AUBURN | Kamryn Pettway came into the season with very high expectations as the SEC’s returning rushing leader after averaging 122.4 yards per game last year.
He rushed for the bulk of his 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games last season.
But this season has started with a dud for the junior, who was suspended for the opener against Georgia Southern and has dealt with a couple of injuries including plantar fasciitis that caused him to miss the Missouri game and limited him in the other three.
“Any time you come off the kind of season he did last year with those yards he put up, he comes into the season banged up here, obviously it’s frustrating. He knows that,” said Kerryon Johnson, who leads the team with 300 yards and nine touchdowns rushing. “Like I’ve always said, Kam is a smart man, he’s a grown man and he’s not going to let it get to him.
“He just knows that he’s got to do his rehab. He’s got to keep his mind in it when he gets the opportunity. Which he definitely will, he knows what to do with it. We all feel confident that he does, we all know it will happen. We’re just waiting on it.”
Pettway’s most productive game was against Mercer with 128 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but he carried the ball 34 times. He missed the next game and had five carries for six yards against Mississippi State last Saturday.
“He hasn't been 100 percent any of the games yet. I know that's been frustrating for him. But we've got to get him healthy. If we get him healthy, I think he'll be in a good spot,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.
Johnson is also dealing with an injury of his own after hurting his hamstring in the opener. He missed two games before returning to rush for 48 yards and five touchdowns at Missouri and 116 yards and three touchdowns against MSU.
Johnson said Tuesday he's getting back in the 90-05 percent range from his injury.
“Even on the run last week where a guy caught up to me, I wouldn’t have been able to run that far the week before,” Johnson said. “I know week by week it’s just getting better, getting better, getting better. One of these weeks I’ll be healthy and you’ll see what I can really do.”
No. 12 Auburn hosts Ole Miss Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network.