SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — No. 11 Notre Dame’s big victory over Texas came with a big loss.
Running back Tarean Folston, who led the Irish in rushing last season, is out for the season after tearing a right knee ligament in Saturday night’s 38-3 win over Texas.
Coach Brian Kelly said Folston tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his third carry of the game. The injury to the 5-foot-9, 214-pound junior leaves the Irish without an experienced running back.
Folston ran for 889 yards on 175 carries a year ago, and was expected to take on a heavier load this season.
Greg Bryant, the second-leading rusher from 2014, left school after being ruled academically ineligible. That leaves former wide receiver C.J. Prosise and freshman Josh Adams as the top running backs.
The 6-0, 220-pound Prosise ran for 98 yards on 20 carries against Texas while Adams had five carries for 49 yards, including touchdown runs of 14 and 25 yards.
Prosise has impressed Kelly with his running style after catching the ball. On a second-and-11 in the second quarter against the Longhorns, he took a handoff, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, spun out of a tackle 4 yards later, and carried a Texas tackler 2 more yards before going down.
“My experience told me that if a guy naturally, instinctively wants to run inside, you can teach him the other things,” Kelly said.
Prosise said running inside is a lot different than running as a receiver, although, he said “I just have to get lower with my pads, run lower. It’s just something I have to focus on.”
Kelly said Adams was able to get on the field quickly because he’s picked up quickly on pass protections.
“Any time when a freshman can come in and pick up all the protections early on, it’s been my feeling that he’s ready to play, provided he’s got the skill and also what kind of skill he has,” Kelly said. “He’s just scratching the surface. He’s got elite speed. He’s got great size, got good ball skills and obviously he’s a kid that we believe in.”
Overall, the Irish ran the ball 52 times, their most rushing attempts since 63 rushes against Navy in a triple overtime loss in 2007 — a result that ended an NCAA-record winning streak against the Midshipmen at 43 games.
Kelly said Folston’s injury means the Irish will accelerate the development of Dexter Williams, another freshman who had seven carries for 24 yards late in the game. Kelly added that senior Josh Anderson, a former walk-on awarded a scholarship before the season, could see action.
Kelly said he was disappointed for Folston.
“He’s worked so hard to get where he is. But there’s nothing you can do about it,” Kelly said. “That’s why you try to develop the depth in your program.”
Notes: Defensive back Avery Sebastian, a transfer from California, broke a bone in his foot and will undergo surgery Monday. Kelly said Sebastian is expected to be out four to six weeks.
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