On the mend, C.J. Prosise balances Notre Dame's ground game


Notre Dame redshirt junior running back C.J. Prosise participated in a non-contact capacity during practice Tuesday and Wednesday as the Irish remain confident their 1,000-yard rusher will be able to face Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1.

Prosise, who suffered a high ankle sprain against Boston College Nov. 21, is on track to begin taking contact in practice when the team re-convenes after Christmas in Arizona.

“(Head trainer Rob Hunt) feels really good that he should be ready to play,” coach Brian Kelly said. “I think we gotta push him through a threshold of being confident with cutting and things of that nature, because he’s had enough time to be where we need him to be. I think we just gotta get him over that hump of feeling like, structurally, I could do something here. I think by the time we get into next week we should have a real good feel of where he is.”

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Prosise exploded for 1,029 yards with 11 touchdowns despite being banged up for much of the month of November. Prior to his ankle injury, Prosise left Notre Dame’s Nov. 7 win over Pitt in the first half with a concussion, which also sidelined him for the Wake Forest game a week later.

Among FBS players with over 100 rushing attempts, Prosise’s average of 6.55 yards per carry ranks 13th. But Notre Dame’s rushing offense didn’t miss much without Prosise, as freshman Josh Adams had an explosive November — and his average of 7.45 yards per carry ranks third among FBS players with over 100 carries.

With Prosise sidelined for all but a handful of quarters against Pitt and Boston College, Adams carries 68 times for 495 yards in the month of November. His best game was an 18-carry, 168-yard showing at Stanford.

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Adams said he’s used the month of bowl practice to perfect his ability to run inside zone, which already was a strength for the Philadelphia-area native. It took Prosise’s two injuries for Adams to be given a consistent opportunity to play, but with Prosise expected back for the Fiesta Bowl, it could be Notre Dame’s first game of the season in which the two running backs will have a closer to even split of carries.

“Both of them complement each other so well,” Kelly said. “Josh has proven himself to be such a hard, physical inside runner and C.J. gives us that home run ability. If we could ever get them tagged up together, it’d be a very lethal 1-2 punch.”

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