AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football doesn’t know what shape its backfield will be in for its Jan. 1 game against undefeated UCF.
Gus Malzahn, who spoke with media on a Peach Bowl teleconference call on Sunday afternoon, was uncertain of the junior’s status after Pettway was sidelined with a shoulder injury for Auburn’s last five regular season games. He also missed the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.
“I don’t know the answer to that quite yet,” Malzahn said when asked about Pettway’s health on the call. “I just don’t know the answer to that right now. Maybe as it gets a little closer I can be a little more accurate.”
Pettway suffered the injury toward the end of Auburn’s win over Arkansas in Fayetteville in October. It was one of two games during which Pettway scored half of his touchdowns for the season.
Though expected to be the Tigers’ starter for 2017, Pettway finished third in rushing (305 yards) behind Kerryon Johnson (1,320 yards) and Kam Martin (429 yards). Of course, Pettway was the leading rusher for Auburn in 2016 and was anticipated to make a strong case to be a Heisman candidate (1,224 yards).
The Knights boast the No. 5 total offense in the country and the No. 95 total defense.
Auburn and UCF will kick off in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 1 (11:30 a.m. CT/ESPN).