According to the official IU site (hat-tip to Ken Bikoff of Rivals), Indiana sophomore running back Darius Willis will miss the rest of the 2010 season and will have surgery on his knee to repair an injured patellar tendon. This is a major loss for the Hoosiers. While IU has struggled to establish the running game this season, Willis was IU's leading rusher with 278 yards and 4 touchdowns and an average of 4.3 yards per carry in four games (he missed the Ohio State game). IU's leading rushers are Trea Burgess (21/83, 1 TD), Antonio Banks (15/42, 1 TD), and Nick Turner (12/45, 1 TD). Willis has been fairly impressive in his short career, but has struggled with injuries. He missed three games in 2009, and therefore will reach the end of his sophomore season having played in only 13 of IU's 24 games.
There's no positive spin for this loss. IU's running game was middling before, and the Hoosiers now are without their most experienced and productive runner. The passing game already being forced to carry a weak defense and weak running game, and that burden is even heavier today. Oh, well. Disappointment isn't anything new for IU football fans. Let's hope that one of the young running backs seizes the opportunity and emerges as a reliable threat.