Junior wide receiver Nick Westbrook will miss the rest of the 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL on the opening kickoff of last Thursday's season opener against Ohio State, Coach Tom Allen said.
Allen, speaking at his weekly press conference Monday, said Westbrook had an MRI on Saturday, and the results revealed a season-ending injury.
“As we’ve shared with our team, sometimes life’s not fair,” Allen said. “Things happen, it’s tough. He’s got a good attitude about it. He knows that it’s a challenge he has to overcome."
Westbrook was IU's leading receiver in 2016 and caught 54 passes for 995 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore. Junior wide receiver Donavan Hale had jumped Westbrook on the depth chart entering the season, but offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said the team had planned to use Westbrook plenty this season, including on special teams.
Senior quarterback Richard Lagow had no problems finding other receivers to turn to after Westbrook went down on the first play against the Buckeyes, as 10 different Hoosiers caught passes in the game.
Junior wideout Simmie Cobbs Jr., who had a career-high 11 catches last week, will lead the receiving corps, along with Hale and junior slot receiver Luke Timian going forward.
Allen and DeBord also mentioned a pair of freshman, Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor, that will get increased chances with Westbrook out. Assuming Westbrook obtains a medical redshirt this season, as Cobbs did after hurting himself early last season, the receiver will have two years of eligibility left starting with the 2018 season.
IU will look to keep a defensive shutout for the 10th-straight match.
IU started strong to begin the 2017-18 season.
Gros Louis came to IU in 1964 and ended his career in Bloomington as University chancellor emeritus.