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  • FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2018, file photo, Notre Dame wide receiver Jafar Armstrong (8) runs the ball against Clemson during the NCAA Cotton Bowl football game, in Arlington, Texas. Armstrong returns to the backfield for Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 10:50 pm

RB/WR Jafar Armstrong out for at least a month, possibly two

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame running back Jafar Armstrong will miss at least five weeks and possibly up to two months after suffering an injury in the groin area against Louisville, according to a report Wednesday from the Athletic.

Armstrong, a redshirt sophomore, is one of two Notre Dame running backs who was expected to get significant touches this season, along with redshirt junior Tony Jones Jr., who will see his carries increase. Armstrong ran twice for 10 yards against Louisville before exiting with the injury late in the first quarter. He also caught one pass for 16 yards, which might have been the play on which he was hurt.

Jones Jr. ran for 112 yards on 15 carries, while redshirt freshman Jahmir Smith filled in for Armstrong and scored two touchdowns while gaining 24 yards on eight rushes. Fellow redshirt freshman C'Bo Flemister also got some touches. 

Armstrong was expected to be a contributor at receiver, as well, after wideout Michael Young broke his collarbone in fall camp. Armstrong converted from receiver prior to the 2018 season, but retained his pass-catching ability and the Irish planned to use him as a jack-of-all-trades player, splitting him out wide and also getting him carries as a straight-ahead runner.

With Armstrong, the Irish lose some flexibility on offense. The player most affected is Jones, who is now the unquestioned starting running back for the first time in his career and he showed explosive ability against Louisville, running for 79 yards on one drive. At other times, however, he got stacked up at the line of scrimmage several carries in a row and he hasn't yet shown an ability to be a 20-carry-per-game back (although I think he has that ability). It would be particularly helpful for Notre Dame if Flemister or Smith stepped up and had a big game here in the next few weeks.

The bye week comes at the right time – it's strange to say that this early in the season – for the Irish, as it gets them one week closer to Armstrong's return. After a relatively healthy season in 2018, the Irish have already lost three projected starters – Armstrong, Young and tight end Cole Kmet – for significant stretches this season. 

dsinn@jg.net