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Gophers lose star running back Rodney Smith to a season-ending knee injury

Devastating news for one of the best in Gophers history.

Terrible news for the Gophers football team as head coach P.J. Fleck announced that star running back Rodney Smith will miss the rest of the season with a left knee injury. 

Minnesota didn't get into specifics about the type of injury Smith, a senior, suffered during the first quarter of their 21-14 win over Fresno State, but multiple reports say it's a torn ACL. 

"I am devastated for Rodney, but I know he will keep his oar in the water and continue to move forward and attack his rehabilitation process," Fleck said in a statement. "He is a leader on this team and I look forward to him working with our young players as we continue to grow this season.

Fleck said they'll file a waiver request to grant Smith a medical redshirt with hopes of him being able to play next season. 

"We believe Rodney meets all the requirements for the waiver and fully expect that it will be granted," Fleck said. 

Smith was injured on Minnesota's opening drive of the game. He caught a pass and ran 11 yards before being tackled, but remained on the ground in pain before eventually being helped off the field. 

The Georgia native's 4,065 career all-purpose yards ranks seventh in Gophers history, just 1,040 yards shy of breaking Darrell Thompson's school record (5,109 total yards). 

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