Site Predictions

Irisheyes.com staff and moderators offer their predictions on Saturday's contest between the visiting Boilermakers and the Irish.

Tim O'Malley -- Publisher

I'm certain of two truths entering Saturday's contest: Good Notre Dame teams don't lose to Purdue, at least not in my viewing lifetime, and this Week Two contest will bare little resemblance to the evisceration of a terrible Purdue squad Notre Dame enjoyed last October.

The Irish haven't started 2-0 since 2008. They've started 2-0 just 11 times in the last 30 years, and Brian Kelly is just 4-5 in September entering his 10th opening month game at the helm. Notre Dame's 2012 team needs to start 2-0 because a daunting slate awaits, but it's program and current regime might need early season success even more.

Despite standout efforts from future first-round defensive lineman Kawaan Short and his spurned Irish cohort Bruce Gaston inside, and despite a potential game-changing interception by junior ball hawk Ricardo Allen on the corner, Purdue simply won't have enough for the Irish in this biennial trip north.

It's the reality of the world a middling Purdue program occupies, with Notre Dame winning all but two of the team's matchups in South Bend since the late 60s.
Notre Dame 31 Purdue 16 (Full Preview to follow)

Brian Dohn -- Recruiting Reporter

This is a maturity game for the Irish. So much energy was put in having a great showing in Dublin against Navy, and now it is back home without nearly as much fanfare. Notre Dame has been through enough to be able to handle this, and it has the offensive weapons to do it. The Irish are two-touchdown favorites, and this one should be over by the time the fourth quarter starts.
Notre Dame 38, Purdue 17

Dave Berk -- Recruiting Analyst

If you believe in superstitions this may be a game you want to stay away from.  On Sept. 8, 1984 the Boilermakers opened the newly built Hoosier Dome with a 23-21 victory over the Irish.  The only reason the score was so close was from a late Allen Pinkett score.  While I'm not one to believe in superstitions, I'm scared about the Irish secondary getting their first real test against a passing team that will look to spread the field and go no-huddle. 

The Irish scored 38 points on the Boilermakers a year ago and I can see them doing that again.  But I have a feeling this is going to be a closer game than some might think and will be conservative with the Irish winning 34-17. 

Morrissey79 -- Moderator

Notre Dame came out and looked the best it has in a season opener last weekend in Ireland against Navy. This week, the team and the coaching staff has a more traditional opponent to prepare for in Purdue. Some feel Coach Danny Hope has the Boilermakers on the rise - i tend to disagree.  

This Purdue team committed multiple turnovers, some costly penalties, and botched some special teams plays - luckily for them, they were playing a FCS team and it didn't matter.  

ND will continue to stick with the ground game and Everett Golson will continue to show why he's our future at QB.  I predict the defense will be in nickel for the majority of the game, with Ishaq Williams and Prince Shembo playing with a hand down in 4 down lineman sets, getting after the QB, and Matthias Farley continuing to see extensive playing time.
Notre Dame 35 Purdue 14

SeattleNDFan -- Moderator

As stated before, the story of the 2012 Notre Dame football team is to me the story of the offensive and defensive line development. 

Chapter One is in the books and was an unqualified success by any measure, the lack of holding calls or false start penalties every bit as impressive as the effectiveness of the run blocking and pass protection. Purdue has far superior defensive tackles to anyone Navy had in Bruce Gaston and Kawaan Short, but their defensive ends and linebackers are not at the same level, meaning the Purdue defense's high end will be similar to the Boston College defense that had B.J. Raji and Ron Brace at DT and not much else.

This is a defensive talent distribution that should be a good test for Hiestand's straight ahead blocking schemes as the gap and pull schemes favored by Ed Warriner are more susceptible to disruption by DT penetration. Notre Dame should be able to run on Purdue's defense by trapping and double teaming Gaston and Short and with tunnel screens and flat passes to turn their penetration against them. If ND can run, it can play action pass at will, setting Everett Golson up for success through the air. I doubt we see the playbook opened up against Purdue unless ND cannot run on them.

Going the other way, Purdue on offense is not dramatically different than last year, including the same three headed QB rotation with Robert Marve, Caleb Terbush and Rob Henry, who if he appears in the game is going to run the ball. None of these guys will remind you of Drew Brees or Jim Everett. Look for the Irish to spend most of the day in nickel, unless Henry comes in, in which case they will stack the line and dare him to throw.

