That’s how many games Minnesota running back Shannon Brooks has played in since October 28, 2017. His lone appearance in 2018 came nearly a full year after sustaining a season-ending injury the year before. In an October 26 showdown against Indiana, Brooks rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown in a 38-31 win for the Gophers.

It ended up being the only game he would play in for the year. A severe knee injury in a second straight season cut Brooks’ year short, an unfortunate theme in his career in Minneapolis.

Brooks is scheduled to step on the field this weekend, making just his second gameday appearance in 700 days. The explosive back will make his return against Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium in what will be the B1G opener for the Golden Gophers.

How appropriate that his return comes in West Lafayette.

Brooks has suited up against Purdue twice in his career, both times at Ross-Ade Stadium. Both times, he’s made the Boilermakers’ defense beg for mercy. In 2015, he racked up a career-high 176 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. Two years later, he took 18 handoffs for 116 yards.

In two games, Brooks has totaled 292 yards on the ground with an 8.3 yards per carry average. And it sounds like he’s ready to cause even more havoc in West Lafayette this weekend.

“I think all of our backs bring something unique. I think Shannon brings something else. He’s healthy, he hasn’t played yet, I think there’s that spunk, that look in his eye that he cannot wait to get back onto the field,” Fleck said. “And you combine him with our other backs, that’s where we wanna be.”

That should worry Purdue.

Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota already had two really good backs in Rodney Smith and Mohamed Ibrahim, throwing Brooks into the mix just adds another element to the offense. And, remember, this is coming against a Boiler defense that was slashed and gashed for 346 yards and three touchdowns by TCU two weeks ago on their home turf.

Break out the ibuprofen for defensive coordinator Nick Holt.

The Gopher rushing attack has been stuck in glue to start the season, to be sure. Sloppy and inconsistent line play has Minnesota sitting at 11th in the B1G on the ground, averaging 123.7 yards per game. While winning battles up front is the most important factor in having a consistent rushing attack, Brooks adds that home-run element back to the offense.

Smith and Ibrahim have both showcased that ability at times throughout their career, but not to Brooks’ level. In his 27 career games, Brooks has had 14 plays that have gone for 20 yards or more. He’s had 49 carries that have resulted in gains of 10 yards or more.

Seven of Brooks’ 35 career touches against Purdue (20 percent) have resulted in 10-yard gains.

It’s been awhile since Brooks has touched a football, so it may be a little optimistic to believe he’ll immediately be his fast, fleet-footed self when his cleats touch the grass at Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday. Then again, the last time he had a long layoff between appearances, he steamrolled the Indiana defense.

Just returning to the field has to give Brooks a good feeling. But returning to a stadium that has been a sanctuary of success for the Minnesota running back has to be even more exciting.

The Purdue defense may not find his return to be quite so thrilling.