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Jafar Armstrong sidelined with groin injury

| Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Notre Dame roster took another hit this week.

Junior running back Jafar Armstrong is expected to miss considerable amounts of the season following a groin injury he sustained on Monday against Louisville, according to Pete Sampson of the Athletic.

After fair-catching the kickoff, Armstrong returned to action against the Cardinals (0-1) following the opening snap of the game, rushing five yards and earning a first down for the Irish (1-0). On the very next snap, he cut across the middle to catch a pass from senior quarterback Ian Book and continued on for a total of 16 yards before being brought out of bounds in the red zone. Upon getting up, however, he seemed uncomfortable and in pain. He remained in the game for one more snap, getting the Irish to the 3-yard line before sophomore running back sophomore Jahmir Smith subbed in.

Armstrong would not return to the field for the remainder of the game.

Sampson tweeted the understanding within the football program is that Armstrong could “miss up to two months, with a five-week layoff the optimistic timeline.”

Armstrong has distinguished himself as the leader of the running back corps featuring himself, senior Tony Jones Jr. and Smith. Jones Jr. described the trio as a “1-2-3 punch“ following Monday’s 35-17 win.

After redshirting his freshman season, Armstrong made his mark on Irish football this past year. When former running back Dexter Williams was suspended for four games due to a violation of team rules, Armstrong got the start against Michigan and Ball State, rushing for 35 and 66 yards, respectively, as well as three combined touchdowns.

He continued to be a presence for the offense before being sidelined ahead of Stanford’s visit to South Bend due to a severe knee infection. After having surgery on the site of the infection and nearly missing the entire month of October, Armstrong returned against Navy until the end of the season, but fell down the depth chart from the time he lost.

He’s proven himself as a dual threat to the opposing team’s defense. In addition to 383 rushing yards, Armstrong recorded 159 receiving yards last season, making him the sixth-highest receiver on the team and the highest among running backs.

The loss of Armstrong means the Irish will have to rely more heavily on Jones Jr. and Smith, as well as freshman back Kyren Williams, throughout the first half of the season. Both Jones Jr. and Smith showed promise against Louisville as Smith rushed for two touchdowns on eight attempts and Jones Jr. recorded a touchdown of his own to go along with his team-leading 110 yards.

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