MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – Minnesota running back Rodney Smith will miss the remainder of the season because of an injury to his left knee.
Smith was hurt on the third play of the game on Saturday night against Fresno State, at the end of an 11-yard gain on a screen pass. Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said on Monday the team will request a medical redshirt and a sixth year of eligibility for 2019 for Smith, who is seventh in program history with 2,959 career rushing yards.
“I am devastated for Rodney, but I know he will keep his oar in the water and continue to move forward and attack his rehabilitation process,” said Fleck. “He is a leader on this team and I look forward to him working with our young players as we continue to grow this season. “We will file a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility with the NCAA right after the season is over. We believe Rodney meets all the requirements for the waiver and fully expect that it will be granted.”
Shannon Brooks, who has largely shared the ball-carrying load with Smith since they were freshmen in 2015, has already received a medical redshirt for a knee injury suffered during offseason training.
It’s a tough loss to the Gophers offense, which is already without running back Shannon Brooks for the season. In Smith’s absence Saturday, freshman Bryce Williams had 25 carries for 87 yards. In the Gophers’ season opener, Smith had 24 carries for 156 yards and also had one catch for 21 yards.
Williams and freshman Mohamed Ibrahim will get the bulk of the carries at running back the rest of the season. Ibrahim missed Saturday’s game with an injury.
Minnesota (2-0) hosts Miami of Ohio this weekend.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)