Notre Dame's QB Problem (09/13/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
What does quarterback Malik Zaire being out mean to Notre Dame's season?



Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire fractured his right ankle late in the third quarter in Saturday's 34-27 win over Virginia. The Heisman hopeful will miss the rest of the season.

The Irish will hand the ball over to redshirt freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer. The untested signal caller showed a flare for the dramatic rallying Notre Dame to the win over the Cavaliers with a 39-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds.

The last second heroics were inspiring but the Irish still have little experience under center. With Zaire sidelined, what does the rest of Notre Dame's season look like?

Here is what we said about the Irish coming into the season:

“Notre Dame is a bit of wild card since the Irish are loaded with depth, experience and talent on both sides of the ball and, while playing a very good schedule, do not have quite as many obstacles to an undefeated or one loss regular season record as they usually do.”

That depth will be tested. In addition to losing their starting quarterback, the Golden Domers will be without the services of starting running back Tarean Folston (ACL tear) for the season.

Coming into the season the Irish had an average projected record of 9.4-2.6 – the tenth best record among Power Five teams. Without Zaire, Notre Dame's projected to go 9.1-2.9. Zaire is worth 0.55 wins on average (0.30 wins from the difference in projected record plus 0.25 wins - his impact on Notre Dame's first two games). The Irish fall from No. 8 in our Power Rankings to 17th without their starting quarterback.

The Fighting Irish's path to the College Football Playoff just got harder.

Stats With Zaire Without Zaire
Record 9.4-2.6 9.1-2.9
Power Ranking 8th 17th