A report from Irish Sports Daily’s Matt Freeman indicates Notre Dame senior cornerback Shaun Crawford was lost for the season this week in practice with an ACL tear. This will be Crawford’s third season-ending injury in his four years with the Irish, following an ACL tear as a freshman and an Achilles tear in 2016.
Crawford excelled with the momentum-shifting play last season, finally healthy even if not completely back to full fitness. He finished with 32 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, with two interceptions and two fumbles recovered, including one he also forced. That play literally stopped Michigan State from a pivotal touchdown, punching the ball loose inches before the goal line and jumping on it before it rolled out the back of the end zone.
Aside from the tackles as a whole, every one of those above stats occurred in the season’s first two months. An easy argument could be made the full schedule caught up to Crawford, something he had never played through before.
Back to full fitness this fall, there was hope he could continue such play through 12 games as the starting nickel back. Without Crawford, Notre Dame may turn to senior Nick Coleman, also in the mix as a starting safety, or junior cornerback Donte Vaughn. Otherwise, it is presumably a freshman such as TaRiq Bracy or Noah Boykin who would fill the role.
No. 12 Notre Dame hosts No. 14 Michigan on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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