering offense sure didn't need this: Star wide receiver Eric Decker will miss the rest of the regular season because of a sprained left foot.

If the Gophers (4-4 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) get in a bowl game and Decker doesn't need surgery, the school's all-time leading receiver could play once more. Otherwise, Decker's college career is done. He hurt his arch last Saturday.

"It's tough right now," quarterback Adam Weber said. "You have all these expectations for the season, and it's a big blow."

Decker sprained his left ankle last Nov. 1 in a loss to Northwestern, was unable to contribute in the following two games and the Gophers didn't win again. This is a different injury, but the impact is the same.

The transition to a pro-style, play-action offense after two seasons running the spread has been rough for the Gophers. They're next-to-last in the conference with 21.1 points per game and last with 292.8 yards per game after dropping 20-0 and 38-7 decisions to Ohio State and Penn State in successive weeks.

With defenses smothering Decker the last three games, the rest of the skill-position players haven't provided nearly enough production and turnovers have persisted.

Despite being held down this month by Purdue (three catches, 50 yards), Penn State (one for 42) and Ohio State (three for 27 before the injury), Decker has still accounted for half of Minnesota's passing yardage and five of Weber's six touchdown throws. He's second in the Big Ten with 758 yards receiving.

"I think he's the best wide receiver in college football, period," coach Tim Brewster said Tuesday. "You know, it's tough to replace a guy like that."

Brewster has often talked up young receivers like Troy Stoudermire, Brandon Green, Bryant Allen, Hayo Carpenter and Da'Jon McKnight, so now's the time for their emergence.

"I think it's really exciting for young football players to know that they're going to get their opportunity to go do some things," the coach said, "and collectively everybody is gonna have to step up."

Decker is one of 10 finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's top receiver. He's a baseball star, too, drafted by the Minnesota Twins in June, but football is his first love. This last season that began with so much excitement surrounding the opening of TCF Bank Stadium on campus has not gone the way he wanted.

Decker was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

"You want to say, 'I know how you feel, but you really don't,"' said Weber, his close friend and roommate. "It will be tough finding positives the next few weeks, but he'll be all right."

Will the Gophers be all right? Defensive tackle Eric Small, another captain, called Decker the hardest worker on the team. He's not only their most talented player, but perhaps their most inspiring.

During a loss to Cal, then the nation's eighth-ranked team, Decker caught eight passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns with blood all over his face and jersey from a hard hit that opened a gash that needed stitches. He even threw for a score in that game.

"He adds everything you could ever want in a player," Small said.

Tagged: Minnesota

Related Stories

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash