SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tony Jones Jr. is in no position to demand the football. It is not his nature, either.
It may finally be time for Notre Dame to make the patient senior its featured running back, even if the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish may be arriving at this point somewhat by default.
With junior Jafar Armstrong out for the next “few weeks” due to a torn abdominal muscle, according to coach Brian Kelly, Jones is slated to start when Notre Dame (1-0) hosts New Mexico (1-0) on Saturday.
Jones’ career high for carries is 17, coming in last year’s 22-17 victory over Vanderbilt, a game that also yielded his career best in rushing yardage of 118. His second-best figures in both categories came in this year’s opener, a 35-17 Labor Day win at Louisville, when he gained 110 yards on 15 carries after Armstrong was sidelined early. Those two games are also Jones’ two best in terms of rushing average, at 6.9 and 7.3.