Notre Dame totally dominated Purdue in all four quarters of last night’s game, but they didn’t come unscratched on the injury front losing both Ethan Johnson and Jordan Cowart during the game.
Johnson suffered an ankle injury early on in the first quarter and never returned to the game. Later in the game, EJ could be seen on the sidelines in street clothes with a walking boot on protecting his sprained ankle.
The timetable for Johnson’s remains in question. The defensive end will remain in a walking boot early in the beginning of the week and Brian Kelly said this morning that he could be ready for Saturday’s game. Sprained ankles can be tricky injuries. One week it can be fine or it can linger the entire season.
Johnson’s injury couldn’t come at at a worst time for the Irish with Air Force coming into Notre Dame Stadium next week. With their option attack, you need to have disciplined defensive ends and if EJ does miss the game, that means the Irish will have to turn to youngsters Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt.
Lynch quietly played well last night. He did his normal thing pressuring the opposing QB on a regular basis, but he also was solid against the run. Tuitt didn’t travel with the team due to missing class, but he is expected to be back for this week’s game.
Kona Schwenke could also see playing time against the Falcons if Johnson sits out. Because of low numbers on the depth chart with Tuitt not playing and Johnson out, Schwenke was forced to play last night, losing his redshirt. Hopefully getting rid of his redshirt won’t effect his development going forward.
Cowart was the other injured player from last night. The Irish longsnapper broke his hand while being involved in a scuffle with a Purdue player. The injury took place when Cowart punched the Boilermaker in the helmet. Not exactly the brightest move on his part.
He will try to practice snapping the ball in the practice throughout the week to see if he is able to go Saturday. The Irish really don’t have a true backup long snapper on the roster, but a name I have read who could get snaps there is Bruce Heggie.
Heggie was a recruit that came out of nowhere in Kelly’s first recruiting class in South Bend. Notre Dame was the only school in the entire country that gave the big man a scholarship. Even though he has not experience at the spot, he has to better than Cowart has been so far this season.