WR Kevin Austin Jr., CB TaRiq Bracy unavailable for Notre Dame against Pittsburgh

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The No. 3 Irish (4-0, 3-0 ACC) are without two valuable players on offense and defense in Saturday's game at Pittsburgh (3-3, 2-3).

Notre Dame's football program announced both wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. and cornerback TaRiq Bracy would be unavailable to play.

Pete Sampson of The Athletic reported shortly after the announcement that Austin re-injured his left foot, which required surgery for a broken fifth metatarsal in earlier August, in practice this week and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

A Notre Dame source confirmed with the Tribune that Austin did re-injure his left foot but couldn't provide details on how long he would be sidelined. Austin was spotted at Heinz Field wearing a walking boot before Saturday's game.

Austin, a junior, moved into a shared starting role with graduate student Javon McKinley on this week's depth chart. Austin, who missed the entire 2019 season due to suspension and the first two games of this season with the initial foot injury, caught just one pass for 18 yards against Louisville last week but was expected to take on a larger role in the offense if healthy.

Bracy, also a junior, missed the South Florida game but started the other three games this season. He entered Saturday as the team's third-leading tackler with 18. Bracy was also tied for the team high in pass breakups with three.

Without Bracy, the Irish may turn to freshman cornerback Clarence Lewis to make his second career start. Lewis started in Bracy's absence on Sept. 19 against USF.

Notre Dame will also be without backup offensive lineman Josh Lugg in Saturday's game. Head coach Brian Kelly said Thursday that Lugg would miss the game due to an ankle injury.

When Kelly spoke to reporters at noon Thursday, he said the Irish would have the rest of its depth chart available on Saturday. That changed with Saturday's news on Austin and Bracy.

— Staff writer Eric Hansen contributed reporting to this story.

Wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. runs a drill during Notre Dame’s first and only practice of the spring of 2020. He missed all contact drills during this past spring's 15 practices due to injury.