Abojei out ‘several weeks’ with left leg injury
LARAMIE – At Monday’s weekly press conference, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl busted out an old football adage when discussing the plethora of injuries his team has sustained through six games this season.
“Sometimes it’s not about the Xs and Os,” he said. “It’s
about the Jimmies and the Joes.”
This has become old hat for the Cowboys football program. More specifically, Bohl was referring to left guard, Eric Abojei, who was hurt on an extra-point attempt late in the second quarter of Wyoming’s 26-22 loss Saturday night at San Diego State.
At 6-feet, 5-inches and 354 pounds, Abojei could be Jimmy
and Joe. His injury, which Bohl said will sideline the sophomore for “several
weeks,” will likely feel like losing two men.
Abojei, wearing a gray sweat suit, slowly passed by the open
door of the meeting room with the assistance of crutches and a bulky black
brace supporting his left leg. Bohl didn’t get specific about the nature of the
damage -- or what it did to his game plan Saturday night -- but eluded to the
exit of Abojei aiding in turning the tide of the football game.
“He’s a big presence,” Bohl said, standing in the bowels of
SDCCU Stadium. “I’m not sure how long he will be out, but he was having great
movement at the point of attack.”
Wyoming rushed for 129 yards on 25 carries in the first
half. The Aztecs led the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 54 yards on
the ground per game. The most they had given up before the Pokes came to town
was 82. That came against Utah State. That transpired over four quarters.
Wyoming did that – with Abojei – in just two.
Without the sophomore, well, that was a different story.
The Cowboys amassed just 28 yards on 14 carries in the
second half. The final 30 minutes when Wyoming watched an 8-point halftime lead
turn into a 4-point loss.
So, what did SDSU do different in the second half?
Bohl’s answer said it all Monday afternoon.
“I appreciate all the players that were working out there,
but I do want to say Eric Abojei, I think, is an excellent offensive lineman,”
he said. “He played in the first half; he didn’t play in the second half.
(That) had a big impact on the ball game … Eric is going to be missed, but
we’ll get the next guy in there.”
What makes this injury even more frustrating, starting center Keegan Cryder said, is when it occurred.
“That did suck,” Cryder said, referring to the extra-point
attempt that ended Abojei’s night. “That’s the game though. One play can end
How important will it be for another lineman to step up?
Cryder said it’s crucial.
“We are going to miss having him out there,” he said. “It’s next man up. The train doesn’t stop for anybody. If I went down, I would expect them to think the same way. You have to keep going. The level of play can’t go down even if it is someone like Eric, who is very special to our offensive line. It’s time for some young guys to go to work.”
The newly released depth chart slates Patrick Arnold as the new starter at left guard. With Logan Harris (concussion) expected to re-enter the lineup against New Mexico, he will resume duties at the right guard spot.
Even defensive end, Garrett Crall, knows the impact of an Abojei-less offense could affect things.
“It’s hard to replace a guy that is 6 foot, 5 inches and 350 pounds. We don’t have another guy like that and what he brings,” Crall said. “He has a competitive nature about him. Everyone loves ‘Big E.’ He’s a guy who worked really hard to play and has played great this year. It was hard seeing him in that much pain. It put everyone in pain watching that.
"I can’t wait until he comes back. He is special to this team.”