Oregon RB Freeman won’t play in the Las Vegas Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman won’t play in the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State on Saturday.

New Oregon coach Mario Cristobal announced the decision Thursday.

Oregon’s all-time leading rusher had practiced earlier this week in Las Vegas, leading to speculation he may play.

”This is hard for him. This is not an easy decision for a guy who’s invested his heart and soul in this program,” Cristobal said.

The Ducks coach did not say whether fellow senior Tyrell Crosby would play.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and LSU running back Leonard Fournette both sat out bowl games to avoid injury as they prepared for the NFL draft.

Freeman, who could be taken in the early rounds of the 2018 draft, set the Pac-12 record with 60 career rushing touchdowns, surpassing Oregon State’s Ken Simonton, who ran for 59 from 1998-01.

He holds Oregon career records for rushing yards (5,621), rushing touchdowns (60), total touchdowns (64) and 100-yard rushing games (31).

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