East Lansing — His senior year was supposed to be a big one, but as it turns out, LJ Scott’s days at Michigan State are not about to end.
The senior running back who has been hampered by a bad ankle nearly all season after first suffering the injury in the second week at Arizona State will take a redshirt season and come back in 2019.
“We're probably going to redshirt him, that's what it looks like,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said after Michigan State’s 26-6 loss to Ohio State. “Well, we are going to redshirt him.”
Scott has played in four games this season and will now shut it down and look toward next year.
“It's one of those things — you have an opportunity for him to come back, get his degree,” Dantonio said. “He wants to do that and get himself right to play his final season at Michigan State. So, that's the decision we made with three games left.”
Scott led Michigan State in rushing in each of his first three seasons and was looking for big things entering 2018. After gaining 84 yards in the opener against Utah State, Scott was hurt early the next week at Arizona State. He missed the next four games before returning against Michigan on Oct. 20.
He carried the ball 10 times for 25 yards against the Wolverines then gained 52 yards on 15 carries the next week in the win over Purdue.
However, Scott didn’t make the trip last week to Maryland and was dressed Saturday against Ohio State but did not play.
Dantonio said they had a frank discussion about what playing against Ohio State would mean.
“Even though this is an important game and everything,” Dantonio said, “we put it on him. ‘Hey, this is it. If you play in this game and you get hurt, this is it.’ After sitting down and thinking about it, he and his family made the decision to redshirt, which I support.”
Sophomore Connor Heyward has carried the bulk of the load in Scott’s absence while freshman La’Darius Jefferson has also seen his share of carries.
Without Scott, the Michigan State running game has struggled all season, entering Saturday’s game averaging just 125.6 yards a game, which ranked 111th in the nation.
Scott has 55 carries this season 180 yards but hasn’t scored a touchdown. His 3.3-yards-per-carry average is the lowest of his career. He currently ranks 10th on Michigan State's career rushing list with 2,771 yards.
Injuries have been a problem all season for Michigan State, and on Saturday, Scott wasn't the only player out.
Junior receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. started and finished with four receptions, but he was out in the second half, Dantonio said.
Offensive linemen David Beedle, Matt Allen and Luke Campbell also didn't play while freshman receiver Jalen Nailor also sat out. Beedle (arm) hasn't played since the Northwestern game while Allen has now missed three games with a foot injury. Campbell and Nailor have been in and out the past few weeks.
"Well, we've got a lot of guys not playing," Dantonio said. "Darrell Stewart was out, Matt Allen is out, Beedle is out, Luke Campbell is out. We've gone through a lot of different wide receivers. We still got to show up."