It's Purdue next for the Irish, but how fit will Jimmy Clausen be for the game?
The quarterback sat out practice on Tuesday after suffering a turf toe injury, but Charlie Weis was quick to play down the seriousness of the knock.
"The MRI came back negative other than the turf toe, so rumors of him having a broken toe and being out for the year are incorrect, but he does have a turf toe," said Weis Tuesday.
Clausen is getting a special footwear insert to help alleviate the pain and may see some practice on Wednesday, attempt a full practice on Thursday and see how the injury holds up before Weis makes a decision about the weekend. Backup QB Dayne Crist worked with the team Tuesday.
Though the prognosis could have been a lot worse, turf toe can be an extremely painful injury and can seriously affect the mobility of a player. For a team that concedes nearly as much as they score, having a hobbling quarterback in not the ideal situation going into a crucial game Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Purdue Boilermaker football team has had problems of its own this year. They were precise in their opener against Toledo - a game in which they tallied 52 points - but were exposed in their latest losses to Oregon and Northern Illinois. It’s a wild guess which team will show up against Notre Dame (8 p.m. ESPN) on Saturday night.
Offense: The Boilermaker’s offense is more than capable of competing in a shootout with the Fighting Irish. Senior quarterback Joey Elliot has a live arm, and he’s not afraid to sneak out and run a bit. He actually outrushed his running back last weekend (68 yards, while Ralph Bolden had 66). Don’t let that stat fool you though, because Bolden is one of the best rushers in the Big Ten. He torched Toledo for 234 yards and backed that up 175 total yards in the loss to Oregon.
Aaron Valentin and Keith Smith are their leading receivers. Both guys are 6’2" and are talented enough to give Notre Dame’s secondary fits. The offensive line deserves a lot of credit for the success of both the pass and the run. They’ve only given up two sacks and the Boilermakers are rushing for over 210 yards a game.
Defense: 31, 36 and 28. No, those weren’t last night’s Powerball numbers. They’re the amount of points the Purdue defense has been lit up for. And that’s not necessarily a promising stat going into a game against the high-octane offense of Notre Dame.
The defensive line, in particular, has struggled this season. They’ve combined for a whopping four sacks and have given up over 180 rushing yards per game. And it doesn’t get much stronger with the secondary, which is giving over 250 passing yards per game.
Names you’ll hear on Saturday:
Jason Werner, LB: Purdue’s best defensive player. Already has 27 tackles, a sack, an interception and six tackles for loss.
Ralph Bolden, RB: Versatile back that can catch (127 receiving yards) almost as good as he runs (421 rushing yards).
Keith Smith, WR: Has 17 catches for 222 yards to lead the Purdue receivers. No doubt he has the ability to challenge the Irish secondary this weekend. .