Yes, I am back. T-Mill called me out of retirement to write up the quick reaction. I guess with my background of being from South Bend, a Michigan grad student, and a Purdue grad, I’m the most qualified to cover ND.
If you would have told me that Purdue would not only hang around with ND until the 4th Quarter AND have a lead throughout most of the game, I would have laughed in your face. But alas, Hazell has shown that, despite the performance over the last 2 weeks, Purdue can compete. He is making this team better every day. I am going to say it now:
Purdue will beat Notre Dame next year in South Bend.
But, before that can happen, things have to improve on the field, and Purdue still needs to compete throughout the rest of the 2013 season.
What went well:
Defense in the first half: Either Rees was still drunk from Breakfast Club, or the defense copied what Michigan did last week to frustrate Rees at times. Notre Dame punted on their first 3 drives, and turned it over on downs afterwards. It wasn’t until the end of the 2nd quarter when ND was able to get points on the board so they could go into the locker room with some confidence. The ND offense was extremely frustrated and couldn’t move the ball against the defense. Overall, Purdue did a great job stopping Notre Dame’s run game, only allowing them to gain 91 yards on the ground.
Special teams: Outside of Grigg’s missed field goal in the first half, and maybe one Webster punt, special teams continues to be the forte of this team. They gave the offense good field position, and when Purdue had to give the ball to Notre Dame, they made sure to push them back with Webster’s powerful leg.
Offense the first 3 quarters, mainly in the first drive: With Henry and the offensive unit driving over Notre Dame in the first drive for the touchdown, it ended up setting the tone for the rest of the game. It got the crowd and team pumped up and make Notre Dame shaky. Say what you want about Ross-Ade, non-Purdue fans, it can be a tough place to play when the team and crowd get going (just ask Ohio State). It also helps when you don’t throw an interception on the first play.
What didn’t go so well:
Defense in the 2nd half: Ay caramba. Rees sobered up from Breakfast Club and decided to finally start playing. Just as Purdue’s first drive of the game gave the Boilermakers confidence, Rees fired up the Irish with the first drive. Though Purdue responded with a touchdown, it didn’t seem to shake the Irish and they continued to shut Purdue down and start putting points on the board. Rees’ patience and determination kept Purdue from getting the ball again and allowed ND to take home its 3rd straight win in Ross Ade.
Offense slows down again: At times they were great, but once again we saw the offense slow down and not move the ball. Granted, Notre Dame has a decent defense, and the last time Purdue put up more than 20 points against Notre Dame was in 2009, but they left at least a touchdown on the field in the 1st half.Henry's pick 6 also swung the momentum tremendously in favor of the Irish, giving them the 2 touchdown lead.
The worst part about the offense was going three and out after Purdue recovered the fumble midway through the 4th quarter. Granted, the penalty after the recovery didn’t help, but it was still a 1st and 10 situation. Frankly, the game was over once Purdue failed to convert, and they never saw the ball again.
Purdue is heading in the right direction, but we are going to have to wait until we can call them the Spoilermakers. Purdue needs to keep the offense moving and stop teams on 3rd down situations.
I have faith in Purdue and I will say it one more time:
Purdue will beat Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on September 13th, 2014.