JONESBORO -- Arkansas State University junior cornerback Jerry Jacobs is officially out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Coach Blake Anderson revealed following Wednesday's practice.
Anderson said Jacobs, who suffered the injury during the second quarter of Saturday's 55-0 loss at No. 3 Georgia, will undergo surgery Sept. 26. Jacobs was at Wednesday's practice wearing a wrap around his right knee.
Anderson had still held out hope during his news conference Monday that Jacobs' knee injury wouldn't be season-ending, even despite Jacobs alluding Sunday night on Twitter that he was done for the year. But further evaluation and an MRI revealed the worst.
Losing Jacobs is a major blow to the Red Wolves, as he was one of the top returning players. Last season, Jacobs tallied a team-leading four interceptions. Through three games this year, Jacobs had 20 total tackles and two passes defended.
"It's huge. He's a great player," junior quarterback Logan Bonner said. "It's definitely a loss for us, and he's one of the best in this league and everybody knows that. I hurt for him. We're gonna miss him a lot."
ASU is left with glaring vulnerability at cornerback, a position that was already lacking in depth. Anderson said Monday that his level of concern at the position was "through the roof."
"It's just the nature of how the season goes," Anderson said Wednesday. "We don't need any more injuries there."
Redshirt freshman backup Jevon Jones was already lost in the spring to a knee injury. Junior backup Demari Medley, who replaced Jacobs against Georgia, is nursing a hamstring injury. Medley was limited during Wednesday's practice, but Anderson said he still has a "realistic chance" to play a little Saturday night against Southern Illinois.
"Don't know how many reps," Anderson said.
For now, sophomore Nathan Page from Little Rock's Joe T. Robinson is expected to start in Jacobs' place, opposite of senior Jeremy Smith. Page, who filled in against Georgia once Medley went down in the fourth quarter, ran with the first-team defense Wednesday. Anderson expressed confidence in Page's ability.
"He played some last year and at times showed flashes," Anderson said. "He's got the length that you want. In the tough circumstances with really good people playing against him, I thought he stepped up and played pretty well Saturday [against Georgia]."
Said Jeremy Smith: "I wouldn't be as worried as the public would be ... I practice with the guys every day. I think we're gonna be alright."
Should things get any bleaker at corner, the Red Wolves could turn to true freshman Jarius Reimonenq. Anderson also said freshman Samy Johnson from Little Rock Catholic was moved from running back to cornerback for added depth.
"Beyond that," Anderson said, "we would obviously have to get pretty creative. We just can't afford anybody else to go down, other than just bumps and bruises."
Cornerback is by far not the only position ASU is struggling to stay healthy.
Sophomore running back Marcel Murray is still dealing with an ankle injury, which he suffered during the first half of the UNLV victory on Sept. 7. Anderson said Murray participated in most of Wednesday's practice but that there isn't a rush to get him back on Saturday.
"I think he's probably not completely ready but getting better every day," Anderson said. "We'll be smart with him. We have the luxury, I think, of holding him if we need to with the way those other guys are playing."
Freshman Isaiah Azubuike and junior Ryan Graham, who wore a large brace on his left knee, split time with the first-team offense in practice.
Anderson also was much more optimistic about senior wide receiver Dahu Green, who's missed the first three games with a nagging knee injury from fall camp.
"Dahu looked really good today," Anderson said. "He told me he didn't have any discomfort. We're gonna be smart about it, but I'd like to see us get at least a handful of reps for him on Saturday if we can."
Junior center Jacob Still, who Anderson described Monday as dealing with "wear and tear" on his body, did not practice Wednesday and is considered day-to-day. Sophomore Justin Dutton ran with the first-team offense in Still's place.
Junior defensive end Jeffmario Brown is also dealing with a shoulder injury, but Anderson said he should be fine.
If Marcel Murray can't play for the second consecutive week, Isaiah Azubuike and Ryan Graham will once again carry the bulk of the load in the backfield.
Those two and rest of the Red Wolves' ground game were completely shut down against Georgia, which possesses a top-five statistically rushing defense in the country. ASU rushed for 43 yards on 28 attempts.
This week's FCS opponent, Southern Illinois, will be easier to run on. The Red Wolves showed plenty of potential with their run game in the 43-17 win over UNLV in Week 2. Even despite Murray going down with an injury, ASU finished with 214 rushing yards and averaged 5 yards per carry. Graham had 103 yards and a touchdown.
On Saturday, ASU will look to pick up where it left off against UNLV, even if Murray is sidelined again.
"We're fortunate to have enough guys to go to," Anderson said. "Obviously Ryan had a great game at UNLV. Our matchups just were pretty bad up front last week [against Georgia], so it's kind of hard to evaluate when you're playing maybe the best D-line in the country. You look at how we played against UNLV and how we ran the ball and the different guys, the reps that they had, you'd like to think that we can go out and have similar success against guys that look like us."
At a glance
ASU (1-2) SCHEDULE
All times Central
DATE OPPONENT TIME/RESULT
Aug. 31 SMU L, 37-30
Sept. 7 at UNLV W, 43-17
Sept. 14 at Georgia L, 55-0
Sept. 21 S. Illinois 6 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Troy* 5 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Georgia State* TBA
Oct. 17 La.-Lafayette* 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 Texas State* 6 p.m.
Nov. 2 at La.-Monroe* 4 p.m.
Nov. 16 Coastal Carolina* 2 p.m.
Nov. 23 Georgia Southern* 2 p.m.
Nov. 29 at South Alabama* TBA
*Sun Belt game
Sports on 09/19/2019
Print Headline: RED WOLVES REPORT: Junior CB finished for season