Tight end Ben Guidugli will miss a game Saturday against No. 7 Oklahoma because of a sprained ankle, another major setback for Cincinnati’s struggling offense.
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Guidugli got hurt during a 30-19 loss at North Carolina State on Thursday night. Coach Butch Jones said on Tuesday that the senior won’t be available for the game at Paul Brown Stadium. It’s unclear if he’ll have to miss more than the one game.
Losing Guidugli is a big setback. The senior is rated one of the nation’s top tight ends. He was fourth on the team in receiving last season.
Junior Adrien Robinson will take Guidigli’s spot on some plays.
”We’ll mix up our formations and personnel groups,” Jones said.
The Bearcats (1-2) already are missing receiver Vidal Hazelton, who tore a knee ligament during a 28-14 opening loss at Fresno State. Hazelton was the Bearcats’ leading receiver and kick returner when he got hurt, an indication of how much they were relying on him to replace Mardy Gilyard.
Cincinnati’s offense has been a big disappointment for the defending Big East champions, who haven’t been able to protect quarterback Zach Collaros or get the passing game going. Jones said running back Isaiah Pead is expected to start against the Sooners (3-0), which could take some of the pressure off Collaros to run the ball.
Pead is the top returning running back from last season. He sat out the second game of the season, a win over Indiana State, with a sprained knee. He got into the game against North Carolina State but didn’t carry the ball.
”He was still limited,” Jones said. ”He’s had a couple of extra days to heal and we practiced on Sunday and he looked great. He’s going to be full-strength, ready to go. You take Isaiah out of our offense, and we’re a different offense. He’s an individual we’re going to try to get the ball to more to make plays.”