Oregon State freshman star Jacquizz Rodgers is doubtful for Saturday's Civil War game against Oregon because of a shoulder injury.
CORVALLIS — Oregon State freshman star Jacquizz Rodgers is doubtful for Saturday's Civil War game against Oregon because of a shoulder injury.
A Rose Bowl bid is on the line for the No. 17 Beavers (8-3, 7-1 Pac-10) in the annual rivalry game against the Ducks (8-3, 6-2), but Rodgers, the Pac-10's leading rusher, could be watching from the sidelines.
"Quizz is very doubtful. He is feeling better but we don't want to put him at risk and there might be something with his shoulder that it might not be right for him to play," Oregin State coach Mike Riley said Tuesday.
Rodgers injured his shoulder on Oregon State's second possession last Saturday against Arizona. The Beavers went on to win 19-17 on a field goal in the final seconds.
Riley characterized the injury as a second-degree sprain. He said a final call about Rodgers' status would come later this week.
"We're not making a decision yet. The decision will be based on how he feels, but more importantly, what the doctors say," Riley said. "We'll be very conservative with that."
Rodgers averages 113.9 rushing yards a game, which ranks him 12th in the nation. He has rushed for 11 touchdowns and has already set a Pac-10 freshman rushing record.
Oregon State and No. 5 USC lead the Pac-10 with one conference loss each. However, because the Beavers defeated the Trojans 27-21 on Sept. 25, they hold the tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl berth.
An Oregon State victory over the No. 19 Ducks on Saturday would set up a New Year's Day game against No. 6 Penn State in Pasadena. The Nittany Lions defeated the Beavers 45-14 earlier this season.
Without Rodgers against the Wildcats in Tempe, the Beavers leaned on his older brother James Rodgers, a flanker who had 10 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown.
The Rodgers brothers have combined this season for 2,464 yards of offense for the Beavers, or 54.1 percent of the Beavers' total. James Rodgers has five rushing touchdowns, four receiving, and one score off a kickoff.
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said he did not know if Jacquizz Rodgers' absence would have all that much impact on the Civil War.
"The offense is not going to change, although certainly if the one Rodgers brother is not there, the other Rodgers brother is going to get more carries," Bellotti said. "You've seen that (against Arizona) when Jacquizz was not in there, they went to James on the fly sweep and he touched the ball more. And he's a very dangerous runner. He's fast and he's a great open field runner."
Jacquizz Rodgers, who has 1,253 yards, could be the first freshman in the league to finish as the season's rushing leader. California's Jahvid Best is second, averaging 108.3 yards.
Listed at 5-foot-7 and 193 pounds, Rodgers has used his stature — considered by some a liability — to his advantage. He hides behind his line and pop out on unprepared defenders. He uses strength — along with his utter fearlessness — to plow through opponents.
He ran for 186 yards earlier this season in Oregon State's upset victory over USC, and the Trojans have one of the top rushing defenses in the nation.
Rodgers came to Oregon State from Texas, where he led Lamar Consolidated High School with a state record 136 touchdowns and more than 8,000 yards. Nicknamed "Mr. Touchdown," he was named the first Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Player of the Year.
Riley said he believes Quizz will make a plea to play on Saturday, regardless of how the shoulder feels.
"We're not going to put him at risk," Riley said. It's like every player, you listen to what they have to say, but you go with what the experts say."