Posted by BrianBoru at 9/24/2009 8:09 PM EDT

The status of running back Armando Allen, according to Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, will be decided shortly before kickoff against Purdue.

If Allen is unable to play, sophomore back Jonas Gray will get the starting nod.

The Irish offense, already dealt a crippling blow with the loss of sensational wideout Michael Floyd, can ill afford to lose its most reliable running back.

Filling in for Allen, Gray must protect quarterback Jimmy Clausen much better than he's demonstrated thus far. If he can improve his blocking, and he can hold onto the football, he has the potential to be a damned good back.

Keep your eyes open for freshman wide receiver Shaquelle Evans. The highly-recruited California native has the speed to stretch defenses. The Irish offense will need him to step up in the absence of Michael Floyd because, quite frankly, wide receivers Robby Parris and Duval Kamara are not going to scare opposing defensive coordinators.

On a positive note, quarterback Jimmy Clausen appears healthy enough to play on Saturday evening. According to Charlie Weis, Clausen is "looking good".

I believe the Irish will win this game to the tune of 36-30.