The CSU football team lost more than a game on Saturday as two crucial players suffered injuries in the process.
Junior running back Raymond Carter, who leads the team in both rushing yards and total touchdowns, injured his knee in the loss to the Horned Frogs. Coach Steve Fairchild expects Carter, a UCLA transfer, to miss at least two weeks as a result.
â€œRight now weâ€™re still evaluating it, but he has a sprained knee,â€ Fairchild said. â€œAs each day goes by, we will assess where he is at. Eventually, heâ€™ll start running around and get back into practice.â€
The loss of Carter creates a void in the Ramsâ€™ backfield ÂÂÂÂÂÂâ€“â€“ one that wonâ€™t be officially filled until all practices this week conclude in preparation for this Saturdayâ€™s game at Air Force.
â€œSomebody has to practice well to get any reps,â€ Fairchild said. â€œMaybe (fullback) Zac Pauga will start at running back.â€
The players likely to benefit most from Carterâ€™s absence are Pauga, John Mosure, and Chris Nwoke â€“â€“Â who combined for 35 yards on 15 carries during Saturdayâ€™s Mountain West Conference opener.
Nwoke, a redshirt freshman, is anxious to prove himself worthy of the increased workload.
â€œItâ€™s unfortunate for (Carter) to go down, but when someone goes down, someone else has to step up,â€ said Nwoke, who carried the ball four times against TCU. â€œWhenever youâ€™re given an opportunity, youâ€™ve got to take it.â€
Senior Leonard Mason will also be in the conversation at running back this week.
The Rams will also be without the services of long snapper Scott Albritton thanks to a knee-injury sustained on Saturday.
Unlike Carter, who is expected to return after a brief hiatus, Albrittonâ€™s ailing knee will force him to miss the remainder of the season. The diagnosis for Albrittonâ€™s brings a close on a three-year career at CSU. He served as the Rams long snapper from 2008 until 2010.
Special teams coach Larry Lewis said he expects Tanner Hedstrom to take over the long-snapping responsibilities. Hedstrom took over for Albritton when he left in the first half against TCU.
â€œIâ€™m fully confident that Tanner is going to step in well,â€ Lewis said. â€œI feel bad for Scott, what heâ€™s given for this program and what he means to us canâ€™t be replaced. Itâ€™s college football and life must go on, unfortunately.â€
After the Ramsâ€™ impressive 36-34 win over Idaho on Sept. 25, the team took a step back against TCU to the offensive troubles that plagued them in the first three losses of the season.
The Air Force Falcons (4-1, 2-0 MWC) boast the nationâ€™s top-ranked rushing attack, and enter this having won two games in a row. The Falcons beat the Rams a year ago at Hughes Stadium by a count of 34-16.
Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at email@example.com.