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BREAKING: Irish RB Atkinson III Out Vs. Oklahoma

A big ND playmaker goes down.

In a game where the Irish need all the offensive firepower they can get to compete with the Sooners, Notre Dame will have to make do without one its top playmakers.

ESPN's Matt Fortuna reports that ND RB George Atkinson III will not play against No. 8 Oklahoma due to flu-like symptoms. In fact, Atkinson did not even make the trip to Norman with the rest of the team, electing not to travel in order to regain his health.

The Irish will certainly miss the homerun threat that Atkinson delivers to every game; he leads the team with 8.1 yards per rush and has four touchdowns on the year, including scores of 55 and 56 yards. In addition, the loss of Atkinson strips the Irish of their No. 1 kick returner, who has two punt return touchdowns on his career.

Without the No. 3 RB, expect the Irish to turn to RB's Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick to pick up the slack. ND may even turn to its No. 4 option, RB Cam McDaniel, to help fill void. In the return game, expect head coach Brian Kelly to rotate in different players in Atkinson's place.