2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 5 - Notre Dame at Purdue
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Oct. 1 Notre Dame 38 ... at Purdue 10
CFN Analysis: There was an empty trip with a missed field goal early, but that was about it for the mistakes. There were eight penalties, but there weren’t any turnovers, the offense was nearly flawless, and there wasn’t any drama. The line gave Tommy Rees time, and he carved up the Purdue secondary with 254 yards and three scores, and Michael Floyd showed once again that he might be the best receiver in the nation with 12 catches for 137 yards and a score. The Irish were tight this week, and they’ll have to keep the turnovers to zero next week against a good Air Force team with enough experience to pull off the upset win.
Purdue didn’t have the firepower to keep up. The 13 penalties for 118 yards were part of the problem, but the offense couldn’t handle the Irish defensive front and couldn’t get enough going on the ground early to take control of the game. Down 35-3 in the fourth, all the Boilermakers could do was bomb away and get a cosmetic touchdown. The run defense didn’t hold up and the secondary couldn’t come up with a key stop, but the biggest problem was an offense that didn’t do anything of significance with Robert Marve under center. Fortunately, Minnesota is up next to make everything all better.
(AP) WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Michael Floyd had 12 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown to help Notre Dame defeat Purdue 38-10 on Saturday night.
Cierre Wood ran for a career-high 191 yards, Jonas Gray rushed for 94 yards and Tommy Rees passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns for the Fighting Irish (3-2).
Notre Dame outgained Purdue 551 yards to 276 in its most dominant performance of the season. It was a season-high yardage total for the Irish and their third game with at least 500 yards of offense.
Notre Dame also cut out its mistakes. The Fighting Irish committed 15 turnovers in their first four games, but went without one against the Boilermakers.
Caleb TerBush completed 10 of 15 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown for Purdue (2-2). But the Boilermakers also committed 13 penalties for 118 yards.
Floyd caught just four passes for 27 yards the previous week against Pittsburgh, and he talked during the week about his willingness to be a decoy for Notre Dame's other talented receivers.
That wasn't necessary on Saturday -- it took him less than a minute to surpass his yardage total against Pitt. Purdue's TerBush threw an interception right to Notre Dame's Gary Gray on the first play from scrimmage and two plays later, Rees found Floyd beyond Purdue's defense for a 35-yard touchdown pass 24 seconds into the game.
"What the defense gives us, we take advantage of," Floyd said.
After Purdue was forced to punt, Notre Dame drove 81 yards before stalling. Purdue's Kawann Short blocked David Ruffer's 28-yard field-goal try, and the Boilermakers escaped the threat.
Later in the first quarter, Purdue had Notre Dame stopped on a third-and-goal, but an unsportmanlike conduct penalty on Albert Evans gave the Irish a first down. Notre Dame then scored on a 2-yard run by Jonas Gray to take a 14-0 lead.
Ruffer missed a 49-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and Marve entered the game for Purdue's next possession.
Purdue went three-and-out, and Notre Dame quickly took advantage. Catching Purdue in a blitz, Wood broke into the secondary and ran 55 yards to give the Irish a 21-0 lead with 9:06 left in the second quarter.
Purdue finally got on the board when Carson Wiggs made a 27-yard field goal with 3:39 left in the second quarter to trim Notre Dame's lead to 21-3.
Purdue quarterback Robert Marve replaced TerBush late in the first half. He didn't fare as well statistically, but he moved the team more effectively and earned the start in the second half.
Before he even got on the field, though, Notre Dame scored again. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame's improving tight end who had just one catch in the first half, caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rees to make it 28-3. Later in the quarter, TJ Jones caught an 11-yard pass from Rees to push the lead to 35-3.
Purdue finally got into the end zone late in the game. TerBush finished a 95-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Antavian Edison with 21 seconds remaining.
Notre Dame's defense was as impressive as its offense. Purdue entered the game ranked 11th nationally in rushing, but finished with 84 yards on 27 carries.
