Notre Dame Football: How will absence of Justyn Ross affect matchup with Clemson

Notre Dame football is scheduled to host the Clemson Tigers on November 7th this year. When the Tigers take the field in Notre Dame Stadium, they will be without star wide receiver Justyn Ross, who will sit out the 2020 season.

One of the most talented players the Notre Dame football team would have faced this year will be sidelined with an injury for the duration of the season. It was announced this week that Clemson’s Justyn Ross will miss the entirety of the 2020 college football season. For the Tigers, that includes a trip to South Bend in November.

After suffering an injury earlier this Spring, Ross had x-rays taken that revealed a much more concerning issue: congenital fusion in his spine.

The junior wide receiver will undergo surgery this week to hopefully repair the issue and salvage his football playing career. It is heartbreaking news for an extremely talented player with a bright future.

Head coach Dabo Swinney broke the news in his press conference on Monday.

With Tee Higgins headed to the NFL, Ross was likely going to be the Tiger’s top receiver in 2020. In his last two seasons at Clemson, he totaled 1,441 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

Notre Dame fans have some not-so-fond memories of Ross. In the 2018 Cotton Bowl, a semifinal of the College Football Playoff, Ross finished the game with 148 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Clemson would go on to win that game by a score of 30-3.

While losing Ross is a huge blow to the Tiger’s offense, they will have no shortage of talent on that side of the ball. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, Clemson will probably be the best offense that the Notre Dame defense will face in 2020.

The Tigers had the fourth-highest yards per play average in college football last season at 7.38 yards. In comparison, Clark Lea and the Irish defense held their opponents to the eighth-fewest yards per play in 2019.

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Notre Dame will have to replace the production of six defensive starters that all left for the NFL. Fortunately, their previous depth on the defensive line and the addition of two defensive backs via the transfer portal should help them do so.

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