While the Fighting Irish took down Navy to become bowl eligible for the first time in two years, they lost a key component of the offense that got them there.
Three plays into the 27-21 victory over the Midshipmen, Michael Floyd went down with a sprained knee that will keep him from playing in the final two games of the season.
This shouldn't affect Notre Dame versus the lowly Syracuse Orangemen this upcoming Saturday; however, it does seriously affect the Irish's chances of making a competitive game of the Thanksgiving weekend showdown with USC.
Without Floyd, the Trojans will be able to bracket Golden Tate without much worry about the wide receiver on the other side of the field, whether it is David Grimes, Duval Kamara, or someone else.
Quarterback Jimmy Clausen has only developed a real chemistry with his two main wideout weapons, Floyd and Tate.
Although Kamara has shown faint glimmers of the wide receiver that was Clausen's "go-to" in his freshman season, he has yet to become the threat the Notre Dame faithful were hoping he'd become.
Unless one or perhaps two other wideouts step up in the next two weeks, expect USC to commit seven or eight defenders to the box. That would effectively crush any hopes the Irish have of getting a running attack going. USC should then double-team Tate on most plays, leaving Clausen to throw to his less-than-reliable third and fourth receivers.
Floyd should be able to return for whichever bowl game the Irish are invited to, so expect to see a much better effort from the Irish when they try to stop their eight-game bowl losing streak sometime in December or January.