The hits just keep on coming for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Just days after learning quarterback Malik Zaire is done for the year with a season-ending ankle injury, the Irish have reportedly lost another offensive starter for the year. Tight end Durham Smythe reportedly injured his shoulder and his knees in the first two games of the season, against Texas (shoulder) and Virginia (ankle). Smythe is expected to undergo surgery procedures this week, according to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated and his original report.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has not commented on the reported injury, although Kelly is scheduled to meet the media today as per his regular schedule. Smythe, a junior, caught two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown this season.
As noted by Keith Arnold over at Inside the Irish, the tight end position is actually a pretty deep one for Notre Dame. It is just full of raw potential at the moment. Depending on the calls on the field, Alizé Jones, Tyler Luatua and Chase Hounshell and Nic Weisher could all help fill the void.
With Smythe apparently done for the season, that brings Notre Dame’s mash unit up to three offensive starters with Zaire and running back Tarean Folston.
Halloween candy is starting to be sold in the stores, which may be why both Notre Dame and Virginia got in the early trick or treat fun this afternoon. Notre Dame jumped out to a 12-0 lead on its first three possessions of the game, but Virginia is taking a 14-12 lead into the halftime break at home.
Notre Dame took the opening drive of the game all the way down to the Virginia seven-yard line before Virginia’s defense came up with a stop. The Irish, though, would not leave the field without putting some points on the scoreboard. On a trick field goal play, DeShone Kizer tossed a pass to Durham Smythe for a seven-yard score that took the Cavaliers by surprise. Feeling a little hyped to take advantage of the situation, Brian Kelly opted to go for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead, but Notre Dame was unable to punch it in on the conversion attempt.
Virginia would have some fun of its own later in the first half. From around midfield, Virginia put the ball in the hands of two different Virginia players before getting it in the hands of quarterback Matt Johns, who lined up at receiver on the play. Johns then found a wide open Canaan Severin down the middle of the field for a 42-yard touchdown that gave Virginia a 14-12 lead. Johns has thrown two touchdowns and has completed 10 of 11 pass attempts for 139 yards.
Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire has completed five of 13 passes for 38 yards so far against a defense that gave up 351 yards and three touchdowns to Josh Rosen and UCLA in Week 1. Irish running back C.J. Prossise leads all players with 107 rushing yards at the half. Notre Dame has yet to complete a third down conversion (0-for-5).