Mo Ibrahim’s words were halting, and his pain was coming through the sentences.
The star running back had put the Gophers on his back with 39 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown, but it was his one fumble that he was struggling to describe after a 13-10 loss to Iowa on Saturday.
“I can’t even remember right now,” Ibrahim said. “I think it was an outside zone (running play). … I stretched it. Uh, they overran it, cut it back, and, uh, I was like a yard short from the first down. I wanted to fall forward, and it popped out.”
Ibrahim’s words were trailing off before it went unintelligible.
For all the increasingly incredible stats he has amassed across his five seasons — he broke three more records Saturday alone — Ibrahim career fumbles have been nearly non-existent. Ibrahim has 846 career touches (824 carries and 22 receptions), and he has fumbled just four times since 2018.
That adds up to a minuscule 0.47 percent.
Ibrahim showed how he is willing to do whatever it takes, including carrying the ball 13 previous times on that fourth-quarter drive alone. After the fumble, former Gophers star receiver Rashod Bateman tweeted: “Dude is TIRED!!!!”
“I’m willing to do whatever to help this team win; I let it be known,” Ibrahim said, speaking smoothly in this answer. “That is a big reason why I came back (for a sixth year). I understood what we wanted to accomplish as a team. You always ask me how many carries will it take. It don’t matter. I’m going to keep fighting for my team, fighting with my team.”
Ibrahim’s 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter Saturday gave him 19 for the season, which lifted him past Gary Russell for most rushing TDs in a season in program history. When he went over 100, it was the 24th time he had hit the century mark at the U, another program record.
In the fourth quarter, Ibrahim eclipsed the 220 yards David Cobb rushed for in a stadium record against Middle Tennessee State in 2014.
But this was the Hawkeyes, who had one of the best rushing defenses in the country coming into Saturday, and Iowa hadn’t given up that amount of yards since Northern Illinois’ LeShon Johnson had 306 against them in 1993.
For all the greatness Ibrahim continues to show on a weekly basis, the fumble will undoubtedly gnaw for an undefinable amount of time.
“One play will never define how he plays in a game, ever,” Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere near a program that we are right now, if it wasn’t for Mohamed Ibrahim. One play, it happens.”