Notre Dame got some bad news Friday afternoon on the eve of their biggest game of the year. The Irish will take on the 7th ranked Cardinal of Stanford without leading scorer Jafar Armstrong. The sophomore running back will miss the contest with an infection in his left knee according to Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated.
Armstrong, a converted wide receiver, is second on the team in rushing with 245 yards just 17 yards behind leading rusher Tony Jones Jr. He does, however, lead Notre Dame in scoring along with Justin Yoon thanks to his team leading five rushing touchdowns.
Jafar Armstrong was coming off his best game of the season with 98 yards on just 8 attempts last weekend in Notre Dame’s romp over Wake Forest.
Notre Dame will miss Armstrong in the passing game as well. He leads Notre Dame running backs with 7 receptions this year for 87 yards. Jones Jr does, however, have slightly more yards (88) on fewer receptions.
Dexter Williams Return Even More Timely
With Armstrong out, Notre Dame will likely lean heavily on Jones Jr and senior Dexter Williams who is fresh off a suspension that was never confirmed or denied by Notre Dame. The timing of Williams insertion back into the lineup couldn’t have come at a better time now that Notre Dame will be without the services of Armstrong.
It was believed that Williams would be eased back into action this weekend, but with Armstrong out, that likely goes out the window. Notre Dame could give sophomore Avery Davis more carries this week, but the hybrid running back/receiver has only run the ball 13 times this year for just 42 yards. Davis was more of a long term project as opposed to Armstrong who took to the running back position pretty well in a short period of time.
Notre Dame would have been in a major predicament this weekend if Williams were not coming back. Davis is a smaller back who isn’t much of a between the tackles runner at this point. Outside of him, the only other backs on the roster are freshmen Jahmir Smith and C’bo Flemister. Smith carried the ball twice for 16 yards last week, but Flemister has not registered a carry to this point though he was used on kick returns in week two.