Central Michigan football coach Dan Enos reiterated Monday that the serious injuries to starting quarterback Cody Kater and running back Zurlon Tipton suffered during Saturday’s 59-9 blowout loss at Michigan will keep them out “indefinitely.”
However, he didn’t rule out a return before the end of the season. In fact, he and his staff are hopeful for a return.
“It’s very difficult,” Enos said during the Mid-American Conference coaches teleconference. “Both of the guys at halftime were very, very emotional — in tears. They felt like they let the team down, and our message to them was that they didn’t let anybody down. This is part of life. You’ve got to deal with this, become stronger and move forward. Both of those guys now have got to do a diligent job of staying focused, rehabbing – hopefully both of those guys can get back at some point this season and help our football team.”
Tipton, CMU’s top back after rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns last season, suffered a broken ankle in the third series Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
After a Jarret Chapman interception put the Chippewas on the U-M 6-yard line, Tipton carried the ball twice, for 4 and no-yard gains, respectively, before a delay of game penalty on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line forced them to kick a field goal. Tipton, who had gained 10 yards on four carries to that point, never returned.
Sophomore Saylor Lavallii saw a bulk of the carries after, rushing for 52 yards on 10 carries, proving fairly ineffective against a strong Michigan defensive line. Expect to see him, junior Anthony Garland and freshman Martez Walker receive more playing time in the next few weeks.
Kater, meanwhile, did not return following CMU’s final drive of the first quarter after suffering what was later diagnosed as a broke clavicle. The Chippewas went three-and-out during the drive, which involved Kater in all three plays, and were forced to punt with 5:46 left in the first quarter.
The injury appeared to have came on the third down play in which Kater threw a screen pass to Lavallii that was sniffed out right away for a loss of 4 yards. Kater appeared to take a hit from a blitzing Michigan defender.
Sophomore Alex Niznak replaced Kater, throwing for 131 yards on 11-of-22 passing an interception, and is expected to start Saturday against New Hampshire.
“We’ve got to pick up and move on, we’ve got to get better,” Enos said. “It’s obviously not the way any of us want to play to start out. This was the message went to sent to them during camp, in handling adversity, and that’s part of life. Guys got step up and guys got to move on.”