Notre Dame (2-2) at Purdue (2-1) Oct. 1, 8:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … There was a time not all that long ago when Notre Dame vs. Purdue was a huge matchup in the early part of the season, and if Purdue can pull off the upset, the game will mean something again.
Who knows what’s going to happen over the next few years with conference expansion and where Notre Dame might or might not end up, but it’s set up to play Purdue for the next ten years. After winning five of the last six meetings, the Irish will be happy to play its next door neighbor for another decade.
Purdue should’ve lost to Middle Tennessee to start the season, and didn’t. It should’ve beaten Rice, and didn’t. As bad as things have been for the oft-injured Boilermakers, beating Notre Dame would be a huge moment for the struggling program. With a home date against Minnesota coming up next week, beating the Irish would almost certainly mean a 4-1 start going into the trip to Penn State, but to do that will require Notre Dame to keep screwing things up.
The Irish are a few weeks removed from giving away games to South Florida and Michigan, and now it’s time to go on a run. After dominating an air-tight Michigan State team, the Irish did everything it could to lose to Pitt, but didn’t. With the only true road game between now and the regular season ender against Stanford at Wake Forest, Notre Dame might be the only team that ruins Notre Dame’s season.
Why Notre Dame Might Win: The season has been mostly about the offense, its mistakes, and the occasional big moments in the passing game, but the pass rush is quickly becoming a key positive. The Irish was decent at getting into the backfield over the first three games, and then the defensive blew up against Pitt with six sacks and eight tackles for loss, holding Pitt to just 103 rushing yards. The defense has been terrific against the run, only allowing one touchdown so far – and that includes the Michigan game – and the front seven is still emerging.
Purdue’s rushing offense has been terrific so far, but top running back Ralph Bolden is working through a hamstring problem and the scrambling of Caleb TerBush had a lot to do with the stats. Purdue doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Fighting Irish, and if the running game isn’t controlling the clock and keeping Tommy Rees and the attack off the field, it’ll be scrambling time to catch up.
Why Purdue Might Win: Notre Dame can’t get out of its own way. The turnover problem has slowed down a bit after giving the ball away ten times in the first two games, but the Irish still turned it over three times against Michigan State and twice against Pitt. Throw in the steady stream of penalties, and Notre Dame does its part to keep games exciting. Purdue has only given up the ball three times in the first three games, and while it committed 11 penalties against Middle Tennessee, it committed just 12 in the following two games.
The Irish can move the ball quickly when it needs to, so field position doesn’t always mean the world, but Purdue should have a huge advantage in the punting game. Notre Dame is 115th in the nation in punting, averaging just 32.65 yards per kick and 0.75 yards per punt return, while Purdue has been terrific kicking the ball averaging 42.27 yard per try and 10.38 yards per punt return.
What To Watch Out For: Robert Marve got back in the swing of things for the Boilermakers, coming off a knee injury to complete 7-of-8 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown against SE Missouri State. Head coach Danny Hope will stick with Caleb TerBush, who completed 14-of-17 passes for 143 yards in the game, but there will be a mix of the two quarterbacks. In a perfect world, Marve is the bomber who gets the passing game working while TerBush adds some flash and running to the mix, and the coaching staff will go with the hot hand.
Tommy Rees is firmly entrenched as the Notre Dame starter, and now he’s experienced enough to be more consistent. He had an awful first three quarters against Pitt, but he showed the maturity and the ability to fight back to finish with 216 yards and a touchdown pass in the tight win. With six interceptions in four games, going back to last year he now has 14 picks and 15 touchdown passes in his nine-and-a-half games of work. Considering head coach Brian Kelly likes his quarterbacks to be perfect, Rees has to get sharper as the season goes on.
What Will Happen: Purdue will get behind early and will bomb away. The Boilermaker passing numbers will be impressive, but after the lackluster performance against Pitt, Notre Dame will be much sharper and much more efficient. Expect several big plays from both sides, but the Irish will be more consistent.
CFN Prediction: Notre Dame 30 … Purdue 16
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Notre Dame -13 O/U: 47.5
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