MTSU loses leading offensive star for the remainder of the season

Monday, October 15, 2012 at 6:18pm
Staff reports

Unlucky No. 13 got Middle Tennessee State running back Benny Cunningham.

The senior running back was among the top 20 nationally in rushing – 13th to be exact – following a career-high 230-yard performance Saturday in a victory over Florida International.

The Goodpasture product sustained an injury to his left knee late in that contest, however. Monday, tests revealed that season-ending (career-ending, in this case) surgery was required to address the issue.

"It's very unfortunate on a personal level because Benny is one of the hardest working and competitive players I have ever coached," coach Stockstill said in a statement released by the school. "I feel like he has been short-changed the last couple of years because of injuries. I have no doubt he will get fully recovered and have a shot at continuing his playing career at the professional level."

Cunningham is the first MTSU back in more than a decade with multiple 200-yard rushing games in the same season. He had 217 in an upset of Georgia Tech.

He currently leads the Sun Belt Conference with 600 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. His scoring total ranks third nationally. He is a two-time conference player of the week this season, including this week.

He finishes his career with 1,629 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns (21 rushing).

Junior Drayton Calhoun, freshman Jordan Parker, freshman Jeremiah Bryson and junior William Pratcher will vie for playing time in Cunningham’s absence. Calhoun and Parker currently are the leading candidates for playing time.