No. 8 Oregon suffered a disappointing loss Saturday against unranked Stanford, but the Ducks lost more than just the game.
Leading running back CJ Verdell was carted off with an injury in the third quarter against the Cardinal, and after Thursday's practice, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal told reporters Verdell is out for the remainder of the season.
Verdell leads the Ducks with 78 carries for 406 yards and six rushing touchdowns. He also recorded a receiving touchdown this year.
Verdell is a redshirt junior after sitting out his freshman year. The California native burst onto the scene with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019. He played in five of Oregon's seven games during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, finishing with 285 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Without Verdell in the lineup, junior running back Travis Dye will be relied on to step into the lead role. Dye is a speedster who can get to the edge and works best in space. The 5'10", 190-pound back has 382 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries while adding eight receptions for 80 yards.
Besides Dye, Oregon will be working with an inexperienced group, as the other three running backs on the roster are freshmen.
Oregon has relied on the running game throughout the season. Starting quarterback Anthony Brown has a 56.1 completion percentage on 123 pass attempts through five games. Meanwhile, the Ducks have rushed the ball 212 times. Brown has thrown for 950 yards, six touchdowns and an interception and has added 198 rushing yards with four scores.
With a bye this week, the Ducks backfield will have extra time to prepare. Oregon will look to bounce back at home against Cal on Oct. 15.