College Football: Most Important Injuries That Could Impact Week 6 Games
Injuries are a part of football.
It's a sad fact of the football universe, at some point during the season, there are going to be some significant injuries that have an impact on how the season plays out.
That's what this list is about.
The guys on this list are all injured, and at best, questionable for their team's game this weekend.
Their injuries are going to make a difference in their team's fortunes, as every guy on this list is a key to their team's chances of winning their particular matchup.
10. Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
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Duke is 4-1 this season, with its only loss coming to Stanford.
Renfree has been the leader of the offense, completing 72 percent of his passes and scoring nine times.
He had an MRI on his injured shoulder on Sunday, but coach David Cutcliffe is not talking about his quarterback's injury until the official injury report comes out on Thursday.
Duke faces Virginia this weekend and has an opportunity to start the ACC slate 2-0.
9. Sam Smiley, S, North Carolina
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North Carolina cannot play this postseason, so we haven't been talking about the Tar Heels much.
The team already has one loss in the ACC and sits at 3-2 overall.
Not exactly where new coach Larry Fedora hoped to be.
In his first three games, freshman safety Sam Smiley totaled 23 tackles.
He suffered an undisclosed injury against Louisville two weeks ago and hasn't played since.
With Virginia Tech up next, and Logan Thomas due for one of his good games, this secondary could use Smiley on the field.
8. N.C. State Offensive Line
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Zach Allen, Rob Crisp and Andrew Wallace were all out against Miami (FL) last week, and all three are listed as questionable heading into this weekend's showdown with Florida State.
The odds of the Wolfpack beating FSU even with these guys healthy are slim, but against the Seminoles' aggressive defense, being without three offensive linemen from your rotation is likely to be catastrophic.
7. Aaron Donald, DT, Syracuse
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Aaron Donald is an elite level defensive tackle, who has the ability to alter games with his ability to knife into gaps in offensive lines and make plays.
He is listed as questionable this weekend against a Syracuse team that has the ability to move the ball if not pressured.
The Panthers are still aspiring to major accomplishments in Big East conference play.
Paul Chryst's team needs Donald on the field to make this defense even begin to appear effective against Syracuse.
6. Riley Nelson, QB, BYU
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Nelson is suffering from a back injury and will likely miss another game this weekend, when the Cougars face Utah State.
This could mean trouble for Bronco Mendenhall's squad.
While freshman quarterback Taysom Hill is an adequate replacement, and a dual threat at the position, he does not possess the passing skills that Nelson has displayed during his time at BYU.
With tough in-state rival Utah State coming to town, if Hill starts, the offense is not going to be nearly as effective this weekend.
5. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
In Washington's last game, the Huskies knocked off a Top 10 team.
They will be looking to do that again this weekend, as the team faces off against Oregon.
Shelton is questionable for Saturday's contest with a leg injury.
With the Ducks and their potent offense hosting the Huskies over the weekend, they will need all hands on deck to even have a shot of slowing that offense.
Shelton has been a reliable tackler and made some solid plays from his defensive tackle position, and he will be needed on the field to slow De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner.
4. Waymon James and Matthew Tucker RB, TCU
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TCU saw starting running back Waymon James suffer a season-ending knee injury in the middle of September, which left Matthew Tucker to fill the void.
Tucker suffered an ankle injury last weekend, and it's not clear whether he will be ready to go this weekend, but it's looking as if Gary Patterson is contemplating using backup quarterback Trevone Boykin as a running back.
Iowa State has an underrated defense, so going into this game with few viable options at running back could be extremely detrimental to the Frogs' chances of winning that contest.
3. Jordan Hall, RB, Ohio State
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Hall missed the Buckeyes' first two games with a foot injury that he suffered in the offseason.
He instantly had an impact on the field for Urban Meyer's team when he returned, racking up 192 yards on 24 carries so far this season.
Then he went down again last weekend against Michigan State with a "partial PCL tear in his right knee" per ESPN's Bryan Bennett.
The Buckeyes' offense, outside of Braxton Miller, has been anemic and will struggle to run the ball against Nebraska without Hall.
He is listed as questionable, and there is no set time yet for his return.
Buckeye fans can only hope that this injury is not serious enough to keep him off the field for long.
2. Texas Defense
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Cornerback Adrian Phillips, defensive tackles Brandon Moore and Desmond Jackson, and linebacker Jordan Hicks are all questionable going into their huge showdown with West Virginia this weekend.
These guys have combined for 48 tackles this season, and with the Mountaineers coming to town, any defensive players that can be on the field will be extremely welcome.
The Texas defense has not been as stout as predicted, and West Virginia has the most potent offense in the nation.
While none of the four players are studs in this defense, they are all key pieces of the unit, and if they are not on the field, they will be missed.
1. West Virginia Running Backs
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Andrew Buie is the star of the West Virginia rushing attack, such as it is.
The Mountaineers' second-leading rusher, Shawne Alston, has scored three times this season and continues to be an explosive option for the 'Eers in the backfield.
He is questionable this weekend when they invade Austin to face the Longhorns, and he will be missed, especially with two other running backs, Ryan Clarke and Donovan Miles, who are also questionable.
Neither of them has contributed to the rushing game this season, but with Alston out, the position is appearing to have some depth issues.