Notre Dame’s injury list for the Citrus Bowl on Monday isn’t particularly troubling. It’s list of suspended players, however, is alarming. On Saturday morning we learned that a fourth Notre Dame player, sophomore running back Deon McIntosh, has been sent home from Orlando joining Kevin Stepherson, CJ Holmes, and Alize Mack as Notre Dame players that Brian Kelly and Chip Long won’t have available on offense.
Deon McIntosh came into the 2017 season with low expectations, but a string of nagging injuries to all three of Notre Dame’s top running backs thrust him into a much more prominent role than anyone anticipated. McIntosh responded with 368 yards on 65 carries with 5 touchdowns. A lot of that damage came against North Carolina when McIntosh carried the ball 12 times for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns.
McIntosh’s breakout season will now end on a disappointing note 1,100 miles away from his team in South Bend while his teammates attempt to win their 10th game of the season against a strong LSU team.
The loss of McIntosh might not be felt that much on the field if Tony Jones Jr, Dexter Williams, and Josh Adams are all 100% as they are said to be. When that trio is healthy, McIntosh doesn’t have much of a role in the offense. Having a 4th player suspended for the game, however, could be an indication of where this team’s heads are at heading into their showdown with LSU.
Notre Dame’s wide receiver corps have already been depleted because of the suspensions to Mack and Stepherson and an injury to Chase Claypool that could linger into the spring. Even though McIntosh might not have played much, given Notre Dame’s injury track record at running back this year it wouldn’t have been surprising to see him on the field.
The Irish will be looking to reboot its struggling offense against a stout LSU defense minus five skill position players now. Getting Brandon Wimbush moving the ball with his legs could go a long way in getting the offense back on track even with the subtractions from the lineup.