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Oklahoma Sooners Football - Lincoln Riley: Rodney Anderson out for season with knee injury

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Rodney Anderson suffered the injury in the first half vs. UCLA.

Florida Atlantic v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Starting running back Rodney Anderson left and did not return after sustaining a knee injury in the first half of Saturday’s matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and the UCLA Bruins.

In a Sunday evening press release, head coach Lincoln Riley announced that Anderson will miss the season. On the run shown below, Anderson is visibly grabbing his right knee immediately after going to the ground. His knee did not appear to be contacted on the tackle directly, but rather on a possible misstep.

Following the play, Anderson gingerly walked to the locker room under his own, but as you can see in the replay of the injury, it did not look good. He eventually returned to the field in a brace.

For a single loss, this is as tough of a blow as this Oklahoma team with playoff aspirations can suffer. Anderson, while still being overlooked nationally, had a serious chance to make a Heisman run. He might be the most complete back Oklahoma has had in its history, which is obviously saying a lot.

Additionally, this is an incredibly brutal setback for Anderson, who has now suffered a third season-ending injury in four years.

“We’re heartbroken for him,” said Riley of the redshirt junior. “He’s overcome so much in his career, and if anybody can do it again it’s Rodney.

”He’s played a lot of great football and has a lot more ahead of him. 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.”

Fortunately for the Sooners, depth at the running back position is not much of a problem, but at the same time, the loss of cannot be downplayed. Players like Trey Sermon, Marcelias Sutton, T.J. Pledger and Kennedy Brooks will have to step up to make up for Anderson’s production. All four of them are capable backs, and while Sermon will likely be the alpha, I’d expect Riley to go with the committee approach. I also expect Sutton to step up in this situation and potentially have a big senior year. Lastly, this pretty much assures that freshman TJ Pledger will avoid the redshirt, and there’s reason to be bullish on that kid. He’s fun to watch.

The injury also puts a bit more pressure on quarterback Kyler Murray moving forward, as Anderson commands the respect of defensive coordinators more so than any other back on the team.

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