Notre Dame running back Josh Adams wasn’t on anyone’s Heisman radar really when the season started. Even after ripping off a couple of big games early in the season, he wasn’t in the conversation. After running for 393 yards and 4 touchdowns in the last two weeks against a pair of top 15 ranked opponents including the former #6 rushing defense in the country, Adams now finds himself in the thick of the race. Don’t look now either, but Adams could find himself running away from the pack in November like he ran away from defenses in October.
Through eight games this year Josh Adams has racked up 1,169 yards and 9 touchdowns despite sitting out 9 quarters of football with Notre Dame dominating all but one of their opponents thus far this year. He’s got at least one 60 yard run in six of eight games and has a touchdown of 70 yards or more in four straight games.
And guess what? He’s about to face some of the worst running defenses the Irish will have faced all season long over the next four weeks. Thanks to Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune, here are how the remaining four opponents on Notre Dame’s schedule rank in terms of rushing defense.
Notre Dame's remaining opponents in rushing D:
— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) October 30, 2017
Adams has done some damage against these teams in the past too. As a freshman in 2015 Adams tore off a Notre Dame record 97 yard rushing touchdown against Wake Forest. Against Stanford that same year Adams set the Notre Dame freshman season rushing record with an 18 carry, 168 yard outburst that included a 62 yard touchdown. He also had 94 on 12 carries including a game winning 41 yard touchdown last fall against Miami. In fact, the only team left on the schedule that Adams hasn’t tortured in the past is Navy. Something tells me that is going to change this year.
After Saquon Barkley took the opening touchdown back for a touchdown against Ohio State last week Twitter lit up with tweets about handing Barkley the Heisman right then and there. Then Barkley ran for all of 44 yards on 21 carries. So maybe the Penn State running back doesn’t have this thing in the bag after all huh?
Adams’s efforts the last two weeks now have him in the pack with Barkley, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Ohio State’s JT Barrett, and Stanford’s Bryce Love.
With the poor rushing defenses Notre Dame has in front of it, if Adams continues on his current pace he’d end the season just under 1,800 yards with 13 touchdowns. Should the Irish continue winning and Adams continue that pace, there is no way that Adams won’t have plans for the second weekend of December.
Adams has a long way to go before that just as the Irish have a lot of work to do between now and then for them to reach what at one time felt unattainable but now seems almost likely if not at the very least extremely possible.
One thing that Adams needs in order to have a legit chance at having a seat in New York on December 9th is a healthy Brandon Wimbush. Notre Dame’s starting quarterback dinged his ankle in the win over NC State. Brian Kelly says there will be no restrictions, but expect Wake Forest to test that They’ll likely key on Admas early this weekend until Wimbush shows that there are no lingering effects of the ankle injury. Adams has benefited greatly this year from the running threat Wimbush poses. Without the edge of a defense having to worry about Wimbush taking one around the corner, some of the gigantic holes the line has been opening might not be as gigantic.
Notre Dame is doing its part to build the hype and market their star back. The University released an entire campaign around the hashtag #33Trucking along with hats and a full website. The clever campaign from Notre Dame won’t win Adams the award, but it will help build his profile over the final month of the season. By the way, if anyone from the Notre Dame marketing department is reading this, my nephews, my dad, and I would all be happy to help promote #33Trucking by wearing these hats. Just saying.
— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) October 28, 2017
You can’t win the Heisman Trophpy in October, but you can put yourself in a position to have a chance to win it in October and that is just what Adams has done the past month – specifically the past two weeks. Notre Dame is now about to square off with four teams in November none of whom are ranked in the top 75 in run defense. The Irish just put up 318 yards on the former #6 ranked run defense with Adams chipping in 202 of those. You do the math there.
Wouldn’t it be something if Notre Dame flew into Palo Alto on Thanksgiving weekend with something to play for as a team with Josh Adams and Bryce Love squaring off in a Heisman elimination game? It’s a fun thought. Two months ago that seemed like something out of the wildest dreams of even the most optimistic of Notre Dame fan. Now? Well now it seems like anything less than such a scenario would qualify as a disappointment. Expectations. They are a fickle mistress.