While the Notre Dame Fighting Irish emerged victorious (in dramatic fashion) over Virginia this past Saturday, the win was of the Pyrrhic variety, as it lost starting quarterback Malik Zaire for the season with a fractured ankle.
In addition to Zaire’s injury, the Irish have been hit by a series of maladies to key players, including tight end Durham Smythe and running back Tarean Folston, who were both lost for the season.
These losses represent a significant blow for the Irish, and their title odds dropped from 14/1 to 17/1 to their current 33/1 at Bodog in the wake of the announcement.
Kizer Led IRISH Game-Winning Drive
But there is good news, as backup passer DeShone Kizer led a stirring game-winning drive against the Cavliers to keep the Irish undefeated. Kizer showed he has big-time talent and a flair for the dramatic, and that will be needed as he seeks to fill Zaire’s large shoes.
And in place of Folston, running back C.J. Prosise has rushed for 253 yards and a touchdown over the first two games.
The injuries are an unfortunate part of football, but Notre Dame has an outstanding head coach in Brian Kelly, and he’ll tailor the offense with more of a slant towards the run-game, at least until Kizer feels totally comfortable.
Georgia Tech, UMass, Clemson on Tap
We’ll know more about the Irish following their games over the next three weeks (Georgia Tech, UMass, at Clemson), but there’s little question that the team will be undervalued. They have a solid backup passer and talent throughout the roster, plus Kelly manning the controls.
Sleep on the new-look Irish at your own risk. They might not make the College Football Playoff without Zaire, but they’re still a top-20 team in the country.