September wraps up with Week 5 of the 2023 college football season. As we head into the meat of conference play and rivalry games, we take a look at which key players are dealing with injuries that could affect their teams’ chances at a conference championship bid — or perhaps even a playoff berth.
Cam Rising, QB, Utah
Rising suffered an ACL tear in Utah’s bowl game to finish the 2022 season, and he has still not fully recovered and returned to the field. Utah, still undefeated, looks like a legitimate contender for what will certainly be a competitive Pac-12 title, but Rising could make all the difference in close conference games. The Utes have pulled out close wins over Baylor and UCLA to remain unbeaten, but they’re staring down three more top-10 matchups this fall. Rising remains questionable as Utah faces Oregon State this week.
Travis Hunter, WR/CB, Colorado
Hunter took a hard hit in Colorado’s overtime win over Colorado State and has not yet been able to return to the field due to internal injuries. The dual-threat player missed the blowout against Oregon, and while a single player would not have been able to change that 42-6 outcome, the Buffaloes are certainly missing the offensive and defensive star on both sides of the ball. Hunter was initially expected to be out for a few weeks after the injury, and remains questionable for this week’s game against USC.
Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia
McConkey is one of Georgia’s most experienced wide receivers, and with a brand-new quarterback, that kind of veteran player is invaluable. However, a back injury has kept McConkey out for the first month of the 2023 season. The Georgia offense has looked subpar at times — if not in comparison to their opponents, in comparison to their last few years — and McConkey’s presence could significantly affect that performance.
The Bulldogs are hoping to have McConkey back for this week’s game against Auburn, but per head coach Kirby Smart, it will depend on whether he can get through a full-contact pratice.
Conner Weigman, QB, Texas A&M
Update September 27 10:50 a.m. Weigman is out for the rest of the 2023 season.
Weigman was injured in A&M’s win over Auburn in Week 4, but it may have been a blessing in disguise for the Aggies — backup Max Johnson came onto the field and outperformed Weigman, passing for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Weigman is day-to-day with an ankle injury ahead of the Aggies’ game against Arkansas this week, but Johnson could be the answer for this team.
Tyler Shough, QB, Texas Tech
Shough is out for the season with a broken fibula. He fractured his leg in Week 4 against West Virginia. The Red Raiders will start redshirt sophomore Behren Morton at quarterback for the remainder of the season. Texas Tech faces Houston in Week 5.
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Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt returned to the field last week after missing several games with a knee injury. Duke running back Jaylen Coleman also returned to the field in Week 4 vs. UConn, but was limited to just three carries in Hartford.