Notre Dame loses offensive guard Alex Bars for rest of season

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — An old narrative for the Notre Dame football team reared its ugly head Saturday night.

The Irish lost another regular for the season.

Saturday night, it was sophomore left guard Alex Bars, who was making his second collegiate start in a 41-31 Irish victory over USC at Notre Dame Stadium. ND head coach Brian Kelly confirmed Sunday that Bars suffered broken left ankle during the game and was set for Sunday surgery.

“Very similar to Malik Zaire’s,” Kelly said of the injury referring to ND’s former starting quarterback, lost for the season against Virginia on Sept. 12.

Fellow sophomore Quenton Nelson, ND’s starter at left guard for the first five games of the season, came in for Bars Saturday night and finished the game, but it wasn’t easy.

Nelson was still recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered at Clemson on Oct. 3.

“Toughness. Just toughness,” Kelly said of how Nelson was able to push through the pain. “He struggled during the week. He's still not 100 percent, but he went in there and didn't miss a beat.

“That's the expectation here. You're going to have to play banged up. We're never going to put you in there if it's a compromising situation. He was not 100 percent, but he knew his team needed him and he went in there and he came up big for us.”

Bars becomes the seventh Irish regular to be lost for the season since August. That list includes Zaire, running back Tarean Folston (knee), safety Drue Tranquill (knee), nose guard Jarron Jones (knee), defensive back Shaun Crawford (knee) and tight end Durham Smythe (knee).

Bars will not be able to take a medical redshirt year. The injury occurred too late in the season and he had played in too many games to be eligible for it. Also, he has redshirted last season as a freshman.

Notre Dame offensive guard Alex Bars (71) is helped off the field Saturday night after suffering a season-ending ankle injury during ND's 41-31 victory over USC. (SBT Photo/GREG SWIERCZ)