Reports surfaced before kickoff of Notre Dame’s 45-3 win over Pitt that Kevin Austin reinjured his foot and was out for the rest of the season. After the game, Brian Kelly confirmed Austin broke the fifth metatarsal in his foot and won’t return to action until the spring delivering a huge blow to the Notre Dame passing game in the process.
For Kevin Austin, this injury is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that has prevented his Irish career from ever really taking off. After a rather unceremonious freshman campaign, he sat out his entire sophomore season in 2019 with a suspension. Then he broke his foot over the summer causing him to miss the first three games of 2020. Now, this.
There was a tremendous amount of hype surrounding Austin this year after members of the 2019 defense told the media that Austin tortured them in practice all last year while he toiled on the scout team during his suspension. His 2020 season, however, ends with a stat line of 1 catch for 18 yards.
While this latest setback is obviously a huge blow for Austin, it’s also a massive loss for a Notre Dame passing game that finally showed some signs of life this afternoon against Pitt. Still, the Irish are in need of receivers like Austin who can stress a defense like Clemson on November 7.
Compunding matters for Notre Dame on Saturday was the loss of Braden Lenzy with what looked like an apparent hamstring injury. Lenzy was inexplicably in the game int he 4th quarter with the game well in hand and pulled up lame on a go route. Lenzy was helped off the field.
Notre Dame still threw for over 300 yards for the first time this year this afternoon, but the Clemson defense is a whole different beast than the Panther defense the Irish faced today.