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After Rash of Injuries at RB, Who’s Left for Husker Football?

With season-ending injuries to both Gabe Ervin and Rahmir Johnson, Anthony Grant will again be Nebraska’s starting running back...but who else may be thrust into a bigger role?

Nebraska v Minnesota
Last year’s starting running back Anthony Grant (seen here) will once again lead the backfield after injuries to Gabe Ervin Jr. and Rahmir Johnson.
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The game of football can be a nasty one. One minute, you’re the starting running back at Nebraska. The next, your season is done due to injury.

As went the day for both Gabe Ervin Jr. and Rahmir Johnson this past Saturday against Northern Illinois. Both were lost to season-ending injuries that will require surgery.

With all that heartbreak by these guys who worked their tails off to get to where they were comes an opportunity. Someone has to run the ball, right?

Nebraska just lost its two best backs in one game. Let’s take a look at who Nebraska has in the bullpen.

Anthony Grant (Sr.)

5-11, 205 pounds

Obviously, Grant is the next man up. Despite his fumbling issues, he’s by far the most experienced and proven rusher on this team. Last season, he was a Big Ten Honorable Mention after rushing for 915 yards and six touchdowns.

A former Florida State player, Grant eventually went the JUCO route and eventually ended up at Nebraska. If he can clean up his ball-handling, he can be an above average running back in the Big Ten.

Nebraska desperately needs Grant to be able to shoulder the load. The Huskers are now dangerously thin in the backfield.

Emmett Johnson (R-Fr.)

5-11, 190 pounds

One of the best recruits out of Minnesota, Emmett Johnson has officially been elevated from talented return man to second in line at running back for Nebraska.

A former Mr. Football from Minnesota, Johnson rushed for over 2,500 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior. A three-star recruit, Johnson rushed for almost 5,000 yards in high school.

This season, Johnson has fielded one kickoff and returned it 15 yards against Minnesota.

Nebraska will be looking for that breakout guy at this position this year — will it be Johnson?

Kwinten Ives (Fr.)

6-2, 185 pounds

A true freshman from New Jersey, Kwinten Ives averaged over 10 yards a carry as a Junior and Senior while scoring 49 total touchdowns in those two seasons.

A three-star recruit, Ives was a Top-40 running back in the country.

If he gets in the game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try a toss or something out wide to get him out on the edge in space.

Trevin Luben (So.)

5-11, 205 pounds

A walk-on from Wahoo, Luben has taken advantage of his opportunity. A 2021 Special Teams Scout Player of the Year, Luben has one carry this season and it went for 18 yards on the last play of the game against Northern Illinois.

In high school, Luben ran for 4,741 yards in Class C-1. He went for 2,136 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior, scoring five touchdowns in the state title game.

Cole Ballard (Fr.)

5-11, 185 pounds

Cole Ballard had a solid career at Elkhorn South — he rushed for 1,491 yards and caught 275 more for 38 total touchdowns as a senior. He also tied the Nebraska state record with seven rushing touchdowns in a game.

Kenneth Williams (Fr.)

5-11, 175 pounds

After playing his high school ball in Michigan for three years, Kenneth Williams went to Lincoln High School for his senior year. At Lincoln High, Williams was a star player on both sides of the ball.

And he’s got speed. He finished third at state in the 100-meter with a time of 10.52 seconds.

Maurice Mazzccua (Jr.)

5-8, 175 pounds

Maurice Mazzccua spent his first three years in Division II at West Chester University. After being a solid contributor there, Mazzccua transferred to Nebraska.