There’s no two ways about it, it’s hard to win a game at Notre Dame. Especially for Purdue. There’s not been much that goes right when Purdue travels there. Heck, this time we couldn’t even get our drum in the stadium. Things didn’t go so great inside the stadium though so perhaps it was for the best.
After looking pretty good to start the day by forcing Notre Dame into a quick three and out Purdue took advantage to get a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately that was the only lead they had all game. The defense continued to look very good to start the game giving even the most pessimistic fans reason to believe that an upset was possible.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t keep track. Despite the defense allowing 0 points in the first quarter the offense could only muster the field goal on the first drive. The play calling was questionable at times and it was apparent that Notre Dame was doing everything they could to keep the ball away from David Bell. It looked at times like Brohm was calling a conservative game knowing that the offensive line was facing a difficult task in matching up with the Notre Dame defensive line. There were lots of quick passes, jet sweeps, screens, and just generally getting the ball out of Plummer’s hands ASAP. That doesn’t lend itself to big plays and points on the board.
As the game wore on the defense made some mistakes allowing some Notre Dame receivers to get behind them and convert on big plays. You can’t expect a defense to be perfect so while the coverage in certain situations was bad you can’t fault a defense that only gives up 27 points to the #12 ranked team on the road. The defensive line especially played great with the third string left tackle for Notre Dame hating everything about his day.
Then disaster struck in the tail end of the game. Jack Plummer was removed from the game after what may have been a hit in the head. It’s unclear to me if that’s the case or if Brohm decided he wanted a change of pace. Regardless of the reason AOC came into the game and while he played admirably 11/18 for 104 it wasn’t enough to put points on the board. Then the play that might have repercussions for the rest of the season. AOC threw the ball to David Bell in traffic, Bell snagged it, but took a hit that caused his head to hit the turf hard and bounce. It was difficult to watch. Bell laid prone on the ground for minutes before finally getting up under his own power, his lip appeared to be bleeding, and being carted off the field. As of this writing I’ve seen no updates on the health of Plummer or Bell but long term injuries to either one of them could spell disaster.
While it was the outcome a lot of us expected it still leaves Purdue at 2-1 on the season. This game was always a question mark and losing it doesn’t knock Purdue off of the trajectory for a possible bowl game. It did show that this defense can make plays up front and that if given the chance they can shut down some pretty good teams. Overall, while I would’ve liked to see more from the offense, and Brohm’s play calling, I’m not terribly disappointed with what I saw today. Much more to come on this one later.