Some Thoughts: Purdue @ Notre Dame

I’ve been having a hard time finding pictures from the game online. Usually ESPN has a nice gallery of pictures from the game. Today I only found one: you know, your typical Jimmy Clausen picture, basking in pass protection glory, where he is about to throw the ball. I guess we’ll have to put it up.

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Notice the lack of luscious locks. I’m torn. But I have to admit, that buzz cut gets the job done.

And Clausen certainly got the job done this week against a challenging defense, going 20/35 for 275 yards and throwing 3 TDs. That’s over that crucial 50% mark we talked about in the preview, especially f the running game proved to be ineffective. Clausen’s success is also the offensive line’s success, surrendering only 1 sack, and giving Clausen plenty of time to throw.

As opposed to the Michigan State game, the o-line provided an effective and dominant running attack this week! Could the Purdue game be considered Armando Allen’s coming out party? The boys pounded 201 yards on the ground… the most since who knows when… and 134 of those belonging to Allen on 17 attempts- a punishing average of almost 8 a carry. We’ll need continued success on the ground to post expected victories against Stanford and the Washington Willinghams.

While after the first quarter the offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense also played a phenomenal game. Countering that Purdue spread, the boys used the nickel defense for most of the afternoon, which came armed with a vast array of confusing blitzes and coverage packages. While the D didn’t register a sack, they had Purdue QB Curtis Painter on the ground most of the game. The pressure certainly affected his overall effectiveness. It was bend but don’t break, as we surrendered 360 passing yards, but the D made the stops when they had to be made.

The return game was good again, as Allen almost broke a few kickoff returns for TDs. Nevertheless, Notre Dame often had excellent starting field position. Maust only had to punt twice, but he averaged 46.5. That’s excellent. One of the punts pinned Purdue inside the 20. Walker was perfect on extra points, but he did miss one close FG. Good thing it didn’t matter. He made one of 41 yards. Keep it goin’ Irish. We’ve matched the win total from last year. We can only continue to go up! Half way to bowl eligibility!

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Game Day: Purdue @ Notre Dame

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After a tough 23-7 loss at Michigan State last week, it is imperative that the Irish come out and flex their muscles on both offense and defense. This week Notre Dame play instate rival Purdue at Notre Dame Stadium.

The jury is still out on Purdue, though they often field a strong, athletic team, and I can guarantee you they get pumped up to play any instate opponent… but especially Notre Dame. This year, the Boilermakers trounced Northern Colorado and then fell in overtime to ranked Oregon, only to follow with an underachieving close game against Central Michican. They have yet to open their Big Ten schedule, but the rest of their games are just that.

The series always has memorable moments. Who can’t forget Kyle Orton’s 98 yard touchdown pass while the receiver “tooted a train whistle” for about 50 of those yards. Then of course, Samardzija’s one handed grab. Then of course, when they finally beat us last year, along with everyone else who hadn’t beat us in a long, long time.

Curtis Painter always poses a potent threat in the passing game, though he has only thrown for 3 TDs this year. Most of the damage has been done on the ground with Kory Sheets averaging over 5 a carry, and 6 TDs in 3 games. Hopefully the run defense improves from last weeks performance as Ringer ran all over the defense for 201 yards.

Then of course, there is our running game. Present for SDSU and Michigan, and obviously lacking in productivity against MSU. Clausen also has to improve, and hopefully complete more than 50% of passes. It should be a close game, but in the end, it’s that home field mystique qhich allows ND to prevail. tune in at 3:30 ET on NBC. ND 27- Purdue 24.

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