Sam Hartman opens up on the difficulty of seeing Riley Leonard go down with injury

On3 imageby:Nick Kosko10/01/23

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"Against all odds!" — Notre Dame comes from behind, beats Duke 21-14 | POSTGAME REACTION

Sam Hartman was the winning quarterback Saturday night but made sure to check on Duke’s Riley Leonard postgame.

Leonard was hurt on the final play from scrimmage in the 21-14 loss to Notre Dame. The Blue Devils signal caller was seen on crutches and not bearing any weight on his right leg after being examined.

Hartman tipped his cap to Duke for a tough game but made sure to mention he was thinking about Leonard and his health.

“We battled,” Hartman said. “And that’s like everybody’s gonna be all you know it’s Duke, but I mean, that D-line is of one of the best in the country … Those guys, they better be in that locker room with their heads up high because I mean, that was as tough as I played and even up front we were talking about it as we were walking off the field like that. That’s a really good football team. They’re gonna go make a run in the ACC like they already are. 

“You know, I’m really just thinking about Riley. I know, that kid’s a hell of a player and obviously I don’t know what he’s going through. But I’ve been there and I’m just thinking about him and hope he’s alright.”

Leonard finished the game 12-of-27 passing for 134 yards, one touchdown, one interception and 18 carries for 88 yards. Hartman, meanwhile, finished 15-of-30 passing for 222 yards.

“I’m just thinking about  him man,” Hartman said. “There’s nothing I can say it’s gonna change the way he feels you know, that’s it’s gonna be a long week and hopefully, you know, anything that he had happened to him injury wise is minor. 

“I don’t know what he’s feeling but I’ve been there and it’s a dark place you can go to and he played a hell of a game. He’s a player. He’s got to keep going.”

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson reported that Leonard turned down a cart to ride to the locker room. If anything, Leonard is one tough dude.

Hartman and Notre Dame improved to 5-1 on the season while Leonard and Duke fell to 4-1. The extent of Leonard’s injury remains to be seen, but it’s always a worrisome look if your quarterback has to end the night on crutches.

Through five games, Leonard has 912 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, a 62.7% completion percentage, 326 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.