They will play a ton of zone to mitigate the inexperience of their cornerbacks and we will get to see exactly how much better Te'o, Fox, Councell and especially Romeo Okwara are at pass coverage than last year's linebacking crew was, because the plan will likely be to play a two deep off the WR's and force Purdue to throw underneath. All of that assumes ND can stuff Purdue's running game, which is not unlikely, because Purdue fields one of the smallest offensive lines in the Big Ten even with the addition of 6'7" transfer Devin Smith. ND's size and speed on the DL and at OLB should make Akeem Shavers do a lot of hesitating and hunting to find running room, and that's bad mojo for a spread offense.

ND will likely give up 2 scores on breakdowns in the secondary, but the running game will control the ball and time of possession for sustained scoring drives for the Irish and the defense will continue the 2012 streak of no rushing touchdowns allowed. Look for Stephon Tuitt to make up for missing last year's Purdue game due to suspension with a vengeance. Think Charles Jefferson from Fast Times and Ridgemont High.
Notre Dame 38 Purdue 17

KurzND -- Moderator

Purdue pounded hapless Eastern Kentucky 48-6 while the Irish enjoyed a great opener beating Navy 50-10. Purdue appears to beheading in a positive direction building off last year's bowl team. However Caleb TerBush won the starting QB job but was suspended for a violation of team rules. Marve did well going 30/38 295 yards and 3 TDs, but he also contributed 3 turnovers out of 5 total committed by Purdue. But Purdue Coach Danny Hope has named TerBush the starter. Expect to see Marve if things are not going well for Purdue early.

Purdue has a very good D-Line lead by  Kawaan Short (who has 6 career blocked PATs and FGs combined) but their best LB was kicked off for being arrested for the forth time. Purdue as well has 2 solid in corners and Ricardo Allen hopes to make up for being beat time and time again last year by Floyd. ND will have to watch out for So. RB/Return man Raheem Mostert. He is quick and a potential big time player in the future. ND O-Line has a nice challenge ahead of them with Purdue's line, but look for Irish backs to gash the LBs if the O-Line can give them some holes. Golson will have to throw some more this week, but the Irish ground game should do plenty to hold most of the load and look for them to hit 200 yards.

I assume we will once again see some passes to the TEs and to Eifert line up as a WR as Purdue will try to stack the box to stop the run. For the offense Purdue must protect the ball and attack the Irish secondary. They can't turnover the ball 5 times and expect this game to not be a blowout. Te'o and company need to attack TerBush in his debut and can force some turnovers. The success of the Irish ground game and Purdue's problems with special teams and turnovers give ND a win. 
Notre Dame 37 Purdue 17

BNolan -- Moderator

Will ND beat the BIG drum like a... drum?

Should. Well, maybe not like a drum, but like a team with a lot more talent should, even with a ??? secondary.

The defensive backfield is the obvious weak link, and Purdue will bang on it like a... you get it. Jackson and Russell have to play smart and solid.  They will lose some battles but hopefully not the war.  They obviously need a lot of assists from their fellow defenders.

And Diaco needs to show me that he is worthy of his paycheck, starting this week, last week wasn't too tough to scheme for with our stout DL.  It gets a lot more challenging from here on out. Purdue has some solid defenders, but if ND plays smart, fundamental football and we don't make bonehead miscues, we should score a fair amount more than the Big Drummers.
ND 34 PU 24

GaviND -- Moderator

After ripping off an impressive 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin a week ago, the Irish return to the comforts of South Bend to face an underrated Purdue football team.

Last week, the Irish were able to rip through the Midshipmen using a conservative, run-heavy, offensive game plan that allowed Everett Golson to get his feet wet comfortably. This week, however, Coach Brian Kelly will likely have to flip past page one of the playbook as Purdue's front seven is a rather formidable group.

Expect Purdue to stack the box against the run and ultimately force the Irish to put the ball in the air -- or, perhaps better stated, force Golson to make some tough decisions and some plays. Caleb TerBush is a significant step up from Navy signal caller Trey Miller, and the Purdue quarterback will likely be charged with testing a green Notre Dame secondary early and often. 

My hope is that conservative defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will dial up the pressure up front and force a turnover happy Purdue offense into a few mistakes.

I don't see this game being the blowout that many on the board seem to think it will be, I don't think it will be much in doubt, either!
Notre Dame 27 Purdue 13


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