Before I get into tomorrow's game, let me take one last shot at the Michigan State game, courtesy of the boys at the House That Rock Built. Do yourself a favor, and listen to the following mp3 of a Michigan State radio host going into complete meltdown mode after last week's loss. He is so lost in his deluded belief that Michigan State lost that game that he completely loses sight of the fact that the Irish completely dominated the Spartans for that final quarter of the game, just like the Spartans dominated the 1st quarter of the game. This is quite possibly the funniest rant I've ever heard in the history of radio:
Now, on to the Purdue game.
I've gotten my distaste of the Purdue, ahem, "mystique" in my previous post, and I can now focus on the X's and O's.
First of all, let me say that the Purdue offense is nearly as scary as the Michigan State offense that absolutely destroyed us in the first quarter last week. They have a lot of experienced talent on their ball club. Curtis Painter is no Drew Stanton, however, and that will ultimately be the demise of the Boilermakers in this game, as Purdue just won't be able to score enough points to keep up with the Irish.
Some of you may have noticed the gaudy 56 points I'm predicting for the Irish to put up against the Boilermakers, and thought I was crazy.
However, look at what the Purdue defense has done thus far:
Indiana State [I-AA]: 35 points
Miami (OH) [MAC]: 28 points
Ball State [MAC]: 28 points
Minnesota: [Big 10] 21 points
Now, it may seem at first glance that the Purdue defense is improving, and that holding Minnesota to 21 points was a good sign. However, the Purdue defense is really not that great. Minnesota's stats going into Purdue were inflated by blowout wins over Temple and Kent State. Minnesota was thouroughly dominated by Cal in their second game.
Indiana State put up 35 points against the Boilers. Yes, the vaunted Sycamores with their powerful offense that is so good that it ranks 30th in Div. I-AA. To put that into perspective, only Murray State has given up more points to the Sycamores, and their defense is ranked 108th in Div I-AA. let me say that again - 108th. In Division I-AA.
Now try something for me. Without looking, name a player on any one of those three offenses. I'll wait for you to rack your brain.
Couldn't come up with one either?
Now name a player on the Notre Dame offense. Or three. Or five.
Purdue hasn't seen this kind of firepower this year. Oh, and Notre Dame's vaunted 5-star running back recruit, ranked by many as the best incoming back in the nation last year (yes, better than Emmanuel Moody at USC), has finally been cleared to play. Now, I'm sure we won't see too much of James Aldridge, who is finally fully recovered from offseson knee surgery, but we may get a glimpse or two. And more importantly, having a talent like that healthy can light a fire under Darius, pushing him even harder than before.
And Brady Quinn finally appeared to find his rhythm last game.
Notre Dame Pass Offense v. Purdue Pass Defense:
ND rank: 16th (versus toughest schedule in NCAA) Purdue Rank: 115th (versus I-AA and MAC schools)
EDGE: Notre Dame - HUGE (why even run the ball?)
Notre Dame Rush Offense v. Purdue Rush Defense
Notre Dame rank: 108th Purdue rank: 59th
EDGE: Purdue (but why run the ball?)
Purdue Pass Offense v. Notre Dame Pass Defense
Purdue Rank: 7th Notre Dame rank: 50th
EDGE: Purdue, but not as big an edge as you might think - Purdue's BCS opponent's average pass defense rankings: 80th (including worst pass defense in Div. I-A), and ISU was 90th in I-AA.
Purdue Rushing Offense v. Notre Dame's Rush Defense
Purdue rank: 40th Notre Dame rank: 92nd
EDGE: Purdue, but again not as big an edge when you consider that Notre Dame has played the 5th, 23rd, 29th, and 31st rushing teams in the country, all higher than Purdue - we've been there, done that.
Notre Dame Offense v. Purdue Defense
Notre Dame: 348 ypg, 29 ppg Purdue: 410 ypga, 28.75 ppga
Purdue Offense v. Notre Dame Defense
Purdue: 461.50 ypg, 40.75 ypg Notre Dame: 342 ypga, 27.75 ppga
Once you factor in the quality of opponents, it becomes clear that Notre Dame will feast on the Purdue defense, and the Purdue offense, while they will get their points, has not played a defense as tough and quick as ND.
So, I stand by my previous prdeiction, where Brady throws for 7 touchdowns and the Irish roll: 56-34