Most Important Injuries That Could Impact Week 5 College Football Games
One of the underlying storylines that explains each week’s results in college football is the constant barrage of injuries that are naturally involved in a sport teeming with physicality.
Indeed, many times we can at least partially account for why a certain team won or lost by examining injury reports that indicate which critical players either did or didn’t participate in a specific contest.
The following slideshow alerts and then arms the well-informed fan with a nationwide list of injuries that could affect the outcome of the clashes that combine to make Week 5 of the 2012 season.
These are the guys whose return, complete absence or limited capabilities will likely go a long way in helping to tell the story of yet another delicious chapter of collegiate gridiron action.
Unless otherwise noted, injury statuses are via USA Today’s comprehensive listing.
Terrence Miller, TE, Arizona, Shoulder
Senior TE Terrence Miller was out last week in the Wildcats' pointless loss to Oregon and is, as of now, questionable for Week 5’s meeting with undefeated Oregon State.
Miller’s return would be a bonus, as he contributed 10 catches for 106 yards and one score through the first three games of the season—a big boost to a squad that ranks No. 11 nationally in passing yards.
Tevin Mitchel, CB, Arkansas, Neck
Sophomore CB Tevin Mitchel hasn’t played since the Hogs' Week 1 win over FCS Jacksonville State and is still considered questionable for the Week 5 road trip to face Texas A&M.
Mitchel had six tackles in the 2012 opener and registered 56 tackles (33 solo), one fumble return and 1.5 tackles for loss last season as a freshman.
Mitchel’s return couldn’t be anything but good for a defense that ranks a dismal No. 110 nationally in points allowed.
Jake Jackson, RT, Baylor, Knee
Senior RT Jake Jackson did not play in Baylor’s 47-42 win over ULM in Week 4, and the latest reports indicate that he is doubtful for the Bears’ conference opener Saturday at West Virginia.
Jackson is one of two senior starters on Baylor’s O-line, a group that anchors the No. 5 nationally ranked scoring offense.
You’ve got to think that both the Bears and Mountaineers will need to have their offenses firing on all cylinders to survive what could be a score-fest featuring only a hint of defense.
Colin Larmond, WR, Boston College, Leg
Boston College’s No. 1 receiver in 2011, senior Colin Larmond, has been sidelined for the first three games of 2012 and is considered questionable for Week 5’s clash with Clemson.
Larmond racked up 528 yards and three scores on 34 grabs last year as a junior, and he’d no doubt be welcomed back with open arms to an offensive unit that ranks No. 16 nationally in passing yards per game versus only No. 118 in rushing yards.
Branden Oliver, RB, Buffalo, Leg
Junior RB Branden Oliver left last Wednesday’s game versus Kent State with a leg injury, and though considered questionable for Saturday’s game at UConn, ESPN reports that he will make the trip with the team.
Oliver was the Bulls' leading back in 2011, when he racked up 1,395 yards and 13 TD. Thus far in 2012, he has rushed for 426 yards and three scores, including a 238-yard, single-game performance versus FCS Morgan State in Week 2.
Oliver’s participation is crucial for a unit that ranks No. 28 nationally in rushing yards versus No. 112 in passing yards.
Steven Means, DL, Buffalo, Head
Senior DL Steven Means is currently considered questionable for the Bulls' Week 5 road trip to UConn.
Means’ 14 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one broken-up pass and 1.5 tackles for loss this season clearly illustrate that he would be a tremendous boost to a defense that is already struggling to the tune of a No. 102 ranking in scoring.
Matt Summers-Gavin, RT, Cal, Knee
Senior returning starter Matt Summers-Gavin hasn’t hit the field for Cal since the opener and is still considered questionable for Week 5’s visit to USC.
Gavin is one of three returning starters to an offensive line that will be key in improving the Golden Bears' No. 70 national ranking in scoring.
Latavius Murray, RB, UCF, Shoulder
After rushing for 108 yards and one score in the Knights' opener at Akron, senior RB Latavius Murray has been out of action due to a lingering shoulder injury.
According to a report by ESPN, Murray, who was UCF’s No. 2 rusher in 2011, “could” be available to play in Week 5’s game versus Missouri.
Anthony McClung, WR, Cincinnati, Elbow
Junior WR Anthony McClung was injured in the Bearcats' Week 3 clash with FCS Delaware State and is currently listed as questionable for Week 5’s game versus Virginia Tech in Landover, Md.
McClung was Cincinnati’s No. 1 receiver as a sophomore in 2011 and has contributed 75 yards and one score through less than two games this season.
Doug Rippy, LB, Colorado, Knee
After registering 43 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss last season as a junior, Doug Rippy has seen very limited action due to a lingering knee injury in 2012.
Rippy had just three tackles in the Buffs' opening loss to Colorado State and is still listed as questionable for the Week 5 game versus UCLA.
Any defensive boost for Colorado would be considered priceless, as it currently holds a dubious No. 117 national ranking in scoring “D” through four games.
Ray Polk, DB, Colorado, Ankle
Another defensive guy that Colorado needs to get back to 100 percent, senior DB Ray Polk’s participation in 2012 is also limited to a brief appearance in the opening loss to CSU.
Polk racked up 69 tackles and one pick as a junior in 2011, making him the Buffs' No. 1 tackler a year ago.
Polk, like Rippy, is listed as questionable for Week 5’s meeting with UCLA.
Donnell Alexander, RB, Colorado State, Ankle
Freshman sensation Donnell Alexander has already racked up 148 yards rushing, 69 yards receiving, 76 yards on kickoff returns and one tackle in his debut as a collegian.
And this is all even more impressive when you realize he left the Rams' third game of the season with an ankle injury and hasn’t hit the field since.
Alexander is listed as questionable for Week 5’s trip to face Air Force.
Jacobi Jenkins, DB, East Carolina, Leg
Senior DB Jacobi Jenkins has missed the Pirates' last two games due to a leg injury and is listed as questionable for ECU’s Week 5 visit from UTEP.
The Pirates are 2-2 (1-0 in C-USA play) and will need the help of Jenkins (seven tackles and one pass defended through two games this season) and the rest of the ECU “D” to support an offense that ranks a dismal No. 112 nationally in scoring.
Kedrick Rhodes, RB, FIU, Leg
Junior RB Kedrick Rhodes is currently FIU’s leading rusher in 2012 despite the fact that he missed Week 4’s game versus Louisville due to a leg injury.
Rhodes rushed for 1,149 yards and eight scores last season as a sophomore and has added 225 yards and one score thus far in 2012.
Rhodes is currently listed as questionable for the Golden Panthers’ Week 5 visit to ULL.
Jake Medlock, QB, FIU, Foot
To add to FIU’s offensive-leadership injury woes, starting QB Jake Medlock suffered a foot injury in the Panthers' Week 4 loss to Louisville.
Medlock, who is 69-of-119 for 827 yards, four TD and zero picks thus far this season, is listed as doubtful for FIU’s trip to ULL this Saturday.
Shawn Plummer, LB, Fresno State, Knee
Senior LB Shawn Plummer has missed the Bulldogs' last two games versus Colorado and Tulsa due to a knee injury and is listed as questionable for this weekend’s clash with San Diego State.
Plummer racked up 10 tackles, one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one QB hurry through the first two games of this season.
The return of Plummer and, alternatively, his continued absence, can be considered substantial for Fresno State moving forward.
Ben Dew, LG, Hawaii, Leg
Starting freshman LG Ben Dew is listed as questionable for the Warriors' game Friday at BYU.
Dew is a member of one of the youngest offensive lines in the nation, a fact that goes a long way in explaining Hawaii’s No. 100 national ranking in rushing yards and No. 90 ranking in passing yards.
Charles Sims, RB, Houston, Hip
The Cougars' leading rusher from a year ago, junior RB Charles Sims didn’t play in Week 3’s loss at UCLA due to a hip injury.
A rare ray of hope for 0-3 Houston in 2012 is the news that Sims is projected to be back in Week’s 5’s annual meeting with intra-city rival Rice at Reliant Stadium.
Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois, Ankle
Junior QB Nathan Scheelhaase, who missed the Illini’s Week 2 loss to Arizona State and then Week 4’s win over FCS Charleston Southern, is expected to play this weekend versus Penn State despite an ankle injury.
