Illini lose Carter for season

Illini lose Carter for season

Edwin Carter gave the Illinois offense a spark during Saturday night's eventual 34-14 win against Western Illinois.

But the true freshman from Jacksonville, Fla., won't play again this season for the Illini after suffering a significant knee injury against the Leathernecks, Illinois coach Lovie Smith said on Monday afternoon.

Carter hauled in his second touchdown catch from Illinois backup quarterback M.J. Rivers II to give Illinois a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter, but his right knee buckled underneath him in the end zone after getting hit in midair. Carter managed to hang on to the catch, though, giving Illinois its first lead against Western Illinois.

The Illini never trailed again. Carter made his Illinois debut against Kent State, but his two touchdown catches for 34 yards will stand as his only receptions in 2018.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Carter is the second Illinois receiver to suffer a season-ending knee injury in as many weeks after Mikey Dudek got hurt during the Illini's 31-24 season-opening win against Kent State on Sept. 1.

It's unclear at the moment who Illinois (2-0) will start at quarterback against South Florida (2-0) when the two teams kick off at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Rivers replaced Bush in the second quarter of the win against Western Illinois, with Bush suffering a hamstring injury, Smith said Monday.

"We'll see how it goes this week," Smith said.