No Israel Abanikanda for Pitt, and now it appears no Zach Charbonnet for UCLA.
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly said during his final Sun Bowl press conference yesterday that he expected there to be no opt-outs, but KTSM TV’s Colin Deaver reported that Charbonnet is not suited up during Sun Bowl warm ups.
It’s a big loss for college football’s No. 4 rushing offense.
UCLA’s star running back Zach Charbonnet is not suited up today for the Sun Bowl. pic.twitter.com/NGqFZ9SKVw
— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) December 30, 2022
Charbonnet led UCLA with 1,359 yards and 14 touchdowns on 195 carries, averaging a stellar seven yards per carry. He also hailed in 37 receptions for 321 yards out of the backfield.
Without Charbonnet, who missed two games this season, UCLA will rely even more heavily on quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson — who threw for 2,883 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for 631 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
The duo of Keegan Jones and TJ Harden, who combined for 99 carries for 526 yards and three touchdowns this season, will likely be thrust into increased workloads.
Even without Charbonnet, Pitt’s depleted defense will be tested by an explosive UCLA offense.