Notre Dame (3-1) faces the Purdue Boilermakers (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) Saturday at West Lafayette at Ross-Ade Stadium. The game will be broadcast at on ESPN at 8 PM EST.
The Fighting Irish triumphed over the Pittsburgh Panthers 15-12 last week. By a score of 59-0 The
Boilermakers handily routed the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks.
In their meeting last season Purdue fell to the Fighting Irish 23-12 in the season opener. This game also marked Kelly’s first win as an Irish coach.
The interstate rivalry dates back to 1869 when Purdue and Notre Dame first faced one another. The winner of this battle of Indiana is awarded the highly prized Shillelagh Trophy. The Fighting Irish lead this series 54-26-2. The series has been highlighted by many great games. In 1950 Purdue beat the Irish to put an end to the school’s 39 game unbeaten streak. The #1 ranked Boilermakers routed the #2 ranked Fighting Irish 37-22 in another memorable game.
Yet again this week ladies and gentleman is your Notre Dame football preview…
Notre Dame Offense
Tommy Reese turned in a very pedestrian performance against Pittsburgh. He threw for 216 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His day was rather lackluster until the final drive in the fourth quarter that saw Rees go 8/8 and throw the game winning touchdown. Rees leads a team ranked 49th in the nation in overall offense.
Star WR Michael Floyd had a quiet day as well. He only caught four passes for 27 yards. Despite his performance Floyd is ranked eighth in the country with 8.75 catches a game. TE Tyler Eiffert had a career day 75 yards receiving and the game winning touchdown catch. Notre Dame’s passing offense is ranked 38th in the nation.
Cierre Wood is on a tear gaining 96 yards last week. Jonas Gray added 84 yards and his first touchdown this season in the winning effort. Currently the team is 58th in the country in rushing.
The Irish still continue to turn the ball over. The team committed two turnovers against Pittsburgh tying them with Tulsa for the most in the country at 15. Ten of those turnovers were fumbles. Notre Dame must limit its mistakes against Purdue to have a chance to win.
Another dismal area is Notre Dame’s Special Teams. The Fighting Irish punting team are ranked in the bottom ten in three separate categories. They could easily be one of the worst squads in the country.
Notre Dame Defense
Coach Brian Kelly feels very confident about his squad. “So they are progressing. We have got a good influx of veterans with young players that have given us very good depth. To me, the most important thing is to get our defense to championship level. We’re not there yet but we are on the right road.”
The defense has definitely stepped up. It has allowed one touchdown or less in the last seven of eight games dating back to last year.
DE Aaron Lynch was a standout against the Panthers leading the team with six quarterback hurries last week. He also has two sacks in the last two games. The defense as a whole netted 6 sacks last week. That was the highest number for a Notre Dame squad since 2005. Darius Fleming also registered two sacks against the Panthers.
Notre Dame is ranked 25th in stopping the run (2.9 yard a carry) and 82nd in pass defense. The squad looks to improve upon its five turnovers this season.
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The Boilermaker offense will be run through two quarterbacks in Caleb Terbush and Robert Marve. Terbush is the number one quarterback on the depth chart. He completed 14 of 17 passes for 143 yards in the rout of Southeast Mississippi State. a Perdue’s passing attack is ranked 73rd in the nation.
The vaunted rushing attack is ranked tenth in the nation. Junior RB Akeem Shavers ran roughshod over the Redhawks for 75 yards and 2 TDs. Running Backs Ralph Bolden and Akeem Hunt each rushed for over 50 yards and two scores. The corps combined for 400 yards on the ground and 7 rushing touchdowns last week.
Senior WR Justin Siller is the go to receiver for the Bollermakers catching 14 balls for 138 yards on the season. Antavian Edison is another target as well for Terbush and Marve recording a touchdown and 137 receiving yards.
The defense is ranked respectfully 45th against the run and 93rd against the pass. CB Ricardo Allen is assigned this week to stop Michael Floyd.