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Kelly: Zaire and Kizer to split time in the season opener

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By Anthony Caruso III
Publisher

There have been questions about who would be the Notre Dame Fighting Irish starting quarterback this season. Head coach Brian Kelly said on Wed. that junior Malik Zaire and soph. DeShone Kizer will split time against Texas during their Sept. 4th opener.

“If I list (the roster’s) top five playmakers, they’re (both) in it,” he said. “So my ultimate decision was I can’t put one of those guys on the sideline against Texas.”

Zaire started the first two games of last season, including the team’s 38-3 win over Texas to begin the season. Then, against Virginia, he suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

Malik Zaire (Getty Images)

Malik Zaire (Getty Images)

Kizer came in for him and threw the game-winning touchdown against the Cavaliers. The then-redshirt freshman was 8-3 as the starter.

Zaire went 26-of-40 for 428 yards and four touchdowns last season. He went 19-of-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns against the Longhorns.

Before his injury, he was seven-of-13 for 115 yards and a touchdown against the Cavaliers.

Kizer went 211-of-335 for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had ten interceptions on the season.

There’s a theory that if you have two quarterbacks, you have none. The Fighting Irish are in the same boat that the Ohio State Buckeyes were in going into last season.

After Braxton Miller moved from quarterback to wide receiver, head coach Urban Meyer had to deal with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones sharing time.

Jones began the season as the starter, before Barrett replaced him late in the season.

The Fighting Irish lost their final two games of last season — and also lost a close game with Clemson in the middle of the season. On Nov. 28th, they lost 38-36 to the Stanford Cardinal.

Then, in the Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl, they had lost 44-28 to the Buckeyes.

“These two guys are just too good,” Kelly said. “I watched them in practice and they’re making plays, and then I watched the guys around them and they’re just not as good. It was counterintuitive for me (to name one as a starter.)

“It’s never easy playing two quarterbacks, it’s much easier playing one. But we’re in the business of winning football games. If it’s a little harder on us, we can make it work if the net result is winning. My job is to win, and my belief is playing both of them gives us the best chance to win.”

Any Corrections?. You can contact Anthony at publisher@thecapitalsportsreport.com.

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