Less than a week ago, Mark Walton went to the sideline after an ankle injury thinking there was a chance his season was over. For the second straight week, Miami’s star running back is banged up.
With 7:37 left to play and a win all but in hand against Duke with a 24-6 lead, Walton ran a stretch play toward the right sideline and, just before he was able to get out of bounds, the junior was spun to the ground by safety Alonzo Saxton II. Walton writhed in pain on the ground for a few minutes before limping off the field under his own power.
It’s not immediately clear what the injury is this week, but it appears Walton may have tweaked the same ankle he injured during Saturday’s win against Toledo. Assuming he doesn’t return, Walton will finish Friday’s game with 17 carries for 51 yards and another 3 catches for 79 more yards.
Walton missed more than a quarter against the Rockets and still finished with the first 200-yard rushing game of his career. The coaching staff tried to remain cautious with Walton late during the game, but the back was able to convince coach Mark Richt to let him get one more carry when he sat at 199 yards.
Mark Walton explains how he convinced the coaches to let him back in when he was at 199 yards: pic.twitter.com/ap35u9Yy80
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) September 24, 2017
Richt never left any doubt about Walton being ready to go in Durham, N.C., and the junior was listed as the sole running back atop the No. 14 Hurricanes’ depth chart Monday. He kept Walton on the field late into the game hoping Walton could help him run out the clock for Miami’s first ACC win of the season.
The Hurricanes will need Walton next week. Miami travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to face rival Florida State on Oct. 7.
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