Eastern Washington's all-American running back Taiwan Jones likely will not play in Friday night's NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision semifinal against visiting Villanova.
Jones fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot in the Eagles' 38-31 quarterfinal victory over North Dakota State on Saturday.
His expected absence should give the 10th-ranked Wildcats (9-4) a huge advantage, right?
Not according to Villanova coach Andy Talley.
"I think any team such as Eastern Washington, they have very talented people that are ready to play and help out," Talley said. "So I'm expecting that there won't be any drop-off. I think they will play great."
Jones, a junior, rushed for a career-high 230 yards against North Dakota State, with 203 of those yards coming before intermission. The California native ranks second nationally in the FCS in both rushing yards (145.2 yards) and all-purpose yards (201.8) per game. He compiled 1,742 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns this season.
True freshman Mario Brown (214 yards, 1 TD this season) or junior Darriell Beaumonte (216, 2 TD) are the replacement possibilities.
"Our other players have to step up," Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said. "This will be a challenge that our players need to attack and go after. But it's going to be disappointing to not see that young man play this Friday."
This week's semifinals