Scheelhaase was 8-of-11 for 85 yards, one TD and one pick in limited action in last Saturday’s 52-24 loss to Louisiana Tech.
Graham Pocic, C, Illinois, Knee
Senior starting center Graham Pocic was out of action for both of Illinois’ last two contests, but is currently listed as probable for Saturday’s clash versus Penn State.
Pocic’s return can’t be anything but good news for a unit that currently ranks No. 86 nationally in rushing yards and No. 94 in passing yards.
Cameron Coffman, QB, Indiana, Hip
Sophomore QB Cameron Coffman, who suffers from a hip pointer, is listed as questionable for Saturday’s trip to Northwestern.
According to ESPN, Coffman participated in Tuesday’s practice and “did well”—news that makes it realistic to expect him to start this weekend.
Coffman is 40-of-57 for 410 yards, three TD and zero INT thus far in 2012.
Chase Hoobler, LB, Indiana, Back
Sophomore LB Chase Hoobler didn’t play in last week’s loss to Ball State due to a back injury and is currently listed as questionable for this Saturday’s visit to Northwestern.
Hoobler had registered 10 tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack through the first two games of 2012, and he’ll be sorely missed if he's not on hand for the Hoosiers' conference opener on Saturday.
Damon Bullock, RB, Iowa, Head
The Hawkeyes' No. 2 rusher thus far in 2012, sophomore RB Damon Bullock missed last week’s loss to Central Michigan because of an injury to the head.
Bullock, who has contributed 280 yards and one score this season, was initially listed as questionable, but his status has been downgraded to doubtful as the week has progressed.
Iowa needs all the help it can get on offense, a fact that is underscored by its No. 107 ranking in scoring.
Cartier Rice, CB, Kentucky, Quadriceps
Senior CB Cartier Rice missed last week’s 38-0 drubbing at Florida, but before that, he had contributed 16 tackles (12 solo) through the first three games of the season.
Rice is listed as questionable for the Wildcats' Week 5 game versus South Carolina and would be a sight for sore eyes for a defense that has given up 70 points over the past two weeks.
Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami (Fla.), Leg
Sophomore LB Denzel Perryman did not participate in Miami’s Week 4 OT win at Georgia Tech due to a leg injury and is listed as questionable for Saturday’s meeting with NC State.
Perryman contributed one INT (returned 41 yards for a TD), 16 tackles and three tackles for loss through the first three games of the season.
Perryman’s return would be a helping hand to a young defensive unit that currently holds a No. 97 national ranking in scoring.
Nick Harwell, WR, Miami (Ohio), Leg
After missing the Redhawks' last two games due to a leg injury, junior WR Nick Harwell is listed as doubtful for Week 5’s game at Akron.
Harwell was Miami’s leading receiver in 2011 and racked up 141 yards and one TD before being injured in the win over FCS Southern Illinois in Week 2.
Harwell caught eight balls for 120 yards and one score in the season opener at Ohio State.
Zach Mottla, C, Minnesota, Unknown
Junior center Zach Mottla has been out of action for the past two weeks and did not participate in Minnesota’s wins over Western Michigan and Syracuse.
Mottla’s injury has not been revealed, but he will no doubt be a key factor if the Golden Gophers are to retain their perfect record as they enter Big Ten play.
Mottla is listed as questionable for this Saturday’s trip to Iowa.
Ed Olson, LT, Minnesota, Ankle
Another less-than-100-percent member of the Golden Gophers' young offensive line, junior Ed Olson is listed as doubtful for Week 5’s game at Iowa due to an ankle injury.
MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota, Ankle
After leading the team in both passing and rushing yards in 2011, senior QB MarQueis Gray has had his 2012 season paused due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 3’s game versus Western Michigan.
Per ESPN, Gray’s recovery is “ahead of schedule,” but he is still listed as “out” for this Saturday’s clash with Iowa.
Gray is 26-of-44 for 398 yards, five TD and one pick thus far in 2012 and has also contributed 234 yards and two additional scores running the ball.
Uriah Grant, DT, Ole Miss, Hand
Though Ole Miss might struggle mightily at Alabama this Saturday, the slope will be even steeper without senior DT Uriah Grant, who missed last week and is listed as questionable for the battle with the Tide.
