Henry Josey: Mizzou Rusher Out After Salvaging Season

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The good news: the Missouri Tigers beat the Texas Longhorns Saturday, in what may very well be the last meeting between the two programs. It was the first time the Tigers had beaten Texas since 1997, which is frankly just hard to even conceive of. 

The bad news: the Tigers lost their leading rusher -- actually, the Big XII's leading rusher -- in the victory. 

Henry Josey, who currently leads the Big XII with 1,168 rushing yards, will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his left knee Sunday. He suffered tears to all three of the major ligaments in the knee, particularly frightening to a player who relies so heavily on explosive changes of direction to do what he does so well. 

It's a sad end to the season for Josey, who has put together one of the great rushing seasons in Mizzou history. He leads the Big XII in yards, yards per carry (116.8), and is currently ranked #9 in the nation in rushing, despite playing in an offense even now geared toward moving the ball through the air. 

His 1,168 yards on the season ranks fifth-highest all time in the Missouri record books, and I must admit to being incredibly frustrated we won't get a chance to see how much higher Josey might have climbed on that list with two more games, both against teams with less than airtight defenses. 

As for the Tigers, this certainly puts a crimp in their offensive plans. The tandem of Josey and James Franklin has really been the engine that made the Tiger offense go this season, a dual-pronged ground attack opponents have largely been unable to effectively contain. Mizzou's other running backs, Kendial Lawrence (who was brilliant in relief of Josey on Saturday, by the way), and De'Vion Moore, are both solid accumulators of yardage, but neither offers anywhere near the kind of explosive threat of Josey. Franklin/Josey was a perfect power/speed combo; none of the options for the Tigers at tailback complement Franklin the same way. 

Luckily for Mizzou, both of their remaining games should be very winnable, even without their top weapon on the field. Texas Tech has been flat-out awful since beating Oklahoma, and Kansas is a fairly weak opponent this year. With any luck the Tigers should be able to take both games and get to seven wins, a very respectable total for what was most definitely a transitional season. 

Even so, Tiger fans won't be treated to seeing Henry Josey chase after history, and Josey himself has a long hard road ahead if he's going to be ready for 2012. It's a tough ending to what has been, for Henry Josey at least, a remarkable season. 

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