What now?: Earp out for season with shoulder injury

Published 6:54 pm Monday, October 24, 2016

BEAUMONT — Ray Woodard’s suspicion were confirmed: Carson Earp’s collegiate career is done.

For the second week in a row, Lamar has lost a senior backfield player due to a season-ending injury. Earp went out of Saturday’s 22-12 loss at Central Arkansas early with an injured throwing shoulder and was replaced by junior Andrew Allen.

Earp was the reigning Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week after engineering a comeback win at home over Northwestern State.

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Woodard thought Earp was done for the year after the game.

“I tried laying hands on him. It didn’t work,” Woodard said. “Unfortunately, that’s football.”

The bad news for Lamar (3-4, 3-2 Southland) came six days after it was determined the university’s career rushing leader, Kade Harrington, would miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Harrington told a television station it was a torn ligament in his foot.

Earp was 3 for 6 for 54 yards before being injured on a drive with about 5 minutes to go in the first quarter. He came out of the game after making a 3-yard run on first-down well in his territory.

It’s an unceremonious end to a short Lamar career that’s been marred by injury and rough starts in the first two games this season. Earp was on the rebound following bad outings against Coastal Carolina and the University of Houston that cost him the starting role against Sam Houston State, when he scored on a 67-yard touchdown run.

But Allen did not fully recover from an ankle injury, giving Earp the start against Southeastern Louisiana. Earp completed 57 of 92 for 807 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games, four of his touchdowns coming against Northwestern State. He ran for double-digit yardage in four games this year with a season high of 79 yards and two scores against SELA.

Earp transferred before the 2015 season from Navarro College, where he come off a 2,011-yard, 19-touchdown passing season as a sophomore. As a junior, he shared starts with Joe Minden as both dealt with injuries throughout the season, Earp’s being a separated shoulder during a loss at SELA.

Earp finished that season 42 of 78 for 576 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions. He only had two picks this year, both against Coastal Carolina, and finished 71 for 123 for 975 yards and the five scores while rushing 38 times for 244 yards and three TDs.

Lamar now has a depleted pool of quarterbacks after having seven players work out at that position since the spring.

Woodard said Monday that junior backup Blake McKenzie, who has not played this season, will miss the rest of this year after injuring his knee during practice two weeks ago trying to make a cut. McKenzie tore his ACL prior to the 2015 season.

Miami transfer Clayton Turner moved to wide receiver during preseason camp and sophomore Brett Cox was ruled academically ineligible for this season.

Earp’s departure now leaves Allen as the starter with true freshman Case Robinson of Crockett as a backup. Woodard said he is planning to keep a freshman redshirt on Port Neches-Groves graduate Adam Morse.

Woodard said Allen wasn’t “100 percent” healthy against Central Arkansas, but he should reach that point come this Saturday’s homecoming game against Houston Baptist.

“I think he’ll be more efficient than he was last week,” Woodard said of Allen, who struggled to a 17-of-37 performance for 151 yards and netted minus-22 yards on nine carries. “He’s still not turning the ball over. He’s still doing a lot of positive things.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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