Injuries more than final scores tell tale of weekend's losers in college football

The biggest winner coming out of Labor Day weekend wasn't Ohio State, Notre Dame, or even Temple after defeating Penn State for the first time in 74 years.

It had to be the medical profession.

Somewhere an orthopedic surgeon just bought another yacht.

Citing privacy rights, schools conveniently hide in the nooks and crannies of injury devastation.

On-the-job injuries over a working-man's holiday weekend offered more insight into this season's playoff race than the top 25 poll released Tuesday by the Associated Press.

Injuries don't happen in a vacuum, either, nor impact only the school on the hook for the scholarship. They ripple like a flag unfurled on top of Old Smokey.

The season-ending injury to Brigham Young quarterback Taysom Hill, suffered Saturday at Nebraska, affects not only the hard-luck school from Provo, but it also alters the chemistry of every remaining game on BYU's schedule, the bowl lineup and maybe who makes the College Football Playoff.

BYU hosts Boise State this week before consecutive games at UCLA and Michigan. BYU started 4-0 last year before losing Hill to a broken leg against Utah State. The Cougars then lost four straight.

Virginia Tech was locked in a tight 21-17 game with No.1 Ohio State on Monday when quarterback Michael Brewer's left collarbone snapped on a third-down follow-through tackle by 300-pounder Adolphus Washington.

It was a clean hit but sucked the life out of Virginia Tech and its fans at Lane Stadium. Ohio State pulled away for an easy, 42-24 win.

Former Texas Coach Mack Brown, now an ESPN analyst, spent part of his weekend sending out get-well tweets.

"1 of the hardest things in CFB is young people work so hard to be grt, and 1 freak injury & and their dreams are ruined 4 the year! Tough deal!"

Ask him sometime about Colt McCoy in the national title game.

The injury reaper comes in all forms and sizes. Some casualties are inevitable and some are freaky. Clemson star receiver Mike Williams suffered a small neck fracture when he clipped the goal post after scoring a touchdown in a 49-10 win over Wofford.

Word is Williams will play again, but no one knows when. There was no mention of Williams on the sanitized postgame quotes posted on Clemson's website.

Most unforgivable, though, was the cheap shot Eastern Washington linebacker John Kreifels put on Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.

Adams, a fifth-year transfer, was in the strange position of making his Ducks' debut against his former team. There may have been a little bad-blood involved when Kreifels targeted Adams as he was making a feet-first slide after a run.

Kreifels was ejected and, to his credit, Eastern Washington Coach Beau Baldwin raced down the field to chew Kreifels out as he left the field.

Adams was knocked wobbly and left the game, but later pronounced he would be ready for next week's key game at Michigan State.

So, while the AP and USA Today released meaningless top 25 polls Tuesday, we thought we'd offer a top-10 FBS (Fractures, Braces, Sutures) index that really matters:

1: Scooby Wright, linebacker, Arizona. Injury: knee. The most important player on Arizona's roster went down against Texas San Antonio. Wright is a first-team All America and the key to the Wildcats' repeating as Pac-12 South champions.

Wright is expected to be out three to four weeks, which makes him unavailable for the huge UCLA game, in Tucson, on Sept. 26.

2: Mike Williams, receiver, Clemson. Injury: small neck fracture. The most important news is that Williams is expected to make a full recovery. Football impact: he caught 57 passes last year for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns.

There is no estimate for his return.

3. Taysom Hill, quarterback, Brigham Young. Injury: foot. Hill is a terrific player who has suffered three serious injuries in 35 months. His father, Doug, told the Salt Lake City Tribune: "God has given him all the talents, but yet, for some reason, it appears he does not want him to play this game."

4. Eddie Vanderdoes, defensive tackle, UCLA. Injury: knee. Vanderdoes crumpled to the ground after hoisting 300-pound teammate Kenny Clark in the air after a touchdown celebration against Virginia

UCLA says Vanderdoes' knee had locked up earlier in the game, yet the bottom line is this is a big, season-ending loss. Vanderdoes and Clark formed a wall on the interior that helped linebacker Eric Kendricks win last year's Butkus Award.

5. Michael Brewer, quarterback, Virginia Tech. Injury: collarbone. Prognosis: surgery, four-to-eight weeks.  Had the Buckeyes on the ropes before he went down.

6. Tarean Folston, running back, Notre Dame. Injury: knee. His season-ending injury in Saturday's otherwise joyful romp over Texas is a gut-punch to Notre Dame's playoff quest. This hits hard, especially after already losing star defensive tackle Jarron Jones in fall camp to a season-ending injury.

7. Sammy Douglas, linebacker, Texas Christian. Injury: knee. Diagnosis: Season-ending. Another huge blow to a championship contender already woefully thin at linebacker.

8. Harrison Phillips, defensive line, Stanford. Injury: Knee: Phillips announced Tuesday on Twitter he tore his ACL in the Northwestern opener and is out for the season. Depth at the defensive line was already an issue.

9. Vernon Adams Jr., quarterback, Oregon. Injury: head. Kreifels' cheap shot could have ended the Ducks' national hopes but it appears to have been a near miss. Oregon doesn't offer injury information but Adams is apparently healthy and ready to play Saturday at Michigan State.

10. Nyeem Wartman-White, linebacker, Penn State. Injury knee: Prognosis: out for season. Reaction: As if losing to Temple wasn't bad enough?

Intensive care short list: Adoree' Jackson, cornerback, USC (hip, returned to practice Tuesday), Carl Lawson, defensive lineman , Auburn (hip, not believed serious), Michael Caputo, safety, Wisconsin (head, undergoing concussion protocol).

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

Twitter: @DufresneLATimes

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