Notre Dame/Purdue

<P>So let's see, you win the first game of the season. You know how important that win was to the fragile psyche' of your team. Everyone picked you to lose and your team hands out one of the most dominating defensive efforts in schools history. Your quarterback had a career game throwing the football and showed poise and accuracy. </P>

For one week, you are king of all media and everyone wants a piece of you. You can hear the echoes rumbling from every crack in the walls on campus. The ghosts of Ara, Rockne and Leahy follow your every step. How can you possibly do it again?

For the last 8 months, Notre Dame fans have found out about the man Tyrone Willingham. Countless stories, featured magazine articles and television interviews have given us the understanding of Ty the human being. I would guess all have concluded that he is a good man and the right character of man to lead this team. What Notre Dame fans hadn't known is can he do the job he was hired to do.

Last Saturday night, Notre Dame fans got their first look at Tyrone the coach. What we saw was sound, disciplined football and an offense that gives us hope. Our evaluation is that he passes with flying colors. We so badly want to believe that we will let the little things slide. Ty's evaluation is probably a lot more critical. Too many mental mistakes and not enough ground game, I bet he gave himself and his team a C+.

Come on Coach, a C+? You have to give yourself a B at least! Everyone predicted that Notre Dame would lose their first game against Maryland and you shut them out! Hey coach, can we shut out Purdue as well?

Notre Dame will play Purdue this Saturday and I am still not sure what we will know about this team after the game. Notre Dame beat Purdue last year in one of the ugliest games I have ever witnessed. Notre Dame beat Purdue at Purdue last year and now Purdue must come into Notre Dame stadium and play a team they don't know much about. What has changed with Purdue that would lead anyone to believe they will beat Notre Dame this year?

I guess I just don't understand how people in the media can be so uninformed. Notre Dame beat Purdue at Purdue last year. It was an ugly game and they did this with Davie and very little to play for. Everybody, including the team and Davie knew he was getting fired at the end of this game. What would have been the motivation to play well? It was an ugly game and Notre Dame still won the game. Has Purdue improved that much from last year?

As this game always does, it will come down to turnovers, special teams play and big plays. Purdue will move the ball more effectively against Notre Dame than Maryland did. They will likely get the total yardage that Maryland gained in the first half against Notre Dame. They key to stopping Purdue is to pressure the QB but keep the wide receivers in front of you. Notre Dame has outstanding corners and safeties. Purdue has been trying to improve their running game. Notre Dame needs to shut down their running attack. Force Purdue to throw the football and keep everyone in front of you.

The key for Ty and his staff is to improve on offense and defense. They have to be able to run the football this week. They have to continue to give Holiday time to throw the football as well. If Notre Dame can get their ground game going this week, they will win this game. The defense will give up yards but the key is to give up those yards on their side of the 50. If they get into the red zone, force them to attempt a field goal. I have faith the Irish defense can do this.

The media will once again predict a ND loss or a very close game. They will say that Notre Dame doesn't have enough talent to play with the better teams in the Big 10. They will once again be wrong I believe. Notre Dame is much different team. I don't see Purdue being that different. I don't see why the outcome will be any different. Notre Dame 28 Purdue 13.


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