Liberty loses leading rusher to knee injury

Lynchburg, VA ( - Liberty University's top rusher Desmond Rice will miss the 2014 season after having surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

Rice, a senior hometown product from Lynchburg, suffered the injury recently.

He earned All-Big South second-team honors last season after rushing for career highs of 967 yards and 16 touchdowns and ranking second in the Big South Conference in yards per rush (5.2).

Coach Turner Gill's post-spring practice depth chart now lists junior D.J. Abnar as Liberty's starting running back. Abnar rushed for 411 yards and six touchdowns last season.

The Flames, coming off an 8-4 record and co-championship in the Big South, will open the 2014 season on the road at North Carolina on Aug. 30 and play their home opener against Brevard on Sept. 13.