The Wyoming Cowboys will be done one-third of their running back trio as Ghaali Muhammad is done for the year due to a knee injury that he suffered in the first quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs. Dave Christensen made the announcement at Tuesday's teleconference. Muhammad was second on the team in rushing with 379 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but he averaged a healthy 6.32 yards per carry; make no mistake this is a big blow to Wyoming because because the 2011 rushing game had 1,442 yards through eight games. That is eight more yards than what the entire running game gained last year.
With Wyoming transitioning Brandon Miller back to wide receiver the past few games in addition to his running back duties, Christensen is going to burn the redshirt of Kody Sutton for the final four, and possibly five games:
This is obviously a big move to burn a redshirt so late in the season. But when you think about it does make sense here. There are four games left in the regular season and the Cowboys need just two victories to become bowl eligible. So that is a potential fifth game in which Sutton could play. The ideal situation would be for Muhammad to stay healthy and Sutton keep his red shirt but that isn't happening here.
This is risky, but depending on the severity of Muhammad's injury this could play dividends into the 2012 season. Muhammad is a junior as is Alvester Alexander so both will be back next year and with Miller likely making a full-time move back to wide receiver it makes sense to build the depth chart next year, because if Muhammad has an ACL tear (speculation on my part) and might not be fully healthy for next year. Going forward with only one true running back with experience is not a good idea.
Here is what Christensen is saying about Sutton:
"He just needed to mature, and thank goodness he's done that over the past month," Christensen said. "When I brought him in and asked him if he wanted to help the football team, he was very excited."
Sutton, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound, back out of Texarkana, Texas, was rather impressive during fall camp, but was bottled behind the trio of running backs.
Christensen also praised an increased work ethic in practice.
"He, in the last month, has really improved," Christensen said. "He's matured a lot. He'd have played right away had he practiced like he's practicing right now and training camp, all the way through."
Christens also said that Sutton could see playing time against the Air Force Falcons this week.