Notre Dame had a pair of seniors and a freshman step into bigger roles than they had for most of the season in Saturday’s 28-3 upset of No. 15 Utah.
Senior receiver Duval Kamara, who had only seven receptions entering the game, had two receptions for touchdowns in the third quarter.
Linebacker Brian Smith, who moved to an inside spot after Carlo Calabrese was sidelined with a hamstring injury the last two games, led the defense with 10 tackles and broke up a pair of passes.
Notre Dame expects to get receiver TJ Jones and Calabrese back for this weekend’s game against Army in Yankee Stadium, but coach Brian Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference that the two seniors will remain in key positions the rest of the season.
“I think it’s pretty clear that when we are looking at the last couple of games and evaluating our players, Duval is a guy who can help us in matchups. And Brian is a guy that has a lot of snaps under his belt,” Kelly said. “I don’t see this as a situation where because other players will be back, in particular TJ Jones will be back this week as well as Carlo Calabrese, I still see these guys playing significant roles.”
The other player to step up for the Irish was freshman linebacker Prince Shembo.
Shembo filled in for Darius Fleming at an outside linebacker spot after Fleming was lost after 12 plays with a concussion. Fleming was cleared to return Sunday, Kelly said.
“Shembo played 54 had a sack, pressure, and really stepped in in a situation where he hasn’t played much football,” Kelly said. “Shembo is a guy we got to get on the field as well.”