DeShone Kizer named starting quarterback for Notre Dame

ByMatt Fortuna ESPN logo
Thursday, September 8, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's extended quarterback battle came to an end on Wednesday, as the No. 18 Fighting Irish named DeShone Kizer their starter, following his six-touchdown performance in part-time duty during the opener.

"I had a conversation with Coach [Brian] Kelly today, and he decided that this week I was going to get the first snap for sure, and he kind of congratulated me on fighting through the process and encouraged me to maintain the same mindset and just ensured me that I would be the guy on Saturday," Kizer said Wednesday.

Asked if the job is fully his, Kizer said: "As of now, I'm expecting to be the only guy. The conversation was just more to let me know I'll be the guy.

"We'll see how the game goes. Obviously,Malik [Zaire]is an amazing athlete, and there's going to come a time where you're definitelygoing to see him on the field, I believe. That hasn't really been talked about too much. All I know is that [Kelly] told me to prepare to be the starter on Saturday, and that's what I plan to do."

Kizer completed 15 of 24 passes in Sunday's season-opening double-overtime loss at Texas, throwing for 215 yards and five touchdowns with no turnovers. Kizer added 77 yards and one more touchdown on 13 carries.

Kizer started the opener and led Notre Dame on a touchdown drive at the outset of the game, but Zaire came in on the second series. The two rotated throughout much of the first half, with Zaire starting the third quarter, before Kizer played the rest of the game. Zaire completed 2 of 5 passes for 23 yards during Sunday's contest.

Kelly had said during camp that both quarterbacks would play in the opener.

A redshirt sophomore, Kizer burst onto the national scene last year, replacing an injured Zaire in Week 2, after Zaire suffered a broken right ankle. Kizer went 8-3 as a starter in 2015, completing 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He added 520 rushing yards last season and 10 rushing touchdowns.

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