Gray rebounded from the first-quarter fumble near the goal line in the season-opening loss to South Florida, to become a central figure in ND’s running revival, even as a backup.
His 8.4 yards-per-rush pace (395 yards on 47 carries) is ahead of George Gipp’s 91-year-old ND single-season mark of 8.1. Gray has four touchdowns in his past three games after having zero in the first 25 games of his career.
And he’s helped boost the Irish to 31st nationally in rushing offense, up 61 spots from the end of last season.
"The main thing that touched me with Jerome Bettis was that he said he saw a lot of himself in me," Gray said of his turning point. "And that was huge, Him and Nick Eddy both.
"Their main points were at the beginning of the game, they wore guys down. And by the beginning of the second half, the defense didn’t want it anymore. That’s when you’re able to show your stuff, show your bag of tricks, and just exert your will and let your legs do the rest."
Kelly didn’t exactly come out and say it, but he dropped some hints. With Hendrix’s emergence freshman quarterback Everett Golson would likely be redshirted, putting into play a fifth-year option.
"I think you guys can figure out what the rotation is going to be at this point," Kelly said. "You know what I would like to say, but I'm not going to say it."
The coach was a little more direct, though, about Golson’s possible future with the Irish men’s basketball team.
"It really depends on some of the things that we talked about privately," Kelly said. "Everett and I have made an agreement relative to basketball, and he's got to take care of those things first before we entertain basketball."
Freshman kicker Kyle Brindza ditched his neon lime green shoes for black ones Saturday and came up with three touchbacks — one fewer than he had in ND’s first five games combined.
The three touchbacks also match ND’s total in 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons combined.
Seven different ND players scored touchdowns Saturday, the first time that’s happened in 12 years. The list included the first score of junior receiver Robby Toma’s career.