Ducks backup QB out for season

Oregon backup quarterback Nate Costa will need season-ending surgery because of a right knee injury suffered in last Saturday’s victory over Washington, the team announced Tuesday.

Costa, a fifth-year senior and stalwart leader of the top-ranked Ducks, was hurt when he bobbled a field goal attempt — he also serves as the holder — and was tackled as he tried to scramble to the sideline with the ball. He was taken from the field on a cart.

The injury effectively ends his college career.

”He talked to our team this morning and told them not to feel sorry for him,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. ”He’ll still be with us the rest of the way.”

Costa threw for 151 yards and a score, and ran for another TD, against Washington State earlier this season when Darron Thomas left with a shoulder injury.

Costa finishes this season with 286 yards passing and a touchdown. He also was Oregon’s primary holder for the past two seasons.

Costa battled with Thomas during fall camp for Oregon’s starting job after last season’s quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, was dismissed from the team in the offseason.

The loss of Costa poses a dilemma for the Ducks, who have a recent history of inopportune quarterback knee injuries.

Oregon was hoping to redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett, who was impressive during fall camp. But instead he was listed as Thomas’ backup for Saturday’s upcoming game at California.

The team also has redshirt freshman Daryle Hawkins, who serves as a reserve quarterback, receiver and running back.

Kelly said Costa’s injury does not change Oregon’s game planning. He also said he would not make a special effort to get Bennett playing time in a game.

But Kelly made it clear that he would not hesitate to call on the freshman.

”Our goal is to win the football game,” Kelly said. ”If we need to play Bryan Bennett in the football game then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Costa will travel with the team to Strawberry Canyon.

The lack of an experienced backup for Thomas is a concern. Oregon saw a chance to compete for a national title crumble in 2007 when Dennis Dixon went down with a knee injury in the third-to-last game of the regular season.

That season, backup Brady Leaf was also knocked out with a knee injury.

Costa has sustained three serious knee injuries while at Oregon, two to his left and the latest to his right.

For his career, Costa completed 50 of 71 passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 195 yards and three scores.