UCLA will likely have its top two running backs in uniform again against Colorado this weekend.
Paul Perkins, who was the Pac-12’s leading rusher in 2014, and backup Nate Starks have recovered from their injuries enough to suit up for Saturday’s noon kickoff, head coach Jim Mora said Thursday.
“I would assume that both of them would play,” he said. “It looks like they’re both on track to play. I’m not too worried. I was more worried about Paul earlier in the week, but he’s done fine.”
Perkins injured his left knee in the second quarter of last week’s 40-24 win over Cal, after running for 73 yards on 11 carries. Starks was sidelined with a concussion that he sustained two weeks ago at Stanford.
How much the two backs play remains to be seen. The Buffaloes have what is statistically the weakest rushing defense in the Pac-12, allowing 209.5 yards per game and an average of 5.06 yards per carry. UCLA could very well decide to give more carries to freshmen Soso Jamabo — the team’s leading rusher in three games this season — and Bolu Olorunfunmi.
Senior receiver Devin Fuller’s status remains more questionable after a head injury ended his 100-yard, two-touchdown day against the Bears. Both marks were career highs.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘concussion,'” Mora said. “I’m not sure it was a concussion. … He had head trauma. What I’m completely confident in is that if our medical staff clears him to play, he is OK to play. We’re very conservative.”
Mora did not offer any update on leading tackler Isaako Savaiinaea. The junior linebacker suffered a leg injury last week, but has been present for parts of the last few practices.
Left tackle Conor McDermott and linebacker Deon Hollins, who are both recovering from knee injuries, have practiced all week.