Grant has registered nine tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack through three games in 2012.
Matt Raymer, S, New Mexico, Unknown
Senior safety Matt Raymer did not participate in New Mexico’s Week 4 win over in-state rival New Mexico State and is currently listed as questionable for Week 5’s clash with No. 24 Boise State.
Raymer, who has managed 15 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble, could have a substantial positive impact on the Lobos' quest to shut down the Broncos this Saturday.
Sam Smiley, CB, North Carolina, Unknown
Freshman CB Sam Smiley missed the Tar Heels' win over East Carolina last weekend and is listed as questionable for UNC’s Week 5 game versus Idaho.
Smiley has brought 13 tackles to the table this season, including 11 in the narrow 39-34 loss at Louisville in Week 3.
Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio, Hand
Junior starting QB Tyler Tettleton did not take a snap in the Bobcats' narrow 27-24, Week 4 win at Marshall and is listed as questionable for Week 5’s trip to UMass.
Tettleton is 66-of-99 for 781 yards, seven TD and zero picks through three games in 2012 and has also scored twice running the ball.
Tettleton’s health will be key to a potential perfect run for Ohio University.
C.J. Barnett, DB, Ohio State, Ankle
Junior DB C.J. Barnett sat out the Buckeyes' Week 4 win over UAB, but before that, he registered 17 tackles, earned one tackle for loss and broke up three passes during the first three weeks of the season.
Barnett is listed as probable for Ohio State’s Week 5 trip to Michigan State.
Bradley Roby, DB, Ohio State, Shoulder
Like Barnett, sophomore DB Bradley Roby missed last week’s game versus UAB due to injury, and also like Barnett, Roby is listed as probable for this Saturday’s trip to Michigan State.
In three games, Roby has managed to post one TD off a fumble recovery, 19 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and has broken up six passes.
Without a doubt, it will be good to have this guy back on the field.
Wes Lunt, QB, Oklahoma State, Knee
After only partially participating in Week 3’s win over ULL, Wes Lunt is earmarked by ESPN as “doubtful” for Saturday night's clash with Texas.
Lunt is 51-of-75 for 588 yards, four TD and three picks thus far this season.
Evan Epstein, C, Oklahoma State, Unknown
Senior center Evan Epstein completely missed Week 3’s win over ULL due to an unknown injury and is listed as questionable for Week 5’s meeting with Texas.
The full participation of a somewhat inexperienced O-line will be necessary for Oklahoma State to survive its Big 12 slate.
Adrian Amos, CB, Penn State, Head
Sophomore CB Adrian Amos, who has registered 21 tackles, six tackles for loss and amassed 53 yards as a kickoff-return guy thus far this season, is listed as probable for Week 5’s trip to Penn State.
D.J. Swearinger, FS, South Carolina, Suspension
Senior safety D.J. Swearinger was slapped with a one-game suspension for delivering a blow in the Gamecocks' Week 3 win over UAB and is due back on the field for this Saturday night’s meeting with Kentucky.
In the three 2012 contests he did participate in, Swearinger has amassed one pick, one 65-yard fumble return for a TD, 10 total tackles, a half tackle for loss and broken up four passes.
Swearinger’s return will do nothing but amp up the No. 5 nationally ranked scoring defense as they march into the meat of their SEC slate.
Waymon James, RB, TCU, Knee
Waymon James was the Frogs' No. 1 running back a year ago. After he got off to a good start in 2012, he suffered what has since been deemed a season-ending knee injury in Week 3’s win over Kansas.
James’ invaluable contributions to balancing a strong passing attack will be sorely missed, especially since TCU will face a long list of Big 12 foes this season.
David Fluellen, RB, Toledo, Head
Toledo’s No. 1 back thus far in 2012, junior David Fluellen has suffered an injury to the head that limited his touches in Toledo’s Week 4 win over FCS Coastal Carolina.
According to ESPN, Fluellen is questionable for the Rockets' Week 5 meeting with Western Michigan.
With 287 yards and three scores, Fluellen is a key offensive player.
