Football: Floyd, Smith ruled out until bowl game
Jay Fitzpatrick | Monday, November 17, 2008
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said that wide receiver Michael Floyd and linebacker Brian Smith will miss the remaining two regular season games because of knee injuries suffered Saturday against Navy.
Floyd injured his knee on the first drive of the game. Smith injured his because of an illegal chop block. Although both will miss the next two weeks, Weis said they should be healthy by the middle of December, meaning they will likely be active if the Irish go to a bowl game.
“They are both looking at a four week period, and fortunately for us, that would take us to the middle of December, and still giving you over a couple of weeks to get their cardiovascular up and be ready to go,” Weis said.
Notre Dame cornerback Terrail Lambert did not play either on Saturday after injuring his ankle on Thursday. Weis said the fifth-year senior is “50-50” for Notre Dame’s game against Syracuse on Saturday and should be ready by Nov. 29 when the Irish play USC.
Freshman Robert Blanton started the first game of his Irish career in place of the injured Lambert. Blanton is the sixth freshman to start for Notre Dame this season, joining Floyd, tight end Kyle Rudolph, defensive end Ethan Johnson, linebacker Darius Fleming and offensive guard Trevor Robinson.
Very special teams
Senior Mike Anello continued his impressive season on special teams for Notre Dame, blocking the first punt of his career in the first quarter. The block led to a Toryan Smith touchdown, also the first of his career.
“It was just something (special teams) coach (Brian) Polian and coach Weis set up for me,” Anello said. “I was lucky enough to get a hand on it.”
This was Notre Dame’s second blocked punt of the season. Cornerback Sergio Brown had the first in the season opener against San Diego State.
Speaking of punts …
Eric Maust’s second quarter punt Saturday marked the first time since 2004 that Navy forced the Irish to punt, when D. J. Fitzpatrick did so in the fourth quarter of Notre Dame’s 27-9 win that season. Notre Dame ran 247 plays against Navy in between punts.
Notre Dame ran 51 times against Navy – a season high. Also, Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen only threw the ball 18 times against the Midshipmen. As a team, the Irish were 15-of-19 with 110 yards and two picks – record lows for Weis’ time at the University for attempts and completions.
Shoring up the defense
Navy ran for only 178 yards Saturday, its lowest total in the series since 2001, when it managed 177 yards. Coming into this game, the Midshipmen were averaging 308 yards per game on the ground.
Saturday also marked the first time all season Navy did not score on its opening drive.