Arkansas has hole to fill at running back

The Arkansas Razorbacks, ranked No. 14 in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, lost junior running back Knile Davis, possibly for the entire 2011 season, to a left ankle injury that he sustained in practice Thursday.

Although Ryan Mallett got plenty of attention for the Razorbacks last season, it was Davis who was arguably Arkansas’ breakout star. Davis led all SEC running backs with 1,322 yards, the fourth-highest single-season total in school history. His six 100-yard rushing games was the fourth-highest single-season total in school history. Arkansas went 10-3 and played in its first BSC bowl game last season.

Davis vs. Ranked Teams 2nd Half of 2010

From Oct. 13 through the end of the bowl season, nobody rushed for more yards in the nation than Davis (1,119). He also ranked in the top eight in many other categories, including touchdowns (12, fifth), yards per game (139.9, fourth), 20-plus yard runs (20, tied-sixth) and rushing first downs (48, tied-second).

In addition, Davis stepped it up against ranked teams late in the season, gaining more than 100 yards against all four ranked opponents, including 139 yards against the sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl. Overall, Davis had four games of 150 or more yards last season, the most in the country.