Any college football coach will tell you that injuries are part of the game. No coach, however, wants to have to discuss major injuries to key starters players at their week one postgame press conference. The injury bug was busy at work last weekend with some oversized dentures biting into some big time players.
The Injury Bug Takes A Big Bite Out of College Football
Notre Dame: Junior running back Tarean Folston tore the ACL in his right knee on a seemingly routine play in the first quarter in Saturday’s route over Texas and is out for the season. Folston was Notre Dame’s leading rusher last season with just under 1,000 yards and the Irish doen’t have a lot of depth at RB. Senior C.J. Prosise came in and rushed for 98 yards in 20 carries. After that, it is untested freshman Josh Adams who had his first college carries against the Longhorns Saturday. Five-star recruit Greg Bryant had already been ruled ineligible for this season by Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh: James Conner was the ACC’s leading rusher in 2014 and was the conference’s offensive player of the year. He had two first half touchdowns against Youngstown State Saturday before injuring his right knee and sitting out the rest of what turned into a too-close-for-comfort win for the Panthers. After the game head coach Pat Narduzzi said Conner was fine, but since Narduzzi doesn’t have a medical license, doctors performed a MRI and found a tear in the MCL in the right knee. He will have surgery within the next week and is out for the year. Backup Chris James also left the game with an undisclosed injury so the workload now falls to freshman Qadree Ollison. The good news for Pitt is that Ollison ran for 207 and one touchdown on 16 carries Saturday. The bad news for the Panthers is that the remaining schedule is going to be tougher than Youngstown State.
Penn State: As if Saturday wasn’t bad enough for the Nittany Lions with a loss to Temple, starting inside linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White injured his leg on a special teams play. He limped off under his own power but did not come back into the game at all. After the game, the team would not disclosed any specifics regarding the injury, but confirmed that he is out for the season. The redshirt junior took to his Twitter account Sunday to thank fans for their support, but gave no details as to whether he needs surgery or what the actual diagnosis is.
UCLA: All conference defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes tore the ACL in his right knee on an end zone celebration of all things. Coach Jim Mora likes to use the junior, and fellow defensive lineman Kenny Clark, in a jumbo blocking package when he puts linebacker Myles Jack in at running back. Saturday thoug, the play was a fake to Jack and a touchdown pass to Clark. As my mom used to warn, big linemen catching touchdown passes is fun and games until someone gets hurt. Vanderdoes lifted Clark during the celebration and said he felt his knee lock up. He went in to play defense on the next series anyway, before having to come out for good. He will have surgery in the next week and will miss the rest of the season. UCLA was already razor thin in experienced defensive linemen going into the season.
Clemson: Wide receiver Mike Williams was also injured in the end zone but it was after he caught a touchdown pass and collided head first with the base of the goal post in Saturday’s home win over Wofford. After getting medical attention, he was carted off the field but had movement of his arms and legs. He has what is being called a “small neck fracture.” He will not need surgery according to team doctors but will be wearing a neck brace for the foreseeable future as he heals. The Tigers leading returning receiver is likely out the rest of the season.
Syracuse: Starting quarterback Terrel Hunt got in only one series in the game against Rhode Island last weekend before he turned his ankle on a simple roll out play. He got up and tried to walk off the field but then dropped back down to the ground. He was taken to the locker room for examination and came back on crutches. The diagnosis: torn Achilles tendon and the senior is out for the rest of the year. Hunt, who is 10th on the Syracuse all-time passing yardage list, missed the last six games of last season with a broken leg. He will be replaced by freshman Eric Dungey who came in on Saturday and completed 10 of 17 passes with two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Saturday was probably the easiest game Dungey will play in all year.
BYU: Speaking of star crossed quarterbacks, let us introduce Taysom Hill. The BYU senior injured his right foot while scrambling on a 21 yard touchdown play Saturday in the win over Nebraska. Hill suffered what is called a Lisfranc fracture, or a break of the metatarsal bone in the top/middle of the foot. This is the third time in his BYU career that Hill has suffered a season ending injury, (knee injuries in 2012 and 2014). He still has a redshirt year to use if he wants to try to come back for the 2016 season. His backup Saturday, freshman Tanner Mangum, threw a 42 yard Hail Mary touchdown pass with no time left on the clock to lead the Cougars to a 33-28 win at Nebraska.
Main Photo: EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – SEPTEMBER 27: Running back Tarean Folston #25 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs from cornerback Julian Whigham #1 of the Syracuse Orange during their game at MetLife Stadium September 27, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)