10/04/13 — On injured reserve: Don't expect JK's Sutton to stay there

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On injured reserve: Don't expect JK's Sutton to stay there

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 4, 2013 1:48 PM

The health of No. 1-ranked James Kenan's biggest offensive weapon has suddenly become a question mark.

What isn't uncertain is the amount of depth in the Tigers' backfield.

Senior tailback Marcelias Sutton suffered a deep thigh bruise in a win over Union on Sept. 6. The injury has limited Sutton's ability to practice in recent weeks and he aggravated the injury in last week's win over Princeton.

Tigers' head coach Ken Avent Jr. expects Sutton to play Friday night at Rosewood. An N.C. State recruit, Sutton has rushed for 503 yards and four touchdowns through five games.

"He hasn't practiced much the last three weeks," Avent Jr. said. "We keep resting him as much as we can and hopefully we can get him healed up. It's just one of those things that takes time to heal. I expect him to play, but if he gets hit on it he could be out."

Sutton carried the ball six times last week while Al Owens and JaQuan Williams shouldered the majority of the load in the running game. The two junior running backs combined to rush for 273 yards and three touchdowns.

Owens (5-foot-10, 230 pounds) is a physical runner who provides a straight-ahead running style that can wear down a defense. Williams (5-8, 155) can change the game's pace and is capable of breaking free from the defense.

Owens and Williams have accounted for 604 of Kenan's 1,336 rushing yards. The duo has scored 11 of the Tigers' 18 rushing touchdowns.

Kenan's offense has also benefited from the progression of senior quarterback Dominique Barnes. His ability as a passer has grown significantly since he took his first varsity snaps as a sophomore. Barnes has completed 21 of 43 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions.

The offensive balance is a big reason why Kenan averages 359 yards of total offense and 32 points per game.

"I think it is tremendous," Avent Jr. said. "Our passing game is coming around. Last year it was run or nothing. Dominique really worked hard this offseason. His mechanics have gotten a lot better and he's more accurate as a passer than when he first started."