Injuries to Watch – Week 8

Published on Wednesday, 10/16/13, at 10:08 a.m. Eastern.
Updated on Thursday, 10/17/13, at 3:56 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Before the loss to Texas last week, Oklahoma found out it would be missing senior LB Corey Nelson for the rest of the season due to a pectoral injury. The news got worse earlier this week when starting defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was lost for the rest of the year. Phillips will underdog surgery soon to relieve chronic back pain. Without Nelson and Phillips, the OU defense gave up 36 points and 255 rushing yards to the Longhorns. The Sooners had previously been allowing only 113.2 yards per game and 13.0 PPG, so obviously Nelson and Phillips are already being missed.

Ole Miss will be without freshman sensation Robert Nkemdiche for the next three games due to a pulled hamstring suffered in last week’s gut-wrenching loss to Texas A&M. The Rebels might also be sans will also be sans their other starting defensive end, C.J. Johnson, for Saturday’s home tussle vs. LSU. Johnson was downgraded to ‘doubtful’ after missing Tuesday’s practice with a sprained ankle is going to have season-ending surgery on his ankle and apply for a medical redshirt. The offense is hurting, too, as one of its top weapons is ‘doubtful.’ That would be leading rusher and special-teams dynamo Jeff Scott (thigh), who is averaging 8.2 yards per carry and had a punt return for a touchdown in a blowout win at Texas.

Missouri QB James Franklin is out for at least the next 3-5 weeks with a shoulder separation sustained in last week’s 41-26 win at Georgia as a seven-point underdog. This injury is such a shame because Franklin’s 2012 campaign was mired by multiple injuries and as he returned to 100 percent this year, he was lighting up opponents. Maty Mauk is the new No. 1 QB and Corbin Berkstresser is his back-up. Mauk, a sophomore, completed all three of his pass attempts in Athens for 23 yards after Franklin left the game. Mauk also had three carries for 12 yards. Berkstresser got substantial playing time last season, throwing for 1,059 yards with a 5/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Nebraska OG Spencer Long was a second-team All-American selection in 2012. The three-year starter and senior co-captain will underdog season-ending surgery Thursday.

Florida has lost five starters to season-ending injuries with Matt Jones now out for the year with a torn meniscus. Mack Brown will continue to get a lot of touches and look for increased playing time for Kelvin ‘Baby Fred’ Taylor, who had 10 carries for 52 yards at LSU. Starting DE Ronald Powell didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday (ankle) but was expected to try to go full speed at Wednesday’s practice. The Gators play Saturday at Missouri.

Georgia RB Todd Gurley and starting safety Tray Matthews didn’t practice Tuesday to receive treatment on their respective injuries. Both are still considered ‘questionable’ have been downgraded to ‘doubtful’ for Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt.

Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas told the media earlier this week that he “was nowhere close” to being ready to play in Saturday’s 45-24 win at Washington. With the Ducks facing Washington St. at home this week, I wouldn’t expect to see Thomas on the field. Mark Helfrich would love to have him back for an Oct. 26 home game vs. UCLA. He sprained his ankle in a Sept. 28 win over California. Oregon is the nation’s only 6-0 ATS team.

UCLA’s leading rusher Jordon James didn’t play in last week’s win over Cal due to a sprained ankle. He is ‘doubtful’ for Saturday’s crucial Pac-12 showdown at Stanford. James has rushed for 463 yards and five TDs, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.

North Carolina St. starting safety Jarvis Byrd is out for the season with a torn ACL. This is the third ACL tear of Byrd’s collegiate career.

Michigan sophomore DT Ondre Pipkins is out for the rest of 2013 with a leg injury. Pipkins was a five-star recruit and key player on the Wolverines’ defensive front. LB Jake Ryan made his season debut in the loss at Penn St, seeing action on about 30 plays.

Northwestern might face Minnesota without two of its best offensive players. RB Venric Mark (leg) is ‘doubtful’ and QB/WR Kain Colter (ankle) are both is ‘questionable.’

South Carolina sophomore WR Shaq Roland will return from a three-game suspension Saturday at Tennessee. In the Gamecocks’ first three games, Roland had eight receptions for 161 yards and one TD. Back-up RB Brandon Wilds (elbow) has missed back-to-back games and isn’t likely to play against the Vols. Senior WR Bruce Ellington is ‘questionable’ with a strained foot. Ellington was in a walking boot Monday and Tuesday, but he practiced on a limited basis in a yellow non-contact jersey on Wednesday.

North Carolina QB Bryn Renner will start Thursday vs. Miami after missing a loss at Va. Tech two weeks ago with a foot injury. Renner has a 7/3 TD-INT ratio this year.

Maryland QB C.J. Brown will start Saturday at Wake Forest after missing a 27-26 non-covering home win over Virginia. Brown sustained a concussion two weeks ago at FSU. He led the Terps to a 4-0 start both straight up and against the spread by throwing for seven TDs compared to one interception and also rushing for six scores.

After missing last week’s home win over Arizona, Southern Cal All-American WR Marquise Lee (ankle) has been upgraded to ‘probable’ Saturday at Notre Dame. DE Morgan Breslin also missed the win over the Wildcats. The Trojans’ best pass rusher is a question mark against the Fighting Irish.

Auburn QB Nick Marshall will start Saturday at Texas A&M. Marshall sat out a 62-3 home win over Western Carolina to rest a sore knee.

In all likelihood, New Mexico is going to have to start third-string QB David Vega vs. Utah St. The Lobos’ starter Cole Gautsche injured his knee in last week’s 38-31 loss at Wyoming. Gautsche has a 4/1 TD-INT ratio and has rushed for 516 yards and six TDs. Vega has only completed one pass in two attempts this season, but it was a 23-yard TD strike. Back-up QB Clayton Mitchem (concussion) and Gautsche are both listed as ‘doubtful.’

Kent St. QB Colin Reardon is ‘doubtful’ at South Alabama due to a leg injury suffered in last week’s 27-24 loss at Ball St. Reardon has a 10/4 TD-INT ratio and one rushing score. Senior back-up David Fisher will probably get the starting nod.

After missing three consecutive games with a broken collarbone, Duke QB Anthony Boone returned to the field to lead the Blue Devils to a 35-7 win over Navy as a four-point home ‘chalk.’ Boone garnered ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors when he connected on 31-of-38 throws for 295 yards and three TDs without an interception.

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