Rodney Anderson is out for the year, but the Oklahoma Sooners can survive without him.
The Oklahoma Sooners went to 2-0 with a 49-21 win over UCLA on Saturday, but a right knee injury suffered by running back Rodney Anderson early in the game cast a cloud over things. On Sunday night the worst fears were realized, as it was announced the redshirt junior tailback will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.
Anderson was a preseason All-Big 12 selection after rushing for 1,161 yards with 18 total touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving) last year. A 201-yard, two touchdown performance against Georgia in a College Football Playoff loss helped bring some buzz as a dark horse Heisman candidate.
But Anderson is also no stranger to injuries. A broken leg in the second game ended his 2015 freshman season, then a broken vertebra in his back end his 2016 campaign before it started. He had 100 yards and two touchdown on just five carries in the season-opening win over Florida Atlantic, and had another touchdown before leaving the game against UCLA.
Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley spoke about Anderson and the team’s running back situation going forward.
"He’s played a lot of great football and has a lot more ahead of him. He’s just a tremendous person and player and we’ll miss him on the field. But we know he’ll be with us every step of the way as a team captain, and that other players will step up in his place."
The Sooners obviously won’t be better without Anderson on the field, but they can survive his absence. Sophomore Trey Sermon had 744 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and five touchdowns as a freshman last year, and he has 82 yards on 16 carries through the first two games this year. Senior Marcelias Sutton (two touchdowns this year) and true freshman T.J. Pledger (14 carries for 83 yards thus far) are also in line or more work, and quarterback Kyler Murray may now be featured a little bit more as a runner.
As for Anderson, his injury issues should leave him with two years of remaining eligibility starting in 2019.