Notre Dame was humbled on national television last week in a 41-30 loss to arch rival Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor. This weekend, again on national television and again on the road, the Irish face their Hoosier State rival Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette.
Notre Dame has Michigan State and Oklahoma on the docket in the two weeks following this one against Purdue. Some might say that this is a “trap game” because of its place on the schedule. However, the Michigan loss has made this instead a must-win for the Irish.
Quarterback Tommy Rees has thrown for 660 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. The two interceptions occurred at critical points in the Michigan game. Rees loses accuracy on his throws when he is forced to move around in the pocket. In order for the Irish to regain their confidence and retain their current national ranking, Rees will need to keep interceptions out of the game log. The Boilers must find a way to generate regular pressure, something they have not been able to in their first two times out this season.
Purdue is fortunate to have a nationally televised prime time game on campus at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers lost a lopsided game to the Cincinnati Bearcats 42-7 but rebounded with a nice win against in-state foe Indiana State last weekend 20-14.
On offense look for both Notre Dame and Purdue to try to run the ball and then use play action passing to get some big gains down the field. On defense the Irish will run their standard scheme with Louis Nix III stuffing the run and their secondary looking to capitalize on in accurate passes from Purdue quarterback Rob Henry.
Defensively, the Boilermakers will blitz Rees in an attempt to cause turnovers. Look for that game-plan to back-fire on Purdue and for Notre Dame to complete some big plays in the passing game en route to a blowout.
Final Score: Notre Dame 33, Purdue 15