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By JOHN FINERAN
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Suddenly, Notre Dame's "33Trucking.com" is in need of repairs.
The "33 Trucking" campaign was intended to tout a Heisman Trophy candidacy for Fighting Irish running back Josh Adams and postseason honors for standout offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, among others? The campaign has been muted now that ninth-ranked Notre Dame (8-2) is coming off a 41-8 loss at Miami.
Coach Brian Kelly, whose team plays its final home game this Saturday against Navy (6-3), doesn't want to be reminded of the humbling loss. Asked Tuesday why Notre Dame punted on its first possession against the Hurricanes, Kelly was quick to reply, "I'd have to watch the film again, and I'm not interested in watching it again."
Kelly is more interested in getting Adams and fellow running back Dexter Williams healthy again for Notre Dame's 91st consecutive meeting with the Midshipmen, who beat the Irish last season 28-27.
Having the two backs healthy should help an offense that saw its five-game streak of 318 or more rushing yards end as the Hurricanes limited the Irish to 109 on the ground. They also forced four turnovers, three by quarterback Brandon Wimbush.
The junior lost a fumble and had two passes intercepted by the Hurricanes, who also intercepted backup Ian Book and turned the four miscues into 24 points. Kelly said he thinks Wimbush, who finished 10 of 21 passing for 119 yards and one TD, will mentally respond.
"Well, he's a competitor and a competitor wants to be at his best when his best is needed, and he wasn't (against Miami)," Kelly said. "So he wants to rededicate himself this week to his preparation, and he wants to go out there and be the best version of Brandon Wimbush."
The injury report on Adams and Williams was encouraging.
"Josh shows no ill effects from an ankle, a head or neck," Kelly said of the injuries that have limited Adams, who had 1,169 rushing yards prior to the games with Wake Forest (22 yards on five carries) and Miami (40 on 16). "Dexter had the quad contusion, which was limiting, and it was the best he's felt."
In limited action against Wake Forest and Miami, Williams had 56 yards on six carries. Kelly doesn't think the rushing attack needs a major overhaul.
"It's just a matter of executing better in all fronts," Kelly said. "We've just got to be better in our execution. That's all 11 players. It's not just one guy here or there. It's just the execution of our entire offense."
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Updated November 14, 2017