Notre Dame will be without one of their top defensive players this weekend when the Irish travel to take on Air Force. According to multiple reports, defensive lineman Louis Nix III will not travel with the team for this weekend’s game against Air Force.
The senior suffered a shoulder injury in last weekend’s victory over USC in South Bend, Indiana. He did not return to the game for the Irish and has been held out of practice all week by head coach Brian Kelly, but Matt Fortuna, who covers Notre Dame for ESPN.com, reports Nix is being bothered by knee tendonitis.
Taking over for Nix on the starting defensive line will be senior Kona Schwenke, who has been listed directly behind Nix on Notre Dame’s depth chart as recently as this week.
Notre Dame has also lost right guard Christian Lombard for the remainder of the season. Lombard recently underwent surgery to remove a herniated disk and will hope to return to the Irish in 2014 for his final year of eligibility. In the meantime, Notre Dame will move freshman right tackle Steve Elmer to take over the starting job at Lombard’s now vacant right guard position.
Yesterday it was reported quarterback Tommy Rees is confident he will starting for Notre Dame this weekend. Rees had been taken out of the USC game last week with a neck strain, but the senior is optimistic about his availability this weekend.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah