Mark down Jimmy Clausen as a big game talent. Mark down Charlie Weis as a coach still with a job – barely after eking out a win against an unfancied Purdue side by 24-21.
The Notre Dame quarterback proved he could win in the white heat of battle when he led Notre Dame back for a last-gap win over Purdue. The Notre Dame coach proved he has a defense that gives up too many big plays when the pressure is on and an offense that will sputter without Michael Floyd and a fully fit Jimmy Clausen. He was fortunate it was the 1-3 Purdue and not USC his team was facing on this night
Notre Dame won yet another game practically on the buzzer beating the Boilermakers 24-21 thanks to an incredible display of grit and courage by Clausen.
Clausen had been sidelined with turf toe for most of the second half but came back on to lead the team in a desperate last drive which saw him throw to tight end Rudolph in the end zone with just 24 seconds remaining.
It was the kind of gritty defiant show by Clausen that disproves the theory that he doesn't have it in the clutch. Clausen proved his critics wrong on this night.
As for Weis he still has too much to prove. The team is 3-1 but the three victories were against Nevada, Michigan State and Purdue all unranked and all well off the pace when it comes to the top college teams.
Weis just needs to thank his lucky stars he has Clausen holding his team together. Clausen's turf toe will be the most scrutinized digit in history over the next few weeks, especially by his coach.