After a strong 4-0 start, Notre Dame football seems poised for a deep 2020 run. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked as the No. 3 team in the country.
Unfortunately, fans of the powerhouse received a piece of bad news ahead of the team’s fifth game of the season.
Three players, including key wide receiver Kevin Austin, are unavailable for Saturday’s contest. Austin joins defensive back TaRiq Bracy and offensive lineman Josh Lugg on the Notre Dame game day injury report.
The news of the unavailability comes just hours before Notre Dame’s afternoon game against Pittsburgh. The Fighting Irish are set to take on the Panthers at 3:30 p.m.
October 24 – Gameday Update pic.twitter.com/KcJYSwt4g5
— Notre Dame Football PR Team (@NDFootballPR) October 24, 2020
The news for Austin just gets worse. According to Pete Sampson of The Athletic, the junior wide receiver will miss the rest of the 2020 season after injuring his foot in practice.
A source tells The Athletic that Kevin Austin re-injured his foot in practice this week and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
A major blow to Notre Dame’s attempt to make progress in the passing game.
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) October 24, 2020
Austin injured his left foot over the summer on Wednesday, July 29. The junior wide receiver underwent surgery in early August and played in last week’s game against Louisville. He caught just one pass for 18 yards.
Last week’s game marked a milestone for Austin, as he returned to the field after missing all of the 2019 season due to a disciplinary issue.
The loss of Austin spells trouble for the Notre Dame passing attack. Quarterback Ian Book has thrown for just 710 yards this year and, without Austin, will be down an option.
But Austin isn’t the only key absence for the Irish. Bracy, a starting cornerback, will also miss the game against Pitt. Off to an electric start in 2020, the loss of the junior defensive back hurts a strong Notre Dame secondary.
Head coach Brian Kelly previously mentioned that Lugg would miss the game with an ankle injury.
Without two starters and a key backup, Notre Dame will be in for a battle against Pitt this afternoon.