#21 Notre Dame v. Purdue
Ross-Ade Stadium – West Lafayette, IN- 8:00 PM EST on ESPN
First things – Check out my weekly list of Five Things To Watch in the Saturday's game. I'm going to be brief here today. Brian Kelly is a politician and Notre Dame is in need of some campaigning in the eyes of the media … and probably the fans. During 2012's run the mantra continued to be "survive and advance" over and over but don't forget that the Irish hung serious points a few times for good measure. ND outscored Navy, Miami, and Wake Forest by a combined 129-13 margin. This Notre Dame-Purdue meeting reeks of a scheduled blowout provided by a pissed off team against an opponent spinning its wheels under a new coach. As I mentioned in the Five Things article – Notre Dame got away from the ground game against Michigan partly due to the scoreboard, but consecutive rushing failures on 3rd & 3 ended the first and second drive of the game seemed to impact play calls down the stretch. I look for the Irish to easily cover the 20 point spread and surpass 300 yards rushing against a listless Boilermaker bunch.
Don't miss a my review from Sunday with The Huffington Post's Jordan Schultz and former Notre Dame Quarterback Matt Mulvey:
A struggling team hosts Notre Dame at the tip of a brutal six game stretch that includes the Irish, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Ohio State. Their quarterback just lost his favorite target and the defense just lost its starting safety. The Boilermakers thus far have tallied a mere 27 points in two games. They appear on paper ill equipped to handle Notre Dame on either side of the ball. Unfortunately that is usually the general consensus about these two teams and Purdue has a habit of making it too interesting. They almost altered Notre Dame's destiny last fall in South Bend and there has to be a mindset among the team that Purdue can hang with Notre Dame every year. New Head Coach Darrell Hazell has some players like DT Bruce Gaston and RB Akeem Hunt who can do some damage on Saturday night. Their opponents have been successful offensively on the air and the ground. Cincinnati pounded 47 rushing attempts for 221 yards and Indiana State made plays through the air all night totaling 256 yards on 47 pass attempts at a healthy 65% completion rate. Factoring these numbers into a game where they'll see the most diverse offense on the schedule so far and it seems unlikely the Irish won't be able to do whatever they want.
Predicting The Game & What We'll See
Brian Kelly has a knack for trolling the ND fans so if he believes they think he abandoned the run game he'll open Saturday with all passes on the first drive which results in a TD for TJ Jones. What follows will be an extended manhandling of the Purdue front seven while the Irish run for 7-15 yard gains at will up and down the field at a healthy pace. All the backs get time with the first offense during a game that features over ten carries of 10+ yards. The Irish defense shows life while also getting more reps early for 2nd teamers Lo Wood, Isaac Rochelle, Cole Luke, Jarron Jones, and others. With Purdue buried early, their attempts to go through the air result in sacks for Ishaq Williams, Prince Shembo, Jaylon Smith, Sheldon Day, Louis Nix and an all-around harassing of the Purdue quarterback by all. Notre Dame isn't in "cruise control", they're in "damage control" mode while showing no mercy. Notre Dame will appear to have worked out some kinks before hosting Michigan State next week … in which I'll be in attendance.
Notre Dame (-23)
Herring Bone Says Take Notre Dame & The Over
#21 Notre Dame 63, Purdue 7 – FINAL
I'm always welcome to your thoughts & opinions. Comment below or contact me: