Game Prediction

The Irish face another undefeated team on Saturday—their fifth in a row--and it has to difficult for any team to play this many quality teams in a row. Could that be the reason for Notre Dame's slow starts? Will we see another slow start on Saturday?

Like anyone else, I've been waiting for this offense to kick it into overdrive. Heck, I'd take third gear at this point.

It all starts up front and frankly this unit needs to play better to help spark the Irish. But the offensive line is hardly the only culprit for Notre Dame's early game woes. Head coach Charlie Weis used "60 minutes" as his theme for the week. Maybe "All 22 guys" could be another theme to look at as well as it seems most break downs in offense and defense are due to just one player or another missing an assignment.

Regardless, I think last Saturday's big win will be the spark this Irish offense needed. Down and almost out, suddenly a sputtering offense realized their season was hanging in the balance and stepped up and delivered a fine fourth-quarter performance.

Will that carry over to this week? I think it does.

The Irish just need to hold onto to the football and I think they win this game. I just don't see Purdue having the talent to hang in there for 60 minutes with Notre Dame. The only way Purdue wins this game in my eyes would be to win the turnover battle, and by a comfortable margin.

With four new starters in the secondary, and a less than stellar front four, I think Purdue's defense will have a very difficult time slowing down the Irish offense. Brady Quinn, if given time, should have a big game against a suspect secondary. The Boilermakers do have 12 sacks on the season, but they haven't come against the best competition.

I also think the Irish might be able to run the football in this game, even though Purdue has a pretty good group of linebackers. I expect Weis to at least try to get the running game going this week.

On defense I think you'll see the Irish play a lot of zone coverage once again. It might be frustrating to watch as the Boilers will pick up some yards and probably score some points as well, but we don't think they'll be as efficient on offense as Notre Dame should be on Saturday. They'll probably put some pressure on Painter in obvious passing downs, but I doubt you'll see Notre Dame blitzing on every play.

Simply making Purdue drive the entire field and score seven points in the red zone makes the most sense on defense because we believe the Irish will be able to score seven on a good number of their own offensive possessions.

The Irish will be worried about Dorien Bryant's speed and Dustin Keller in the middle of the field and that will make it difficult to get too aggressive on defense.

Mike Frank Prediction

I think Purdue makes a game of it for a half. Their offense has some playmakers, and when you have speed on the outside (Bryant) and a threat in the middle of the field (Keller), a lot of running lanes suddenly open up.

The key for the Irish is to keep scoring on offense. As long as they're efficient on offense, the Irish defense should get enough stops to win the game.

Notre Dame: 42 Purdue: 23 Top Stories