NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma star running back Rodney Anderson is out for the season with a right knee injury.
The school made the announcement in a news release Sunday night.
Anderson got up slowly after a 10-yard run on the final play of the first quarter Saturday against UCLA. The preseason All-Big 12 selection limped off the field on his own, and trainers tended to him before he headed to the locker room.
This is the third season-ending injury of Anderson’s career. He suffered a broken leg in the second game of the 2015 season, and a neck injury sidelined him for the 2016 season. The sixth-ranked Sooners will be without one of their best players heading into their game Saturdayat Iowa State.
“We’re heartbroken for him,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “He’s overcome so much in his career, and if anybody can do it again, it’s Rodney.”
Anderson didn’t start until the middle of last season, but he ran for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught five touchdown passes and helped the Sooners reach the College Football Playoff. He ran for 201 yards in the Rose Bowl against Georgia.
“He’s played a lot of great football and has a lot more ahead of him,” Riley said. “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.”
Anderson opened his junior season with 100 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries against Florida Atlantic. He ran for 19 yards and a touchdown against UCLA before his injury.
Oklahoma is loaded at the running back position. Sophomore Trey Sermon ran for 744 yards last season. Marcelias Sutton ran for 130 yards last season. T.J. Pledger, a true freshman, was one of the nation’s top running back recruits. Kennedy Brooks, a redshirt freshman, was rated a four-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN and Scout two years ago. Riley said the Sooners will miss Anderson but won’t change their approach much.
“Honestly, play calling wise, design, all that, it’s not going to change a whole lot,” Riley said after Saturday’s game. “We’ve got confidence in the guys we have there. They all have dynamic skill sets. They can all run. They can all catch the ball. I’ve got no issue throwing the ball to any of them. They can all pass protect.”