Buckeyes WR Smith-Njigba leaves after hard hit

by Ricardo Gutierrez - Ohio State leading receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a potential Heisman Trophy contender, took a hit in the first quarter that popped his helmet off, and he is not expected to return to the game, according to ESPN reporter Holly Rowe.

Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba leaves early vs. Notre Dame after hard hit play Smith-Njigba struggles with injury after first catch (0:19) Jaxon Smith-Njigba takes a big hit on his first catch and doesn't come back in the game until late in the second quarter. (0:19) 10:13 PM ET Heather DinichESPN Senior Writer Close College football reporter Joined ESPN.com in 2007 Graduate of Indiana University COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State leading receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba , a potential Heisman Trophy contender, took a hit in the first quarter that popped his helmet off, and he is not expected to return to the game, according to ESPN reporter Holly Rowe. The hit occurred on the first play of Ohio State's drive with 7:06 remaining in the first quarter, when Smith-Njigba caught a four-yard pass from quarterback C.J. Stroud . Notre Dame's Cam Hart and Brandon Joseph were credited with the tackle, which ended out of bounds as Smith-Njigba's helmet flew off and he landed awkwardly. Smith-Njigba didn't immediately return to the game, but was on the exercise bike on the sideline and ran some sprints as he communicated with the team's athletic trainers. ESPN reporter Holly Rowe said on the broadcast Smith-Njigba was talking about the back of his left knee and his hamstring. Smith-Njigba played sparingly before returning to the injury tent in the second half. When he came out, he had a towel around his shoulders and appeared visibly upset. Smith Njigba led Ohio State with school-record totals of 95 receptions and 1,606 receiving yards last year. He finished Saturday with two catches for three yards.