After a tough loss to Michigan, Notre Dame was able to bounce back against a slightly less talented Big Ten rival, defeating the in-state Purdue Boilermakers 31-24 in West Lafayette Saturday.
Purdue got out to a strong start, as Rob Henry threw a touchdown and Paul Griggs kicked a 47-yard field goal to give the Boilermakers the 10-0 lead. It was 10-3 at the half, but the Irish were able to tie it up at the start of the third with a one-yard touchdown run from Cam McDaniel. A few minutes later, Henry found B.J. Knauf on a short pass to the left side -- the receiver ran, span, and jogged into the end zone for the 18-yard score and the 17-10 lead.
Notre Dame then went to work, scoring three touchdowns in a period of less than four minutes to taken a 31-17 lead. Tommy Rees found DaVaris Daniels in the back corner of the end zone on third-and-goal for the first score, and the two connected again on their next drive to take the lead on an 82-yard strike. On Purdue's next drive, Bennett Jackson picked off a short Henry pass, returning it 34 yards for the score.
Purdue was able to score once more, but it would not prove to be enough, as Notre Dame took the 31-24 win.
Eric Murtaugh of One Foot Down is worried about the Irish offense, particularly in their ability to stop a pass rush.
There's something that needs to be said about Rees getting the ball out of his hand quickly on many passing plays but if Golson was the quarterback (or someone with even decent running ability) I don't think the Irish offensive line would have given up a sack on the season yet.
Like I said above something isn't quite right with the offense and it's affecting the linemen in the running game. I could be wrong but we saw Zack Martin make a couple mistakes on blocking assignments and not picking up linebackers and that never happens.
For Travis Miller at Hammer and Rails, the game was all too familiar.
This game was a microcosm of what it is like to be a Purdue fan. The entire Notre Dame series since about 1997 has been a running serial of similar results. In 1998, 2000, 2002, 2009, 2012, and now this year Purdue was arguably the better team for the entire game only to lose n gut-punch fashion. Winning comes so easy for other teams. For Purdue, be it in basketball or in football, we have to work, scrap, fight, and claw for every inch. We have to listen to mocking taunts of the majority of the rest of our own state because our biggest football rival and biggest basketball rival are both storied programs with history and we have none. Worse yet, Purdue always manages to "find the banana peel" just as it gets close to succeeding, and more times than not it is in the most agonizing fashion possible.