Freshman running back Cam Wiley played his second game at Iowa, and he might get only two more this season.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck has said he wants to redshirt the 6-2, 205-pound Las Vegas native, keeping him at four games this year. On Saturday, he came in at kick returner and running back.
“Now I’ve got to be creative in how I use the [final] two, but we want to keep getting him involved somehow, someway,” Fleck said. “I thought that he could provide a spark in the kick-return game, and he’s got a tremendous [future]. It’s just, he needs experience doing it.”
Wiley previously had only played against Georgia Southern in the final nonconference game with the running back corps depleted by injuries.
He returned three kicks against Iowa for 56 yards, an average of 18.7. His longest was 30. Fleck liked what he saw but coached Wiley on leaping over people. He said his message to the young player was to keep his feet on the ground.
Badgers game at 2:30
The Gophers’ Nov. 30 showdown with Wisconsin at TCF Bank Stadium will kick off at 2:30 p.m. That game could decide the Big Ten West title.
First, the Gophers play at Northwestern Saturday at 11 a.m., and Wisconsin plays host to Purdue at 3 p.m. Minnesota holds a one-game lead on the Badgers.
Bateman a semifinalist
Receiver Rashod Bateman is one of 12 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation’s top receiver.
Bateman is the Big Ten’s only semifinalist and one of just three sophomores on the list. But Fleck said he thinks the award overlooked senior Tyler Johnson. Bateman has 945 yards on 44 catches with seven touchdowns.
Johnson is at 900 yards from 59 receptions with nine touchdowns.
“Tyler and Rashod both wouldn’t have the success they are having without each other. I think they are both Biletnikoff-worthy, with all due respect,” Fleck said.