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Monday, October 19, 2009
Buffalo losing depth at RB


Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

Buffalo’s running back corps continues to grow thinner and thinner.

Coach Turner Gill announced during the Mid-American Conference coaches call Monday morning that Ike Nduka and Brandon Thermilus are questionable for this week’s game against Western Michigan after both suffered sprained ankles in Saturday’s 21-17 win over Akron.

If neither player is available, senior Mario Henry will start against the Broncos. Henry is third on the team in rushing this season with 50 carries for 178 yards and a touchdown. He played seven games last year before suffering a knee injury that caused him to miss the next six.

“He’s actually a senior, so he has played some throughout his career here,” Gill said. “We just hope we hold up from there. We just hope we don’t have to get somebody as far as a freshman and bring him out of a redshirt to play if Mario gets hurt. That’s part of the football game, that’s part of life, and we’ll get the guys ready to play whoever’s next in line.”

Freshman Jeffvon Gill would be the backup. He’s played in the last two games and has three carries for 17 yards this season.

Buffalo lost starting running back James Starks to a season-ending shoulder injury prior to the season. He was the Bulls' all-time leader in rushing yards (3140), rushing touchdowns (34), and points (222).

The rushing offense initially struggled in Starks’ absence, but Nduka came on strong with 172 yards against Central Michigan and followed that up with a 131-yard performance against Gardner-Webb. In those two games, both wins, the offense was the most balanced it’s been for the Bulls all season.