The bad news was delivered quickly on Sunday when Notre Dame learned running back Tarean Folston would be lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL in Saturday's 38-3 season-opening victory over Texas.
Folston was seen as the Irish backfield workhorse this season after rushing for 889 yards and averaging 5.1 yards per carry in 2014. Instead, he'll now he'll face surgery and rehab.
"That's football," said a philosophical Irish coach Brian Kelly this week. "We're certainly disappointed for Tarean. He's worked so hard to get where he is. But that's the nature -- there's nothing you can do about it."
Senior C.J. Prosise will likely inherit the top backfield spot and the Irish also have capable backups to compensate for the loss of Folston.
"That's why you try to develop the depth in your program," Kelly said. "So we feel good about C.J. and Josh (Adams) and Dexter (Williams), and we're not complaining. We just move on and those are the three guys we'll get ready and we believe they'll do the job just fine for us."
The Irish turned in a dominant performance in last Saturday's victory over the Longhorns at Notre Dame Stadium.
Quarterback Malik Zaire threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, going 19-of-22 passing, an 86.6 percent completion rate that was second-best in school history.
Notre Dame led 17-0 by halftime, allowed a Texas field goal in the third quarter and then scored 21 unanswered points the rest of the way.
The Irish defense held the Longhorns to 60 yards rushing and 163 total offensive yards. Notre Dame had the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
Notre Dame now moves into a Week Two clash at Virginia, the first of six games this season with ACC opponents.
The Irish are entering their second year as ACC members in all sports but football but agreed to play a significant number of conference teams in that sport while maintaining independent status.
Virginia (0-1) fell 34-16 at No. 13 UCLA on Saturday. Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns threw for 238 yards and has now eclipsed the 200-yard plateau in three of his four career starts.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
--QB Malik Zaire set numerous career highs against Texas in his second career start and first at home, going 19-for-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns. His .864 completion percentage was second-highest in school history for a single game and it was the fifth time an Irish quarterback had a 300-yard-plus game in the season opener.
--RB Josh Adams, a freshman, scored on a 14-yard touchdown run on his first career carry last week against Texas. He also had a second TD in the third quarter, becoming the first Irish freshman with two touchdowns since Darius Walker had a pair against Pitt on Nov. 13, 2004.
--RB C.J. Prosise will likely pick up a bigger load after the season-ending injury to Tarean Folston. Prosise rushed 20 times for 111 yards Saturday.
--WR Will Fuller now has 18 touchdown career touchdown receptions after hauling in two more against Texas. He's tied for eighth place in school history. He caught seven passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns against the Longhorns.
--OLB Jaylon Smith and his defensive teammates spent less than 21 minutes of the game on the field. He still got the season off to a solid start with a team-high seven tackles, including six solo.
--K Justin Yoon became the first Notre Dame freshman to kick a field goal since Nick Tausch did so twice against Washington on Oct. 31, 2009.
SERIES HISTORY: Notre Dame leads Virginia, 1-0. The only other meeting was a 28-20 neutral site victory by the Irish in 1989.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Malik Zaire) clearly has the ability to throw the football as much as we would need him to throw it and throw it accurately, which he did tonight. Vertically, down the field, I thought he pushed the ball down the field accurately. He threw precision routes on dig routes. So we knew what he was capable of. I think he put it together tonight and he's got room to grow." -- Irish coach Brian Kelly on quarterback Malik Zaire's performance against Texas.