SEATTLE -- Rodney Stewart has been Mr. Do-It-All for the Colorado football team this fall, but he finally came to the sideline during the first half of an ugly loss at Washington on Saturday and told team trainers, No can do.
Stewart, the team's leading rusher, second leading receiver, punt and kickoff returner and a member of the punt coverage team, suffered what trainers believed to be a sprained knee and did not return. He is expected to be out "for awhile," coach Jon Embree said afterward.
Stewart had been chasing numerous school records and likely won't reach the most significant on the list. He came into the game with 3,175 career rushing yards and raised that total 3,217 before the injury. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is the only Buff rusher ahead of him on the list with 3,940 rushing yards.
Depending on when Stewart returns, he will likely become the program's career leader in all-purpose yardage. He was just 123 yards shy of claiming that record before Saturday. He also needs just 167 receiving yards to join just 25 other players in NCAA history to produce 3,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 career receiving yards.
But now CU coaches must figure out how to play without him six games before they wanted to.
The injury leaves the CU offense to rely on redshirt freshman Tony Jones and third-year sophomore Josh Ford to pick up the slack. Embree also left open the possibility of removing the redshirt from true freshman running back Malcolm Creer, who has been impressing coaches in practice enough to make the travel squad of 63 players this week.
"Who else are we going to play?" Embree said when asked about taking Creer's redshirt off this late in the season. "We don't have anyone else."
Jones, who rushed 14 times for 49 yards and two short touchdowns Saturday said he is ready to fill Stewart's large shoes. Embree said Jones played well with what he was asked to do in Stewart's absence.
"You always expect the unexpected," Jones said. "That's why you practice to get Rodney better. I practice hard just in case something goes down with Rodney, I can step in with no problems. You've just got to be ready for it and I was."
With Stewart out, the CU screen passing game was much less effective than it has been, though Jones did lead the team in receptions as well. He caught seven passes for 49 yards.
"I think I played alright," Jones said. "I think I can play better. This is pretty much my first time playing a full game. I've just got to get better."
Ford has looked like a strong runner at times in practice and in brief playing time so far this season, but he hasn't been able to break through into the lineup because of Stewart's iron man act and the fact that he wasn't participating on many special teams units.
Ford ran one time for 13 yards against the Huskies and said he is ready for coaches to call his number more often in the coming weeks.
Ford said with mounting injuries effecting both the offense and defense, it's time for younger, less experienced players to show what they have and prove they can be relied on the rest of this season and in the future.
"Everybody is on this team for a reason," Ford said. "We've all got a job to do. We've just got to work as a team. That's why it's a team. It's not one person. It's a team. Everybody's got to do their part. That's why we have backups. That's why we have depth charts. That's why, so we all work together."