Arizona Wildcats

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08:  Justin Davis #22 of the USC Trojans leaves the field during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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High-ankle sprain to sideline USC’s leading rusher vs. Arizona


The dreaded high-ankle sprain has claimed yet another victim.

The latest to fall into the injury’s clutches is Justin Davis, with USC head coach Clay Helton confirming Thursday that the running back won’t play against Arizona Saturday because of it.  The decision to sideline Davis came after the back hadn’t practiced at all this week.

The senior sustained the injury in the win over Colorado last weekend.  It’s possible the injury will linger beyond this week, although it will help that the Trojans have a bye for Week 8 and won’t play again until Thursday, Oct. 27, against Cal.

Davis currently leads the Trojans with 476 yards and 6.4 yards per carry.  Sophomore Ronald Jones, who’s second on the team with 208 yards, is expected to get the start in place of Jones.

Additionally, Helton stated that fellow sophomores Aca’Cedric Ware (133 yards) and Dominic Davis (13) will shoulder more of the running-game load than usual.

“We’ve got three really quality runners,” the coach said by way of the Orange County Register. “We still remain balanced. We’re going to stick to our M.O., where our run still sets up the pass and be a balanced offense. We got a lot of confidence in the three kids.”

Arizona LB Cody Ippolito suffers third season-ending knee injury

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Running back Paul Perkins #24 of the UCLA Bruins runs into linebacker Cody Ippolito #57 of the Arizona Wildcats at the Rose Bowl on November 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 17-7.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Unfortunately for Cody Ippolito, it’s lather, rinse, repeat on the injury front.

During Saturday’s 13-point loss to Utah, the Arizona linebacker sustained an unspecified knee injury that will bring a premature end to his 2016 season.  This marks the third season-ending knee injury Ippolito has sustained the last four years.

Ippolito also missed the 2013 and 2015 seasons with knee injuries, the latter of which was .

“I know it’s extremely frustrating to him,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday. “He was playing really well. He loves the game. It’s really unfortunate.”

The good news for the player is that he will apply for a sixth season of eligibility, which is all but guaranteed to be granted as he missed two full seasons because of injury.

In between his first two knee injuries, Ippolito started six of the 14 games in which he played in 2014.  In six starts this season, Ippolito’s 28 tackles were fourth on the team.  His 1.5 sacks were tied for second on the Wildcats, while the four tackles for loss are third.

Utah injury woes continue as leading rusher Armand Shyne lost for the season

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 01: Quarterback Tyler Huntley #1 of the Utah Utes hands off the ball to teammate Armand Shyne #23 during their game against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The injury situation in Salt Lake City has gone from bad to worse.

Utah announced on Monday that tailback Armand Shyne was lost for the rest of the season after suffering a non-contact knee injury on Saturday.

“He’s done for the year unfortunately, so we’re down to our sixth running back,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said at his weekly press conference. “You deal with it and move on. We’ll figure it out. Don’t have an answer for you right now but we’ll have one soon.”

The team’s leading rusher with 373 yards and four touchdowns on the season, Shyne went down in the fourth quarter last week after rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown in a 36-23 win over Pac-12 South rival Arizona. He is the fifth starter to go down for the Utes this year, joining centers Hiva Lutui and J.J. Dielman, tight end Siale Fakailoatonga and defensive end Kylie Fitts.

Complicating matters for the team is they are already extremely thin at running back. Backup Jordan Howard was also hurt late in the game against the Wildcats and will not be available this week against Oregon State. Joe Williams was supposed to be the starter this year but retired two weeks into the season to focus on school and junior Troy McCormick is still injured and won’t play. True freshman Zack Moss will be a game-time decision but is expected to start and redshirt freshman Marcel Manalo is all that’s left on the depth chart after that.

Utah is 5-1 heading into their game against the Beavers in Corvallis but getting a sixth win to keep pace in the standings of the Pac-12 South won’t be easy at all given how perilously thin the team is at tailback.

Arizona facing more questions in its backfield

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10:  Running back Nick Wilson #28 of the Arizona Wildcats carries the ball in the second half of the game Grambling State Tigers at Arizona Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats won 31-21. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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The personnel situation in Arizona’s backfield has gotten dicey all of a sudden.

J.J. Taylor picked up the injured Nick Wilson‘s carries in last weekend’s loss to Washington and rushed for 97 yards, but will be lost for a significant period of time because of a broken left ankle sustained in the same game. Now Wilson, who missed the UW game because of an ankle injury, is listed as questionable for the UCLA game because of that lingering injury issue.

Wilson originally sustained the injury early on in the Week 3 win over Hawaii, meaning the dreaded high-ankle sprain may be in play.

Taylor and Wilson are currently 1-2 amongst Wildcat running backs in rushing yards with 261 and 257, respectively. Wilson was UA’s leading rushers the first two games of the season, with Wilson taking that honor in Week 3.

Overall, though, quarterback Brandon Dawkins leads the team in yards (391), rushing touchdowns (seven) and yards per carry (8.9).

Dawkins will be making his fourth straight start in place of Anu Solomon, who began the season as the starter but hasn’t played since injuring his knee during practice leading into Week 2.

Report: Arizona lineman Zach Hemmila’s death caused by toxic mix of prescription drugs

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03:  Arizona Wildcats helmets display the #65 to honor offensive lineman Zach Hemmila who passed away in the off-season before the college football game against the Brigham Young Cougars at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Nearly two months after his tragic passing, a cause of death for Zach Hemmila has been confirmed.

Based on the autopsy report filed by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, the Arizona Republic is reporting that the 22-year-old Hemmila’s death was the result of the combined toxic effects of two different prescription drugs. The two drugs, the Republic noted, were oxymorphone, an opiate painkiller, and alprazolam, an anxiety medication.

From the newspaper’s report:

Chewing tobacco was found in Hemmila’s mouth, according to the autopsy report. No intact pills were discovered in his gastrointestinal system. His lungs were “markedly congested,” per the report.

Hemmila passed away either very late on the night of Aug. 7 or early in the morning Aug. 8. A cousin discovered Hemmila’s body at the Arizona offensive lineman’s residence.

His death has officially been ruled an accident.

“Arizona Athletics continues to mourn the passing of Zach Hemmila,” a statement from the university said in response to the report. “We will honor the family’s request for privacy and support them in any way we can.”

Hemmila started six games last season. He was slated to start at center for the Wildcats this season.

The Wildcats will continue to wear a sticker the No. 65 to honor Hemmila for the remainder of the season.