MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Auburn tailback Kerryon Johnson is downplaying the right shoulder injury that knocked him out of the win over Alabama.
Johnson said Monday he’s just “banged up” and trying to get healthy for the fourth-ranked Tigers’ SEC championship game against No. 6 Georgia on Saturday in Atlanta.
“It’s week whatever in a football season, I’m a running back,” he said. “Guys are going to get banged up. It’s nothing more and nothing less.”
Johnson was hurt on a goal line hit in the Iron Bowl but ran for a touchdown on the next play and had some more carries after that. He went down late in the fourth quarter and walked off with a towel draped over his head.
While teammates say they fully expect him to play, Johnson made no promises when asked how confident he was he’ll be able to go.
“I’m confident in myself, just because I’ve been through injuries in my time here,” he said. “I’ve been through them before. Everybody has.
“I’ll never count myself out until I’m officially counted out.”
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He couldn’t hold back the tears on the field after the injury but said that was because of fans chanting his name.
“I’m not going to lie, that brought tears to my eyes,” Johnson said. “I was good until that happened.”
Johnson ran for 167 yards and caught a 55-yard touchdown pass in the first game with the Bulldogs .
He ranks ninth nationally in rushing yards per game and third in scoring.
Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter said the Bulldogs have to prepare as if Johnson is going to be out there.
“He’s a great back,” Carter said. “He can make a lot of plays, and he’s a game changer. So you have to be ready for him to play at 100 percent.”
Johnson’s teammates say they’re expecting Johnson to play. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham said he’s “very confident” his star running back will make it back. Linebacker Tre’ Williams was even more emphatic.
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“Oh, yeah, Kerryon is really tough, man,” Williams said. “That’s something we look up to him for, and a lot of people should. Just all in all, (I) know he’s going to play because it’s the first time we’ve played in the SEC championship, and he wouldn’t let this opportunity bypass him.”
This article was written by John Zenor from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.