A couple of Buffaloes who left the field with injuries Saturday night could return this week.
A pair of veteran running backs could be back soon, too.
On Sunday night, Colorado interim head football coach Mike Sanford provided some injury updates after the Buffaloes’ 42-9 loss to Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday.
“I think we’ve got some positive news on the injury front,” Sanford said. “I was a little concerned after yesterday’s game, just how banged up we got with such a physical matchup. We didn’t sustain anything significant that I think is going to inhibit somebody from playing this week against (Arizona State), so that’s positive.”
CU (1-6, 1-3 Pac-12) hosts ASU (2-5, 1-3) on Saturday at Folsom Field (5:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU).
True freshman running back Anthony Hankerson didn’t play after a fumble less than two minutes into the game at Oregon State. After losing the ball, Hankerson got up and chased OSU cornerback Rejzohn Wright, who recovered the fumble. Sanford said Hankerson was injured while chasing Wright.
“I think he’s okay, but what happened in the pile up, that wasn’t actually the injury,” Sanford said. “It was more the acceleration to go to get the ball carrier down on the ground.”
Later in the game, center Van Wells was hit low from behind during Jayle Stacks’ 1-yard touchdown run. Wells didn’t return and was in a walking boot Sunday.
“He ended up having X-rays on his ankle and it looks good,” Sanford said. “He’s in a walking boot. We have a lot of guys in walking boots on Sundays and Mondays … so yeah, (Wells) should be ready to play.”
Meanwhile, running backs Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith could return this week, as well.
Fontenot has missed the last five games with a chest injury. Smith missed the OSU game after a hard hit knocked him out of the game against California on Oct. 15. Smith was taken off the field on a stretcher that day, but was walking around and felt much better that night.
“We continue to get good injury news on the front of both Deion and Fontenot,” Sanford said. “We’ll continue to evaluate that as the week goes, but both are in a good place to potentially play on Saturday. So we’ll update that as it goes on.”
Sanford didn’t know the status of freshman quarterback Owen McCown. The Buffs’ starter when healthy, McCown missed the OSU game after taking some hard hits against Cal.
“He’s progressing well,” Sanford said. “He didn’t throw (Sunday), so we’ll evaluate that on Tuesday.”
With the exception of Wells sitting out the fourth quarter, the Buffs went with the same group of five offensive linemen at Oregon State.
Wells has solidified the center spot in the past few weeks, while guards Casey Roddick (left) and Tommy Brown (right) have been in their spots most of the year. After shuffling tackles a week ago, however, the Buffs went with Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan (left) and Jake Wiley (right) through Saturday’s game.
“I think that is the five,” Sanford said when asked if CU has settled on the best group of five.
That group of five has played most of the snaps together the past three games, although junior Frank Fillip rotated in at both tackle spots Oct. 15 against California.
“The O-line to me is what I’m starting to see is probably been the most consistent as we’ve kind of grown through the changes in the O-line and who’s playing where,” Sanford said. “I’ve seen a lot of growth there.”
CU running backs Jayle Stacks and Charlie Offerdahl averaged 4.9 yards per carry (with no tackles for loss), while quarterback JT Shrout was sacked just once in 30 passing plays.
“I do like where the offensive line’s at,” Sanford said. “I think a big positive in the game that showed up on tape, it was probably our best pass protection game of the season against a really good front and a team that had gotten after the quarterback. They blitzed us, and we picked up a pretty good variety of what I would call pretty advanced pressures to pick up.”
Sanford added that the Buffs like Fillip as a rotational player at left tackle, but he didn’t play last week. He also said Roddick and Brown graded out at a high level.
“Those guys played really good football,” he said.
The kickoff time for CU’s game against Oregon on Nov. 5 won’t be announced until Sunday. The possible start times are 1:30 p.m. (ABC or ESPN), 5:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) or 8 p.m. (FS1).