Minnesota running back Donnell Kirkwood is the Golden Gophers’ top rusher, and in the hard hitting world of major college football, that means he tends to take a beating. On Saturday Minnesota (4-2) lost to Northwestern (6-1) 21-13, and along the way, Kirkwoord took a hit so hard that the ‘M’ decal on the side of his helmet came off and went about a yard further than he did.
In the video, posted by ESPN and reported on by Yardbarker, Minnesota faces a second-and-five with 11:31 to play. Kirkwood gets the hand off from quarterback MarQueis Gray and runs up the middle for a gain of nine yards and a first down. The play ends when Northwestern defensive back Ibraheim Campbell hits Kirkwood with a head of steam, and the impact sent most of the ‘M’ decal on Kirkwood’s helmet flying.
USA Today reports that the play was new to ESPN announcer Joey Galloway, who can be heard saying so in the video.
“We have have a first,” Galloway said, surprised. “I have never seen a decal knocked off of a helmet.”
While the collision did appear to be a helmet-to-helmet hit, it was a clean one. More importantly, neither player was injured, which makes the video that much easier to watch. Still, the sound of the collision is clearly audible despite a stadium full of cheering fans.
Kirkwood rushed for 73 yards in the contest, he also caught one pass for four yards. Minnesota started the season 4-0 but have now lost two straight to open Big Ten play.
Have you ever seen a player hit so hard the decal was knocked off his helmet?