Oregon State Beavers

Oregon State running back Ryan Nall, right, looks back at California cornerback Darius Allensworth, left, during an 80-yard touchdown run in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)
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Beavers dealing with injury issues in their backfield

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It’s looking more and more likely that Oregon State will be at less than full strength in their backfield when they line up against No. 5 Washington Saturday evening.

Leading rusher Ryan Nall aggravated a foot injury in last Saturday’s loss after just one carry and is officially listed as doubtful for the game against the Huskies. Nall did not practice Thursday and was still wearing a boot to protect the injured foot.

Additionally, Nall’s backup, Artavis Pierce, is dealing with a stinger and did not participate in the portion of practice open to the media, The Oregonian reported.

Nall currently leads the Beavers with 464 yards and six rushing touchdowns. He’s also third on the team with 13 receptions.

Pierce is second behind Nall with 262 yards.

If neither Nall nor Pierce are available, the bulk of the running game load would be shouldered by Tim Cook. The senior has carried the ball nine times this season for 22 yards.

Oregon State QB Darell Garretson out for the season, backup won’t play this week either

CORVALLIS, OR - OCTOBER 15:  Darell Garretson #10 of the Oregon State Beavers throws a pass against the Utah Utes at Reser Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Oregon State has not had the greatest of luck with injuries and that continued this week as the team suffered from a double-whammy at the most important position on the field.

The Beavers confirmed on Monday that starting quarterback Darell Garretson was lost for the rest of the year with an ankle injury that he suffered in the team’s narrow loss to Utah on Saturday. Backup Conor Blount, who was injured the drive after right after taking over for Garretson, will also be out against No. 5 Washington this week with a knee injury.

Sophomore Marcus McMaryion is now expected to start for Oregon State as a result of the injuries but at least he’s not lacking for experience as the signal-caller played in seven games last year, starting one. True freshman Mason Moran will be the backup but head coach Gary Andersen is no doubt hoping things don’t reach that point.

The injury situation is so bad in fact that The Oregonian reports former Utah State quarterback (and college football fan favorite) Chuckie Keeton will be pressed into action running the team’s scout team. He is currently a Beavers quality control coach.

It was going to be an uphill battle for OSU this week anyway to face a Washington team that has blown out just about every opponent this season but the news that their top two quarterbacks are out for the game certainly doesn’t help.

Fresh out of ‘retirement,’ RB Joe Williams nearly hits 200 in Utes’ win over Beavers

CORVALLIS, OR - OCTOBER 15:  Joe Williams #28 of the Utah Utes runs the ball against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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The “old man” still has it, apparently.

Two games into the 2016 season, Joe Williams announced his retirement from the sport because of unspecified health issues.  Less than four weeks later, the senior running back returned to a Utah squad a few days ago because of a backfield decimated by injury.

In his first post-retirement game, Williams showed no rust from his month away from the sport as he ran for 179 yards in No. 21 Utah’s 19-14 win over Oregon State.  Williams did yeoman’s work, too, as he carried the ball 34 times in averaging just over five yards per carry.

The carries matched a career high, while the yards were just eight short of the 187 he had against Colorado in the regular-season finale last season.

Williams’ 75 yards rushing this season were second on the team at the time he walked away. He was second among Ute backs last season with 477 yards.

It’s expected that Williams will continue to shoulder a sizable portion of the running game load — he accounted for just over 65 percent of the Utes’ rushing yards vs. OSU — for the foreseeable future as four of the Utes’ six leading rusher are either out for the season or indefinitely.

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.

Checking in on the nation’s longest winning & losing streaks

Alabama's head coach Saban instructs his players as they take on the LSU Tigers during their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge
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Unbelievably, at the end of today, we’ll be more than one-third of the way through the 2016 regular season as the calendar flips from September to October. And, not surprisingly, some teams are faring better than others — and some, suffice to say, are not.

In “water’s wet, sky’s blue” news, defending national champions and undefeated top-ranked Alabama holds the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 in a row. ‘Bama’s last loss came Sept. 19 a year ago against Ole Miss. In fact, the Tide hasn’t really come close to seeing that streak end since as just two of their last 16 games have been decided by 10-plus points, with the lone exceptions being a 19-14 win over Tennessee in October of last year and 43-37 over Ole Miss just two weeks ago.

What might surprise you, though, is the second-longest streak behind ‘Bama. The holder of that honor? San Diego State, which has peeled off 13 wins in a row entering Week 5. Tennessee is the only other team in double digits, with 10 wins in a row dating back to last season.  The Vols’ last loss?  To the Tide, of course, a defeat that UT will get to avenge two weeks from today in the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium.

A total of nine teams will also take the field Saturday with a winning streak of at least five in a row:

7 — Houston, Washington
6 — Louisville, Utah, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
5 — Boise State, Navy, Ohio State

Clemson could join some combination of the above at that five-game winning-streak plateau Saturday, but to get there they’ll have to beat… Louisville.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak entering the 2016 season was Kansas* at 15 straight, followed by UCF (13), Charlotte (10), Eastern Michigan (10), Oregon State (nine) and Boston College (eight).

All six of those teams have seen those losing streaks come to a merciful end, with EMU actually off to a 3-1 start to the year. The team that was just behind BC, Wake Forest, carried a six-game losing streak into 2016 before surprisingly (stunningly?) winning their first four games of the season.

So, with all of that winning from last year’s biggest losers, who’s the current “top” loser? That title now belongs to the Northern Illinois Huskies, the winners of the last six MAC West championships — and three of the last six conference titles — who have started this season with four straight losses to stretch their ignominious streak to a nation’s best/worst seven in a row. Just three other teams have a streak that began during the 2015 season: Florida International, which has lost six in a row and already fired their head coach; Arkansas State, which lost its first four of this season to push its streak to five in a row; and Georgia State, 0-3 on the season to add to a loss in the 2015 Cure Bowl for a four-game losing streak.

Two additional teams are winless on the season after winning their last game of 2015: Miami of Ohio and Rice, which are each 0-4 in 2016.

(*While Kansas’ overall losing streak came to an end, they’ve still lost 17 in a row against FBS opponents, with the last one of those coming in early November of 2015 against Iowa State.)