Irish Prepare for In-state Rivalry

Notre Dame hits the road again Saturday as they travel to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. This will be the fourth road trip for the Irish in five games, but after this contest they will play five straight games on their own turf.

The Irish and Boilermakers will be meeting for the 77th time with Notre Dame leading in the series by 49-25-2 margin. Purdue has won the last two meetings, 41-16 in 2004 and 23-10 in 2003. Saturday's game will be the last of three contests for the Irish against Big Ten opponents this season.

The Irish will be going up against an experienced and veteran Purdue defense on Saturday, and it might be said an angry group as they gave up 572 yards to Minnesota in a double-overtime loss last week.. Irish offensive line coach, John Latina, has a lot of respect for the defense he will face this week regardless of the Boilers' performance last week.

"They have good players along the line and are a good unit and they are a veteran unit," Latina said. "They have seven or eight seniors on the defense starting. Their front four are all older guys who have played and started together, so they are not only good players, they are a cohesive unit. They have a few good players that you really have to play well against or they can embarrass you.

"They are a team that doesn't do a lot of things to beat themselves. They don't give you anything. They don't give up big plays. They seem to make you have that 14-play drive and most people usually stumble and fall and don't make those 14-play drives. Their consistency and their ability not to give up the big plays is really their strength."

This in-state rivalry means a lot to fans from both teams and the winning fans have bragging rights for the entire year. This game also is important to both schools from a recruiting standpoint as they often are competing for the same players.

Irish receiver and Valparaiso, Indiana, native Jeff Samardzija understands the importance of this rivalry as he was heavily recruited by Purdue. "It's pretty big. I followed both teams for a long time, and I understand what it is about and the seriousness of it," Samardzija said. "I understand both teams view it as a big rivalry, but with that you just have to know it is going to be another tough game."


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