Oregon State's James Rodgers has record day cut short
Beavers standout injures ankle after setting school's career receiving yards record, but vows to return for Oregon finale.
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CORVALLIS — A stunned silence engulfed Reser Stadium late in the first half of Saturday's Pac-12 game between Oregon State and Northwest rival Washington.
Senior receiver James Rodgers had just been taken down on a 7-yard loss and was slow to get up.
The trainers came on the field and had to help Rodgers to the sideline.
Rodgers, who had two surgeries to repair a devastating left-knee injury suffered against Arizona midway through last season, wasn't putting any weight on the leg as he left the field.
After further examination on the sideline, Rodgers was carted off for more evaluations.
It couldn't end this way, could it?
Not after Rodgers had set the school record for career receptions earlier in the game. His 15-yard catch and run late in the first quarter gave him 221, breaking the mark Mike Hass set from 2002 to 2005.
Rodgers finished with four catches for 48 yards, but his day was done. He didn't come out of the half with his teammates, finally hobbling down the ramp and onto the Beavers' sideline with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
While Rodgers wasn't going to play, he made sure his presence was felt.
"He was just giving us some motivational words like always, trying to coach us up," fellow receiver Markus Wheaton said.
Will Rodgers be able to go next Saturday in the Civil War in Autzen Stadium?
You better believe it, Rodgers insisted.
"I should be good," he said. "It's just a little minor ankle sprain. It's nothing too serious."
Coach Mike Riley isn't so sure.
"He expects to play, that's probably the best way to put it," Riley said with a smile.
The injury cut short Rodgers' record-setting day as well as his final home game in Reser. But Oregon State won 38-21, so all was good for the Beavers' standout.
"That was the main thing. I didn't care about the record or anything just as long as we got a win and we got it, so I'm happy," he said.
The record is impressive since Rodgers really burst onto the scene more as the guy who ran the fly sweep back during his freshman season in 2007, and had to overcome a serious knee injury.
"We're proud of everything James has done and what he means to the program," Riley said. "His impact on the field is obvious, but his impact in all of our lives is a real thing. We're glad to see him get that record today."
Added senior safety Lance Mitchell: "James has been through so much. Coming in with him and being so close to him, it's special on a day like this for him to get the record. I'm proud of him. I know he's going to do big things after Oregon State."
Even with Rodgers on the bench, the Beavers didn't miss a beat.
"We just kept at it," quarterback Sean Mannion said. "Obviously we would like to have him on the field with us, but we have a lot of good players."
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