Oregon star RB Royce Freeman to miss bowl game vs. Boise State

Oregon running back Royce Freeman won't play against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, Ducks coach Mario Cristobal announced on Thursday. 

"We have a pretty impressive stable of running backs," Cristobal said, via GoDucks.com. "Those guys have a tremendous opportunity, and they'll be excited." 

Freeman's senior season already included becoming Oregon's career leader in rushing, and his 1,475 yards this season were good enough for third in the Pac-12. Cristobal told reporters that Freeman's decision was hard "for a guy who's invested his heart and soul into this program." 

"Am I disappointed in him? No. Do I want to see him play? Absolutely," Cristobal said. "But I stand by him."

As Cristobal mentioned, the Ducks do have a deep and talented backfield that will now see more action against Boise State, a team that was preparing to see Freeman in the lineup. 

Both senior Kani Benoit and junior Tony Brooks-James are experienced and wrapping up a season that saw each capitalize on their opportunities with big-time performances. Benoit has three 100-yard games this season and logged 138 yards and two touchdowns against Cal earlier this year while Brooks-James started against Utah and contributed 124 rushing yards against Arizona

At the time of the news breaking about Freeman's status, Oregon was a seven-point favorite against Boise State for the game.

Freeman finishes his college career at No. 6 on the FBS career rushing list with 5,621 rushing yards. He trails only San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey, Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, Texas' Ricky Williams, Pitt's Tony Dorsett and Memphis' DeAngelo Williams. He's also the fourth prominent college player to announce his decision to sit out his team's bowl game. Connor Williams and DeShon Elliott, both from Texas, and Florida State safety Derwin James all made similar decisions and will be rooting their team on form the sideline, but not active, for the bowl game.  

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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