Brandon Kirksey suspended for game

Minnesota has suspended defensive tackle and co-captain Brandon Kirksey for a game, while two other players will miss the remainder of the season to concentrate on academics.

Gophers interim coach Jeff Horton didn't specify the reason for suspending Kirksey, who has started each of Minnesota's previous nine games this season.

"I love his passion, I love his energy, I like what he brings to the practice and to the field every day," Horton said. "There's a right way and a wrong way to do things, and as leader, a captain, I thought he let us down as that person."

Horton also announced that sophomore cornerback Michael Carter and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman will miss the rest of the season to focus on their coursework.

"Trying to do what is best for this football team and for the next coach coming in, that he has as many guys back as he possibly can," Horton said. "And I think they need to channel all that focus and energy into making sure they are ready to go for the spring semester."

Carter has appeared in four games this season, starting four, and recorded two interceptions and a forced fumble. Hageman has appeared in eight games and recorded five tackles.

Anthony Jacobs will shift from defensive end to defensive tackle to replace Kirksey this week at Michigan State, while Kendall Gregory-McGhee likely will move into Jacobs' starting spot.

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.