Kelly impressed with Tony Jones Jr. halfway through the season

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - Heading into this season, there was a question as to who would be the Irish top running back. After Jafar Armstrong went down with an injury in the first week against Louisville, it's been Tony Jones Jr. who has stepped up to the plate

“Look, sometimes you come in and you picture yourself to be doing a number of different things, and we've asked him to focus on X, Y and Z, and he's focused on those things and is excelling at them,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “He's eliminated a lot of noise by focusing on things he knows he can really master, and he's done a great job with that.”

Jones has solidified his role as the No. 1 running back with four 100-plus-rushing-yard games this season.

Most recently, he exploded with a career-high 176 rushing yards on 25 carries against USC.

He’s also found the end zone four times.

Kelly says as a coach, he wants to see a player play their best during their senior year and is impressed with Jones's performance.

“There is a number of reasons,” Kelly said. “I could talk about his maturity individually. You know, I think he's grown a lot. I think one of the biggest things is accepting the role of the position in which we're asking him.”

Kelly says even with the tough Michigan defense, the Irish need to be persistent to find times to run the ball.

Notre Dame takes on Michigan at the Big House Saturday night at 7:30.