Notre Dame Fighting Irish sophomore running back George Atkinson III did not travel with the team to Norman, Okla., and will not play against the Sooners on Saturday, according to a report from ESPN.com.
Atkinson will miss the game with flu-like symptoms, leaving Notre Dame without one of its most explosive offensive threats. Atkinson III is the Fighting Irish's third-leading rusher this season with 301 yards, but is averaging a team high 8.1 yards per attempt. He also leads Notre Dame with four rushing touchdowns. Without Atkinson, the Fighting Irish will likely rely on Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. Both are coming off big games against BYU as Riddick rushed for 143 yards while Wood carried 18 times for 114 yards.
In addition to his role on offense, Atkinson III is also the main kick returner, averaging 19.4 yards per return. He has proven to be an explosive returner in the past, including two kickoff return touchdowns last season.
The No. 5 Fighting Irish face the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.