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November 16, 2005

Maroney says he will go at Iowa

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MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney will play in Saturday's regular-season finale at Iowa despite an injured right ankle.

Maroney missed last week's victory over Michigan State with the injury.

"It's guaranteed I'm going to play Saturday," Maroney said Tuesday. "You don't have to worry about that."

The Gophers didn't miss a beat without their leading rusher. Third-string sophomore Amir Pinnix rushed for a career-high 206 yards and a touchdown in the 41-18 rout.

Maroney tested the ankle in warmups and said he had no problem running straight ahead, "I just couldn't move lateral."

Wanting to make sure his star would be ready for Iowa, coach Glen Mason decided to rest Maroney last week.

"That's the hardest thing to do is sit on the bench and watch a game," Maroney said.

Maroney, who entered last week as the Big Ten's leading rusher with 1,345 yards, watched teammates Gary Russell and Pinnix tear up the Spartans. The Gophers (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) rushed for 327 yards on the day to overwhelm reeling Michigan State.

Russell left in the second quarter after a blow to the head left him woozy. Mason said Tuesday he expects Russell to be ready for Iowa as well.

For more coverage of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out GophersIllustrated.com.

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