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Blue & Gold Illustrated

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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6 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI A Notre Dame running back corps ravaged by attrition the last cou- ple of years ran out of firepower dur- ing the 23-17 loss at No. 3 Georgia Sept. 21. Head coach Brian Kelly admitted there was little commitment to run- ning the football against the Bulldogs front, and it showed when the 14 to- tal carries (for 46 yards) by the Irish — some on quarterback Ian Book scrambles — were the fewest in his 10-year era with the Fighting Irish. Only the 14 attempts (for 41 yards) in a 31-17 loss at home to USC in 2011 matched it. Meanwhile, the 46-yard rushing to- tal at Georgia was "eclipsed" only four times during the Kelly era — 32 yards (on 19 carries) in the 42-14 BCS Na- tional Championship Game loss to Al- abama on Jan. 7, 2013; 41 yards versus USC in 2011; 41 yards (on 38 attempts) in a 55-31 defeat at Arizona State in 2014; and 44 yards (on 23 rushes) in a 37-14 home loss to Stanford in 2010. How did it reach such a stage for the ground game? There are several factors: • For this year, it began with an in- jury to junior starter Jafar Armstrong, who tore an abdominal muscle on the opening series at Louisville Sept. 2. Kelly is looking at the Oct. 12 game versus USC as a best-case situation for his return. During a scrimmage in the bye week, sophomore Jahmir Smith suffered UNDER THE DOME A DRY RUN Ground game needs to upgrade to keep defenses honest Senior Tony Jones Jr. is the team's most complete running back, but is considered more of a complementary figure than a primary one. Through the first three games, he had 30 carries for 148 yards (4.9 yards per carry) with one touchdown. PHOTO BY J. SISSON/WPG RUN-DOWN EFFECT Going through the record books, we found Notre Dame is now 4-16 under Kelly in games where it rushed for less than 100 yards. The 10 lowest figures were: • 32 yards on 19 carries in a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game • 41 yards on 14 carries in a 31-17 loss to USC in 2011 • 41 yards on 38 carries in a 55-31 loss at Arizona State in 2014 • 44 yards on 23 carries in a 37-14 loss to Stanford in 2010 • 46 yards on 14 carries in a 23-17 loss at Georgia in 2019 • 52 yards on 36 carries in a 20-17 win over Purdue in 2012 • 54 yards on 31 carries in a 41-30 loss at Michigan in 2014 • 55 yards on 37 carries in a 20-19 loss to Georgia in 2017 • 57 yards on 31 carries in a 28-14 loss at Stanford in 2011 • 57 yards on 25 carries in a 36-28 loss to Michigan State in 2016

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