Purdue could have blown the Irish out in the first half, but only went in with a 23-0 lead. That seemed to be enough versus the hapless offense that the Irish have shown all year. A lot of people around me were commenting on how we had the spread covered at the half. How big would the final margin be? 14 points. Notre Dame came out and put three touchdowns on the board in the second half to make things interesting. At one point the Irish were within 7. The crowd around me was very quiet. I think they thought this backup quarterback was going to do what the #1 ranked recruit could not. In the end Purdue took the ball down the field and put the game away, then relied on some great clock management to win the game. This win sets up a showdown with Ohio State next Saturday. This should be a great game with two 5-0 teams vying for control of the Big Ten.
LaPorte played a game tonight that reminded me of the one they played in Crown Point two years ago. We stayed within a touchdown the entire game, but could not get the big play that we needed to climb over the top. The team has been in some tight games, but just could not get the spark to take them over the top as we did last year. We are now 2-5 with two home games coming up against Michigan City and Portage to close the season. We would need to win both of those, and two sectional games just to be a .500 team. This team is young and missing a lot of key elements from last years team. If we can gel quickly we could make some noise in the sectional. We will see in a week when the pairings are announced.
I chose the picture above because it represents how I feel about the game. Notre Dame will need the hand of God to win this game. As of today they are 22 point underdogs, and have only scored 2 offensive touchdowns in four games. One of those was after a fumble by the other team inside the 10. Purdue on the other hand is 4-0 and the offense looks stellar. The one downside for the Boilers is how the defense has played in the second half the last couple of weeks. They look great in the first half when the game was on the line. The second half is another story though. Many Boiler fans think that this is a great opportunity to crush the Irish. I hope that they are wrong, and that the Irish will win. I think that they need the win badly, and I have rooted for Notre Dame since I was a kid. That being said the odds are against them. Purdue also needs the win so that they can have the dream matchup against Ohio State next weekend. If Notre Dame can hang close in the first half I think that they can come close in this game. That being said I think Purdue will win big. 49-13 would be a smart guess although if Tiller wants to he can make the score worse.
I made this list last year before the big game, and with another game added on I decided to change it up a little. This year will mark the 9th game between the schools that I have seen. Here is my ranking of the top games between the Irish and Boilers:
8. 9/27/2003 Notre Dame looked horrible in this game losing 23-10. A Quinn to Stovall 85 yard TD pass is the lone highlight for the Irish. Notre Dame was close at the half, but never came out to play in the second half.
7. 12/1/2001 This game was played in December because of the attacks of September 11th. Neither team played real well, and Notre Dame wins 24-18 in Bob Davie’s last game as coach of the Irish. Vontez Duff’s 96 yard kickoff return is the highlight of the game.
6. 9/14/1996 Notre Dame runs all over Purdue at Notre Dame Stadium. Allan Rossum returns a kickoff 99 yards as the Irish win easily 35-0.
5. 9/24/1994 I came home from college to watch my first game in the series. Notre Dame easily handles the Boilers at home. Ray Zellars and Randy Kinder run for 156 and 143 yards respectively. Notre Dame wins 39-21.
4. 9/30/2006 Notre Dame comes into the game ranked #12 and beats Purdue 35-21. Selwyn Lymon sets a record for Irish opponents with 8 receptions for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns. Curtis Painter throws for 398 yards with 2 touchdowns. Brady Quinn throws for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jeff Samardzija scores a TD on a fake field goal at the end of the first half to put Notre Dame up by two scores. With seemingly no time left on the clock Selwyn Lymon streaks down the field to bring Purdue closer with the half ending. A monsoon washes away some of the fun during the second half.
3. 10/1/2005 Notre Dame comes into Ross-Aide with revenge on their mind after getting pounded at home the year before. I found a cheap ticket on E-bay to get into the stadium and ended up in the middle of the Notre Dame student section. I had a great time watching the Irish pick holes in the Boiler secondary. Quinn threw for 440 yards in 3 quarters, and Samardzija had 153 yards receiving with 2 TD’s. Irish win 49-28.
2. 9/11/1999 Sitting in the Purdue student section for the second time in three years wearing Irish colors I watch Purdue stop Notre Dame three times at the goaline to seal a 28-23 win. Drew Brees diving over the pylon for a two point conversion is one of the memorable moments of the game.
1. 9/13/1997 My first game in the series at Ross-Aide. Notre Dame never got it going, and the Boilers snap an eleven game losing streak to the Irish. Fans storm the field after the game. I stayed in the Purdue Student section in disbelief. This game did mark the rebirth of the Boiler football program. Boilers win 28-17.
Notre Dame pulled away in the second half to beat Purdue 35-21 at Notre Dame Stadium last year. Darius Walker had 219 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to lead the Irish. Jeff Samardzija had a key run for a touchdown on a fake field goal to put the Irish ahead as well. Selwyn Lymon showed the country on national TV that he was a primetime player. His 238 yards receiving on eight catches is the most ever against ND, and second most yards in Purdue history (Daniels had 301 in 1999). His first of two touchdown catches prevented Notre Dame from going into the half up by three scores. Notre Dame had just taken a 21-7 lead on Samardzija’s fake FG touchdown with little time remaining in the first. With fifty second left in the first half, Lymon split two defenders for an 88 yard touchdown run to bring the game within two scores. Notre Dame may have won the game, but Purdue found a new threat that should help spread out defenses for the rest of the year. Purdue came out with white jerseys and black pants for the first time since 1999.
Purdue thought that they had a decently hard early season schedule when the season began. Toledo is tough at home, and Central Michigan is the reigning MAC champion, and Notre Dame is a perienial tough game. What we have seen this year is Purdue running over its opponents. Purdue is 4-0 and hoping for big things this season. Here is how the season has gone so far:
September 1, 2007: Purdue 52 at Toledo 24
September 8, 2007: Purdue 52 vs Eastern Illinois 6
September 15, 2007: Purdue 45 vs Central Michigan 22
September 22, 2007: Purdue 45 at Minnesota 21
As you can see by the scores Purdue has really poured on the points so far this season. The troubling trend the last two weeks is how the defense has played in the second half. They have played great in the first half, but faltered as the game has gone on. They need to keep up the intensity the entire game once the Big Ten starts. The Purdue offense has so many weapons that I think a lot of teams will be hard pressed to stop them. This is one of the better teams that I have seen in a few years.