The Purdue Boilermakers will look to change their status with a win over Notre Dame on Saturday in prime time, which would snap their three-game losing streak against the Irish who are looking to extend their short two-game winning streak here in the 2011.
Fighting Irish v Boilermakers
Venue/Stadium: Ross Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana
Time/Date: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 1, 2011
NFL Odds From: Betonline.com
Spread (ATS): Notre Dame -12
After Brian Kelly’s men started the season losing to USF, and then coming up on the losing end of a shootout in Ann Arbor, the Fighting Irish pounded Michigan State, and then eked out a hard fought win against Pittsburgh their last time out.
The Irish outgained the Panthers 398-268, but Notre Dame had a hard time converting yardage into points against a suffocating Panther’s defense.
Notre Dame, which came into the game ranked last nationally in turnover margin, produced two more in the first half, but somehow managed to take a 7-6 lead into halftime, thanks to a 79-yard scoring run by Jonas Gray.
But it was quarterback Tommy Rees who came up big in this one, as he engineered a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown drive, while Notre Dame’s defense held, sacking Panther’s QB Tino Sunseri twice in three plays and breaking up a fourth-down pass to kill Pitt’s final drive of the game.
Rees finished the game going 24-for-41 on the day, for 216 yards and one score, while throwing one interception.
Once again the Notre Dame offense relied on the passing attack, finishing with just 182 yards rushing.
The Irish have thrown the ball 55 percent of the time this season (with a 60 percent completion rate), but if they are going to keep the opposition on their toes, Kelly will have to balance out the attack. Especially, since the backfield showed some success last weekend. Cierre Wood carried 23 times for nearly 100 yards while Jonas Gray racked up 84 yards and a TD on just three carries.
Meanwhile, it’s safe to say that Purdue’s front seven will be decent, and stopping the run will definitely be their strength versus stopping the Irish passing game.
Despite limiting Southeast Missouri State to eight completions and just 66 yards passing, Purdue still sits at 60th nationally in pass defense giving up 212 yards per game. In fact, the Boilermakers gave up 572 yards passing and for touchdowns combined to both Middle Tennessee State and Rice in its first two contests.
However, Purdue is still off to a good start at 2-1, and head into conference play well-rested and beaming with confidence after walloping the Redhawks 59-0 back on September 17.
Purdue completely dominated the SE Missouri outgaining the inferior FCS opponent by close to 500 yards. The Boilermakers have been a run first team thus far, and it showed as they rushed for nearly 400 yards on the day.
As impressive as those stats are, they will now be facing a Notre Dame defense that played a very solid game against Pitt, holding the Panthers to just 165 yards through the air, and 103 on the ground.
Matt’s Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Purdue 20– Purdue’s been good at running the football, but they will find it difficult to do this weekend against the Irish. If they are forced to abandoned the running game early, opting for the air assault, this game could be over by the half. Nevertheless, I think Purdue keeps it closer than this double digit spread suggests.