Francis' return a welcome one

OREGON STATE LOOKS to still feature a depleted running backs corps headed into the Sun Bowl, but the hit does not look to pack as big a wallop as it once did. Jeremy Francis, who had left the team on an indefinite absence to be with his ailing mother, will rejoin his teammates when the Beavers head down to El Paso on Dec. 26 for the tilt against No. 18 Pitt.

Jeremy Francis, a junior, has missed Beaver practices and preparations since last week but his return to the team will be a certain boost.

Francis gives the Beavs an accomplished receiver coming out of the backfield. And he'll likely play a significant role in the running game with Ryan McCants the expected starter and Jacquizz Rodgers all but virtually certain, according to Mike Riley's most recent comments, to be held out of the Sun Bowl matchup against Pitt due to his shoulder injury.

"Running backs coach Reggie Davis has been talking to him about this," Riley said of Francis. "And it's a big deal with our depth right now.

"The decision to take care of his family is the right decision for Jeremy and we all support that."

Francis' return, however, may not be permanent, said Riley, as the running back has indicated a need to stay closer to home to tend to his mom.

"He still has a lot of issues he is taking care of. I hope that Jeremy is eventually able to return to the team on a permanent basis," said Riley in a release from OSU Sports Information.

Sun Bowl tickets are available by calling 1-800-Go-Beavs, visiting the Gill Coliseum ticket office or here.

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