Day 3 of the David Fluellen watch promises to bring more answers than Day 2.
University of Toledo coach Matt Campbell revealed few details Monday about the health status of his star running back, suggesting he’ll have a better idea today if Fluellen will be up for joining his teammates in this week’s clash at Bowling Green.
The back injury Fluellen suffered in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 45-44 double-overtime win over Navy is not a long-term concern, said Campbell, adding the Mid-American Conference’s leading rusher did not sustain structural damage when he was yanked down by the back of his shoulder pads with his legs trapped behind him.
“We’ll know a lot more [at today’s practice] just where we’re at and where he’s at and if he’ll be ready to go this coming weekend,” Campbell said.
As expected, feedback on linebacker Trent Voss’ arm injury was less encouraging.
Voss underwent surgery Sunday to repair a fracture he sustained on a fourth-quarter tackle and will miss the remainder of the season. Voss is the first Toledo player to suffer a season-ending injury since the season began. Slated to replace him is senior Vladimir Emilien, who started six times in 2012.
With respect to Voss, who has played well and ranks second on the team with 60 tackles, Fluellen’s health scare is the biggest storyline in the lead up to the most anticipated game in many seasons between the I-75 rivals. He ranks third nationally with 1,006 rushing yards and has ran for 100 yards or more in every game since the season opener at Florida.
Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson on Monday called Fluellen “arguably the best running back in the conference.”
Clawson understands his defense, which is ranked atop the MAC in yards and points, will be tested with or without Fluellen’s participation.
Freshman running back Kareem Hunt enjoyed a coming out party Saturday, exploding for two touchdowns and 127 yards, many that which came after Fluellen exited with 12-plus minutes to go in regulation. Hunt, who ended up leaving the game with a foot injury, is expected to be available in “some capacity,” Campbell said. Redshirt freshman Damion Jones-Moore (121 yards, three TDs in 2013) and Cassius McDowell (137 yards) round out what Clawson called “a stable of very talented backs.”
“It’s not like when [Fluellen] went out they stopped running the football,” said Clawson, who is seeking his first win over UT since his first season in 2009.
Not in the mix to get backfield touches is receiver Bernard Reedy. Reedy filled in for an injured Fluellen in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in December but Campbell said it’s “a stretch” to do that again.
As Campbell’s team took some licks Saturday, Clawson’s team sat at home resting without a game to play.
BG, which shares the MAC East lead with Buffalo at 3-0 in the conference, has been listed by oddsmakers as a four-point favorite.
1,000 FOR FLUELLEN: A seven-yard run by Fluellen in the third quarter Saturday was mistakenly credited to quarterback Terrance Owens. With the correction, Fluellen’s season yards total stands at 1,006, marking the second year in a row he cracked 1,000 yards. His total originally was thought to have stalled at 999.
Only Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews (1,036) and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (1,012) have ran for more yards than Fluellen.
NOTES: Jayrone Elliott, who returned a fumble 68 yards for a touchdown, was named MAC West defensive player of the week. Elliott also registered a career-high 13 tackles. ... Campbell said inside linebacker Jaylen Coleman will be available this week. Coleman, a redshirt freshman who suffered a preseason knee injury, has never played in a college game. ... Safety Ross Madison said he’s fine after leaving in the first half Saturday with a sprained knee.