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Notre Dame loses veteran LB, captain Bo Bauer for season to knee injury

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Bo Bauer will not set the Notre Dame record for games played. The fifth-year linebacker suffered a season-ending knee surgery this week, Irish head coach Marcus Freeman announced Thursday.

Bauer returned to South Bend this season only because the universal pandemic eligibility waiver granted him an additional season. He finishes his career having played in 56 games, five behind Kurt Hinish’s record.

The second captain to be lost for the season after sixth-year receiver Avery Davis tore his ACL in August, Bauer finishes his career with 120 tackles including 11 for loss with 2.5 sacks.

“Devastating, just because he’s a captain, provides so much more than just production,” Freeman said. “The energy, the ability to motivate our players, and it’s going to be a tremendous loss for us.”

Long a special-teams extraordinaire, Bauer has continued to produce there this season, starting only two games in his career.

“You hurt for a guy like Bo who gives so much to this place,” Freeman said. “He’s an emotional leader, he’s a captain, he’s unselfish.”

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Bauer most memorably nearly scored against USC last season, somewhat prevented from doing so because Notre Dame’s pass rush was too good. When end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa hit Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis as he threw, he knocked Slovis into tackle Jayson Ademilola, keeping the passer upright.

That was how Slovis could track down Bauer at the four-yard line after a 79-yard return.

Bauer had seen less playing time this season as senior Jack Kiser’s role increased and senior Marist Liufau found further health and comfort after missing last season with a dislocated ankle, not to mention senior JD Bertrand remains as durable as Bauer had been until now.

Sophomore Prince Kollie made a sack last week against BYU, and he is likely to see more and more time now, and perhaps freshman Junior Tuihalamaka will, as well, in Bauer’s place.

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Freeman was optimistic about both senior defensive tackle Howard Cross (high-ankle sprain) and fifth-year cornerback TaRiq Bracy (pulled hamstring) playing against Stanford on Saturday (7:30 ET; NBC).

Freeman “expects” Cross to play after he practiced all of Wednesday, and feels “confident TaRiq is going to be able to give us something.”

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