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Rewind the tape and there's Utah wideout Dres Anderson, lined up on the game-winning play, and then there he is again, galloping down the sidelines to celebrate Utah's win over USC.

All of this after sustaining a season-ending knee injury.

Sunday, without the adrenaline coursing through him, he "wasn't feeling quite right," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. Monday, it was worse, and an MRI revealed an unspecified knee injury that required surgery and three to four months of rehabilitation for Utah's leading receiver and senior captain.

Anderson's playing days at the U. are now over.

Junior wideout Tim Patrick describes the receivers as "heavy-hearted" when that was explained to them at their position meeting.

"It was quiet for a cool five minutes, and [Anderson] came in and just let us know that we've got a game this weekend, and we've just got to step up as a receiving corps."

By all accounts, Anderson has handled it well. Patrick said you wouldn't know looking at him that he's injured. Junior Kenneth Scott, close to Anderson since they were both sophomores in high school, told Anderson he'll support him the same way his friend did when Scott was was lost for the season last year against Utah State.

"He's still got that smile and stuff," Scott said. "He's still the same Dres. I just told him to keep his head up. This injury is a little bump in his road."

The injury occurred on the final series in the fourth quarter, Whittingham said, when Anderson ran a deep crossing route and was not thrown to. Coaches never knew he was injured, and so he finished out the game — drawing a pass interference penalty and catching a 10-yard pass for a first down on the climactic drive.

Anderson redshirted in 2010 and has played in too many games to apply for a hardship waiver. His eligibility is spent.

He had a handful of dropped passes against Washington State and Oregon State, but he was unquestionably the team's most prolific receiver, and also made one of the season's best plays when he ragdolled into the end zone with a 42-yard pass from Kendal Thompson in Utah's upset victory over then-No. 8 UCLA.

Now, as Whittingham frequently says, it's next man up.

Utah has averaged just 192.1 yards per game through the air, and with or without Anderson, they hoped to improve.

The onus is on Scott, Patrick and senior Kaelin Clay to replicate — or exceed — Anderson's productivity. The obvious question is whether any of them are capable of stretching the field like the blazing Anderson, and Patrick believes Ute fans will like the answer.

"If you look at all of our highlight tapes, that's what most of us ran, so I don't think it's going to be a problem," he said. "We're actually going to get an opportunity now to show people."

Whittingham mentioned that senior Andre Lewis and true freshman Kenric Young will also have to be ready when called upon. Young — whose pure track speed rivals Anderson's — said Wednesday that Anderson was his mentor in the team's big brother program and guided him through fall camp with advice and motivational cellphone texts.

After the team got the news Wednesday, texts came from Scott and Clay, "telling me it's time to step up," Young said.

Anderson has already earned his degree, and Whittingham did not immediately know if he will remain with the team or head home to rehabilitate in California.

He seemed to hope Anderson would stick around.

"He's still an integral part of the team, he's just not going to be able to play the last portion of the season."

Twitter: @matthew_piper —

Dres Anderson stats

2010 • Redshirt

2011 • 23 catches, 355 yards, 3 TDs

2012 • 36 catches, 365 yards, 3 TDs

2013 • 53 catches, 1,002 yards, 7 TDs

2014 • 22 catches, 355 yards, 4 TDs

Total • 2,077 yards, fifth in school history. Also rushed 25 times for 143 yards and one touchdown and returned 12 kicks for 251 yards.