The struggling Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense was dealt a huge blow in the first half of their game against the Arizona State Sun Devils, seeing Junior linebacker Jarrett Grace go down with a leg injury that required him to be carted off the field.
The injury occurred while the Sun Devils were inside the Irish 10 yard line and threatening to score. As showed by needing the cart and a cast, the injury seems to be more on the serious side.
On a running play by Marion Grice, Grace was moving towards the ball when an Arizona State lineman attempted to cut block Grace. When Grace tried to elude the block, it forced the lineman to fall on the linebacker’s ankle.
The Irish defense would hold on to only allow a field goal.
If the injury is as serious as it appeared to be, that would still leave Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox on the inside, but outside of those two, there isn’t much depth behind him. With the emergence of Ishaq Williams and the presence of Jaylon Smith, the Irish could move Prince Shembo to the inside, a position he has played before.
No matter who steps up and plays, it will not replace what Grace has been able to do for the Irish in their run defense, and will now have one less middle linebacker against a team where depth is a must.
I wish best of luck to Grace, and I hope he gets on the field as quickly as possible.
Update: Grace was diagnosed with a broken Tibia, likely putting out for the remainder of the season