Freeman will not play in the Las Vegas Bowl

Oregon star running back Royce Freeman will not play against No. 25 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, head coach Mario Cristobal told reporters on Friday.

Instead, Oregon’s all-time leading rusher will watch from the sideline. Freeman is a projected early to mid-round NFL draft pick, and he follows in the footsteps of other star running backs like Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette, who both sat out a season ago.

The trend is to rest, avoid injury and prepare for the NFL.

“This is hard for him now,” Cristobal said. “This is not an easy thing for a guy like that that’s invested his heart and soul into the program. We all know the story that goes with that. It’s difficult for him.”

Cristobal added: “But am I disappointed in him? No, I’m not. Do I want to see him play? Absolutely. But I stand behind him because I gave him my word, and I don’t break my word for nobody.”

Freeman ends his career ranked sixth in FBS history for career yards with 5,621. He is arguably Oregon’s best running back ever. He owns the school records for all-purpose yards, rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns (60) and 100-yard games (31), among others.

Senior Kani Benoit and junior Tony Brooks-James will carry the load for the Ducks with Freeman gone.

Senior left tackle Tyrell Crosby is in a similar position as Freeman. He is also a projected NFL draft pick, and Cristobal did not say whether Crosby will play or not.

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Jack Butler

Jack Butler

I am the sports editor for the Daily Emerald. I cover football and basketball. Email me at [email protected]