MORGANTOWN — Sophomore linebacker Charlie Benton, helped from the field during the second quarter of West Virginia’s win over Tennessee on Saturday, will miss the rest of the season.
A newcomer from junior college, Benton was on crutches and wearing a knee brace after the 40-14 victory. Coach Dana Holgorsen confirmed the severity of the injury on Monday’s Big 12 teleconference.
“He’s going to be lost for the season,” Holgorsen said. “It’s unfortunate. He’s a three-for-three junior college guy, who had a good spring and was going to get better and better.”
Benton played only 18 snaps Saturday before being injured making a tackle on Vols running back Tim Jordan near the line of scrimmage. It appeared to be friendly fire from WVU safety Kenny Robinson that led to the injury in the pile.
That leaves West Virginia exposed at Sam linebacker. Benton was elevated to starter when senior Quondarius Qualls suffered a torn ACL in spring practice.
Former walk-on Shea Campbell of Morgantown High filled in most of the subsequent snaps against Tennessee, while defensive coordinator Tony Gibson occasionally moved away from the typical 3-3 stack to a 4-2 alignment that used an extra defensive lineman.
Gibson previously mentioned the possibility of giving the backups at Will linebacker — where David Long is entrenched as an All-Big 12 player — the chance to swap sides and take reps at Sam.