Staff Predictions: Purdue
Observer Sports Writers | Thursday, September 29, 2011
Purdue is not very talented. That’s just a fact. Notre Dame is far and away more athletic, better-coached and more physical than the Boilermakers are — and yet, this game will be too close for comfort.
The Boilermakers have a habit of overperforming when they face the Irish. As Irish coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday, “it’s their Super Bowl.” The Boilermakers have a habit of making night games difficult for the Irish.
What’s worse, Notre Dame has a habit of inconsistent play. It’s easy to see the Irish coming out and blowing Purdue off the field, but it’s even easier to see Notre Dame struggle to put away an inferior team. The Irish will win, but it will not be easy, nor will it be pretty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 21, Purdue 14
September has ended. Will Notre Dame wake up?
If the Irish play as poorly as they did against Pittsburgh, Purdue will win this game. The frustrating factor is the vast talent gap between these two teams favors Notre Dame more now than it did seven years ago, possibly even more than 20 years ago.
The short version of this pent-up diatribe comes down to sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees. All summer, he thought his main concern at Ross-Ade Stadium would be staying warm on the sidelines. Obviously, not the case. His main concern now needs to be not turning the ball over.
Summer has come and passed. The Irish need to last. Hopefully October holds the answers.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 20, Purdue 7
Notre Dame will play its fifth straight game against a team it outmatches this weekend. Purdue has struggled mightily so far this season. The Irish should have no trouble on either side of the ball, but that hasn’t stopped them from losing two contests and keeping things interesting in another.
The Irish offense had trouble moving the ball against Pittsburgh, especially through the air.
Notre Dame’s strength so far has been its defense, and it should have no trouble shutting down Purdue’s dismal offensive attack.
Notre Dame played poorly last week, but it was the only game it has had trouble moving the ball. Things will get back on track this week, and the contest in West Lafayette won’t even be close.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Pittsburgh 20
Associate Sports Editor
Is this the week Notre Dame finally corrects its mistakes and plays to its potential?
Right now, sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees is way too skittish in the pocket and is not showing the accuracy and game-management skills that allowed him to finish 4-0 as a starter last season and led Irish coach Brian Kelly to pull the plug on senior quarterback Dayne Crist so early against South Florida.
The defense will allow a couple big plays, but overall will suffocate the Purdue offense primarily because of its ability to make Ralph Bolden a non-factor.
While Rees and the offense will struggle, it will not be enough to let an abysmal Boilermaker squad defeat the Irish under the lights.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 27, Purdue 13
Assistant Managing Editor
I’ll be honest, I usually just mark this one up as a W before the season begins. Something about Purdue and football just don’t mix like they do for basketball, and I don’t see Drew Brees walking out of the Boilermakers locker room. That said, Purdue…
And I’m just going to stop there. Notre Dame should own this game from start to finish. Tommy Rees is the de facto starter because he has a knack for winning games. He’s had a total of seven starts to stop playing like a true freshman, and he’ll finally look a true passer when he uses the deep ball Saturday. Brian Kelly’s offense can only be vanilla for so long. The Irish begin a seven-game stretch of winnable games, and it starts with a statement win over Purdue.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Purdue 13