Nursing an injured knee, Devontae Booker stated that, when it came to his availability for Utah’s key Pac-12 South tilt with UCLA, “if it’s my call I’m going.” In the end, the call was taken out of his hands.
It was reported earlier today that the Utes running back was scheduled to undergo “minor meniscus surgery,” even as the football program had yet to confirm the development. That confirmation was taken care of by the player’s father, who told David Lombardi of ESPN.com that his son would indeed be undergoing a surgical procedure today.
The worst news for the player and the team, though, is that not only will Booker miss the UCLA game, but he’ll be sidelined for the regular-season finale Colorado and, if they qualify, the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford/Oregon. The hope is that Booker can return for a bowl game.
When it comes to losses, especially with what’s on the line the next two weeks, it’s about as devastating a loss as you can get.
Booker, a Doak Walker Award semifinalist, is currently 11th in the country and third in the Pac-12 with 1,261 yards rushing. Not only that, he accounts for a whopping 94 percent of the yards gained by Utes running backs this season; the second-leading rusher among backs is Joe Williams‘ 78 yards. Even with quarterback Travis Wilson‘s 367 yards thrown in, as well as the yardage gained by wide receivers and punter Tom Hackett, Booker still accounts for nearly 70 percent of the yards Utah gains on the ground.
Williams, a junior, had not recorded a carry until this season. His career-high is 37 yards, which came last weekend in the double-overtime loss to Arizona. Williams’ backup will likely be Marcus Sanders-Williams, who has carried the ball twice for four yards this season; he’s the only other running back besides Williams and Booker to carry the ball for the Utes this season.