For the first time in 7 years Purdue and Notre Dame will face off for the Shillelagh Trophy. The Boilers and Fighting Irish played each other every season from 1946-2014 with Purdue knocking off Notre Dame when they were Number 1 multiple times. In fact, Purdue has the third most victories ever over a No. 1 ranked team with 7 (though none since 1976).
The Irish are not No. 1, but are ranked 10th after reaching last season’s College Football Playoff. Purdue has not beaten a top 10 team on the road since beating #2 Notre Dame 31-20 in Notre Dame Stadium on September 28, 1974. Purdue has not beaten a top 25 team away from home since winning at #25 Northwestern (they were not in the AP Poll, but were in the coaches poll) in 2010. The last win over an AP Poll top 25 team on the road was in 2003 at Wisconsin.
So we have our work cut out for us, but there is at least a chance. Notre Dame has looked shaky so far. They have won, but both games were decided by 3 points against teams they were expected to dominate. Is Purdue better than Florida State and Toledo? We’ll find out. I at least feel slightly more confident than I did 2 weeks ago.