Terrance Owens, QB, Toledo, Ankle
As per ESPN, junior QB Terrance Owens is a probable starter in Toledo’s Saturday road game at Western Michigan.
Thus far this season, Owens’ numbers are impressive; he’s 83-of-127 for 1,027 yards, nine TD and zero INT.
Owens is one of the big reasons the Rockets are 3-1 coming into Week 5.
Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane, Shoulder
Senior Green Wave QB Ryan Griffin missed Tulane’s Week 4 game versus Ole Miss due to a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 2’s loss at Tulsa.
Griffin, who is 41-of-61 for 314 yards, one TD and one pick in 2012, is listed as probable for Saturday’s afternoon clash with ULM.
Jeff Baca, RG, UCLA, Head
Returning senior starter Jeff Baca did not lace it up last weekend in the Bruins' loss to Oregon State and is currently listed as questionable for Week 5’s trip to face Colorado.
Baca is a primary contributor to UCLA’s striking offense stats, which include a No. 14 national ranking in rushing yards and a No. 13 mark in passing yards.
Justin Anderson, LB, ULL, Arm
Junior LB Justin Anderson is questionable for Saturday’s game versus FIU—a loss that could be significant for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Anderson has managed 27 tackles, one tackle for loss and broken up three passes through three games this season.
These contributions are even more significant when you consider the fact that ULL ranks No. 90 nationally in scoring defense.
Melvin White, CB, ULL, Leg
Another defender listed as questionable for ULL’s Week 5 game versus FIU, Melvin White has amassed 11 tackles, one broken-up pass and one forced fumble thus far in 2012.
Justin Hamilton, DL, ULL, Suspension
Like defensive teammates Anderson and White, sophomore DL Justin Hamilton is listed as questionable for ULL’s Week 5 game versus FIU, but unlike the duo, Hamilton is out for disciplinary reasons rather than an injury.
Hamilton already missed Week 3’s loss to Oklahoma State, and if not brought back into the fold, his five tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles will be sorely missed.
Nikita Whitlock, NG, Wake Forest, Ankle
Due to an ankle injury, starting nose guard Nikita Whitlock sat out of both Wake’s loss to Florida State in Week 3 and their win over Army in Week 4.
Whitlock, who has six tackles in two appearances in 2012, is listed as questionable for this Saturday’s meeting with Duke.
Wake Forest’s defense has struggled to the tune of a No. 101 ranking in scoring defense, meaning it’ll need all the help it can get against the Blue Devils’ No. 25-ranked scoring offense this weekend.
Colin Tanigawa, LG, Washington, Knee
Starting LG Colin Tanigawa is listed as questionable for this Thursday night’s prime-time game versus Stanford.
The Huskies will need the guys in the trenches to be 100 percent versus the No. 8-ranked Cardinal, a fact that can be underscored by a No. 97 ranking in passing yards and a No. 106 mark in rushing.
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington, Foot
After reeling off an impressive 10 tackles in the Huskies' Week 2 loss at LSU, sophomore Danny Shelton barely participated in the Week 3 win over FCS Portland State.
It is unclear whether or not Shelton’s foot will be healed in time for Washington’s Thursday-night clash with Stanford.
Erik Kohler, RG, Washington, Leg
To add to Washington’s concerns on the O-line, junior RG Erik Kohler is also listed as questionable for Thursday’s meeting with the singular Cardinal.
Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State, Knee
Jeff Tuel hasn’t taken a snap since the Cougars' Week 2 game versus Eastern Washington, and he is still listed as questionable for Wazzou’s Week 5 game versus Oregon.
Tuel is 50-of-71 for 400 yards, two TD and two picks through two games this season.
Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan, Hand
Senior QB Alex Carder suffered a hand injury during the Broncos' Week 4 win over UConn and is listed as “out” for WMU’s Week 5 game versus Toledo.
Carder is 97-of-161 for 1,049 yards, eight TD and five picks thus far in 2012.
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin, Head
Wisconsin superstar RB Montee Ball is still listed as questionable for Week 5’s game at Nebraska.
Ball left the Badgers' Week 4 game versus UTEP with a head injury. According to ESPN, he’s slated for a full-contact practice on Thursday, which should result in a realistic gauge for his return.