Notre Dame got a big monkey off its back this week. Not the Boilermakers, who have never been much more than an annoying zit on the back of Notre Dame football, but instead have finally developed an offense.
It's not often that a player can achieve a first at Notre Dame, the most storied of football programs. Brady Quinn defies logic, however.
Every time in Notre Dame history that the team has thrown for 400+ yards, it has been in a loss, where the Irish went to the air in a desperate game of catch up. Several of those games were with Brady at the helm, including last year's loss to Purdue.
This week was different. We went to the air early and often, and Brady torched the Purdue secondary to the tune of 440 yards.
Brady has already put a big dent in the Notre Dame record book. He is currently well ahead in average passing yards per game (199.9, second is Powlus with 172.7) and has the record for most touchdown passes in a single game (5, against Michigan State earlier this year).
A couple other records Brady is closing in on are: consecutive games with touchdown passes (10, tying the record held by Heisman Winner John Huarte) total career passing yards (6,038, good for third behind Beurlein with 6,527 and Powlus with 7,602) total career touchdown passes (36, behind Mirer with 41 and Powlus with 52) single season passing yardage (1,621 yards through 5 games, record is 2,753 - Quinn needs to average only 189 yds/gm, or 135 fewer yds/gm than he has thus far this year, to break that mark).
In short, Brady Quinn has all but guaranteed, if he stays for his senior year, that he will break every passing record in the books.
Also, he is getting better with every start, which is important with #1 USC coming to town in 2 weeks. More than any other team that USC has faced this year, Notre Dame can hang with them in a shootout. And if USC lays an egg in the first half like they did against Oregon and Arizona State, I can assure you that they will not be able to shut down the Irish offense to allow a comeback. If USC is going to beat ND, they will have to score early and often to do so.
As for Purdue, they were just plain outmatched in this game. Coach Weis proved that he was coaching on a different level than Tiller and his cronies. Tiller attempted to turn up the offensive pressure in the second half by switching back to his old spread offense in a hurry-up, but by then the Irish were happy to settle into a soft zone defense and match each Boilermaker score to run out the clock.
The saddest thing about this game was Tiller's stubborn refusal to accept what the Boiler fans knew at half time: there was no way that Purdue could win that game. He used his timeouts on defense with 5 minutes left in the half, and kicked onside kicks after his last two scores. The saddest moment for Tiller was when his defense gave up a touchdown to the Irish second team, with David Wolke running the offense and Travis Thomas running the ball. Tiller embarassed himself and his team, and even the announcers called out Tiller for refusing to back down. Someone should explain to Tiller how sportsmanship works.