LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech junior running back Eric Stephens is out for the season after dislocating his left knee in last weekend's 45-40 loss to Texas A&M.
Stephens was averaging 114 yards per game and was on pace to reach 1,000 for the season. He was a big part of coach Tommy Tuberville's effort to bring a more balanced offense to the pass-happy Red Raiders. He finished with 570 yards on 109 carries.
The team announced the news Tuesday.
"It's tough to lose a guy, the type of person he is, No. 1," Tuberville said. "He wanted to win games. But he wanted to show the team, 'Hey, in this offense, we can get a 1,000 yards in this league. I can help us win games."
The Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) host No. 17 Kansas State (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday night.
The options to replace Stephens include fifth-year senior Aaron Crawford, the 5-foot-10, 211-pounder who Tuberville said was as capable as Stephens in handling blocking assignments.
"The problem with Aaron is staying healthy," Tuberville said. "He can be a 100-yard rusher a game, but he's got to get that mentality and understand that sometimes you're going to have to play through getting knocked around a little bit, because carrying the ball three times a game as compared to 15 or 20 is a whole lot different in this league."
Crawford went in for Stephens after he was injured Saturday night. He finished with seven carries for 22 yards.
Stephens was the nation's 15th-ranked rusher. He went down late in the third quarter on a first-and-goal play, his left leg pinned after a hit from Aggies linebacker Damontre Moore.
The last time Texas Tech had a 1,000-yard rusher was in 1998 when Ricky Williams ran for 1,582 yards. Once former coach Mike Leach took over, the offense was weighted heavily toward the pass.