Hunter's injury shouldn't cripple OSU's ground game

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy confirmed that Big 12 rushing leader Kendall Hunter was doubtful for the Cowboys' game against Rice this week after sustaining an injury to his right ankle in the Cowboys' loss to Houston.

I would imagine that Gundy will be cautious bringing Hunter back. First, the Cowboys' upcoming schedule doesn't look daunting with home games against Rice and Grambling, followed by an open date before their Big 12 opener against Texas A&M on Oct. 10.

But the major reason why the Cowboys can afford to take their time getting Hunter back in the lineup is their depth at the position. Hunter led the Big 12 last season, but his backups Keith Toston and Beau Johnson might give them the deepest core of running backs in the conference and maybe in college football.

Toston and Johnson combined for 148 yards and averaged nearly 8 yards a carry for the Cowboys in the loss to Houston. And Gundy said the offense likely won't change much with either of those two players replacing Hunter.

“Obviously, (Hunter) is a great player and he’s our starter, but give credit to Keith Toston and Beau Johnson," Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said. "I thought they played very admirably and carried the ball well.”

It Hunter can't play, it would be his first missed game since he failed to play since his freshman season when he failed to play in the Cowboys' season opener in the 2007 against Georgia.