Leshoure breaks jaw in altercation

Leshoure breaks jaw in altercation

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois freshman tailback Mikel Leshoure suffered a broken jaw in an incident with a teammate Saturday night. He is out for Saturday's game against Western Michigan at Detroit.

"I am very disappointed that something like this has occured," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "We have investigated the incident and will deal with it internally."

Illinois officials would not identify the teammate.

Sources told The News-Gazette that the other player involved was junior receiver Jeff Cumberland.

Leshoure's status for beyond Saturday's will be week to week.

The Centennial product, a two-time News-Gazette All-Stater, is fourth on the team in rushing with 126 yards on 35 carries. He has one touchdown.

Leshoure played Saturday against Iowa, catching three passes for 31 yards. He ran five times for 11 yards.

Illinois used three tailbacks against Iowa, with Jason Ford starting. Leshoure and Troy Pollard were used as backups. Ford, who gained 172 yards against Indiana, was held to 5 yards on eight carries by the Hawkeyes. He had a late fumble that led to Iowa's tying score.

Daniel Dufrene was in uniform Saturday, but didn't play after missing practice last week for "personal reasons." He was back at practice Monday and performed well, Zook said.

"Daniel was out today and was great," Zook said. "I talked to him a little bit after practice. (He was) like a little kid in a candy store."

Zook said he isn't concerned about tailback depth.

"One of the things we talked about at the beginning of the year, everybody asked, 'Well, you've got four running backs,' " Zook said. "You can never have too many running backs, for whatever reason. Daniel's out there, ready to go."

Zook said he was impressed with Dufrene on the sideline during Saturday's win against Iowa. Dufrene gave pep talks to his teammates and went to Pollard after a fumble.

"He cares about this football team and he realizes this team is important to him," Zook said. "It's a family."

The running back family is much different than the one that played for the Illini in the Rose Bowl. Since that game, Russ Weil completed his eligibility, Rashard Mendenhall turned pro a year early and Walter Mendenhall transferred to Illinois State.

Dufrene's missed time is followed by a broken jaw that will cost Leshoure at least one game, possibly more.


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