Oregon WR Carrington fails drug test, ineligible for title game vs. OSU
Oregon's already depleted wide receiving corps took a major hit just days before the Ducks meet Ohio State in the national title game on Monday night.
Darren Carrington, who caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Ducks' 59-20 win over Florida State last week, failed an NCAA drug test and has been declared ineligible, a source told FOX Sports on Friday. Carrington reportedly tested positive for marijuana. The rangy wideout was not on the trip to Texas and won't play in the game.
News also broke Saturday morning that another Ducks offensive player, senior running back Ayele Forde, will also miss Monday's title game after failing a drug test. Forde, a backup RB, played in all 14 games this season, with three carries for 17 yards. He had a carry for five yards in the Pac-12 championship against Arizona.
An appeal by Oregon already has been heard and denied, a source told FOX Sports. Team spokesman Andy McNamara confirmed that Carrington is not with the team but would not indicate why.
The 6-foot-2, 191-pound redshirt freshman Carrington made his first career start in the victory over Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game, finishing with seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.
The Ducks already were down Devon Allen, their fastest and most consistent wideout who, as FOX Sports first reported after the FSU game, will miss the title game due to a leg injury. Allen had 41 catches for 684 yards and seven touchdowns. Oregon also lost its most experienced wideout, Bralon Addison, to injury before the season.
The Ducks have also been playing for the last four games without star tight end Pharoah Brown, who went down with a season-ending leg injury against Utah.
That leaves Oregon, which regularly uses three- and four-receiver formations, with Byron Marshall (66 catches for 834 yards), Dwayne Stafford (39 for 578), Keanon Lowe (25 for 359) and freshman Charles Nelson (11 for 101) to rely on at wideout.
Tight end Evan Baylis had a breakout game last week with six catches.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said the team was disappointed. He hadn't been able to talk to Carrington.
"But at the same time I think a lot of guys feel guilty like they should have helped, including myself," Mariota said via AP. "It's tough. But we'll have to be ready for the next one, whoever the next guy is to step up."
Coach Mark Helfrich had said the team has faced many issues during the season, including injuries. But he insisted that the team is not distracted heading into the first College Football Playoff title game.
"How you manage those things is what matters most. And our guys have managed all those situations very, very well," Helfrich said.
The news of Carrington being declared ineligible was first reported by CSN.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.