The Eye in the Sky - 2nd Half

Part II of our breakdown of the Irish offense in Saturday's victory over Purdue

Below is our breakdown of each second half offensive series for the Irish vs. Purdue. For the first half breakdown, click here.

Second Half/First Notre Dame Drive

Breakdown: Dayne Crist at QB. Eight plays, 28 yards, 5:20 time of possession. One penalty on the Irish. The drive ended at midfield with a Maust 32 yard punt (brought back 18 yards by Aaron Valentin). ND 17 Purdue 7

Offensive Line: Trevor Robinson and Sam Young help open a huge hole on the right side for a Jonas Gray 8-yard gain. Same play, after a nice chip on the Boilers' DT, center Eric Olsen misses Purdue's MLB in space…Paul Duncan with a solid block to help spring Tate for 7 yards in the Wildcat…Chris Stewart and Robinson with solid blocks for another Wildcat run (called back by penalty)…top-notch blocking by Duncan (stoning his defender) and Stewart on a 6-yard gain by Gray behind the left side…Excellent pull block by Robinson on a toss right; it appeared Olsen couldn't find anyone to block, though there was traffic (ND players) in Olsen's pull-lane.

'Backs and Receivers: Freshman Shaquelle Evans opens the half with a nice in-line crack-back (short gain for Gray)…Crist sneaks for four yards on 3rd and 1 (unless its his first snap of the game, there's no reason not to insert the powerfully-built Crist on future short-yardage sneaks…Ragone executes a nice block in space to help Tate gain 7 yards from the Wildcat formation…I didn't see what Duval Kamara did wrong on his first illegal formation penalty…3-WR, delayed draw to Tate (halfback) was destroyed by DE Ryan Kerrigan, who played an excellent game.

Tight Ends: Bobby Burger (as off-set fullback) gets just enough of Purdue's MLB to neutralize him on Gray's 6-yard run. That's a tough "seek and find" assignment for Burger…Rudolph had trouble securing the edge on a Gray toss right though Gray could have cut back with more authority on the run.

Second Half/Second Drive

Breakdown: Crist at QB. 13 plays, 42 yards, 6:20 time of possession. One penalty for the Irish. The drive ended with a 4th and 10 sack of Dayne Crist for a 7-yard loss at the Purdue 41-yard line. ND 17 Purdue 7

Offensive Line: Stewart a bit slow on first-play block or Hughes could have had a nice gain (gained 3)…Both Young and Robinson with strong blocks at the point of attack to allow Hughes 5 yards on 3rd and 2…Duncan a bit slow on a kick out and his LB tracks Tate for a limited gain…Stewart and Duncan both execute draw blocks well…good push by the left side tandem again on a 4-yard Hughes carry…Hughes probably should have cut back on a toss left but it was nice to see him stay up through three hits (no gain)… Why not punt on 4th and 10 from the 34-yard line with your backup QB? Robinson (not Sam Young as noted by the game announcers) lost his block (again one-on-one with Kerrigan inside) and the Purdue star forced and sacked Crist.

'Backs and Receivers: Again, I'm not sure why Kamara was called for illegal formation on this drive. Incidentally, Kamara threw a solid block on the play, as did Rob Parris outside…Hughes had one man to beat/run over in the hole but was unable to shake him on 5-yard draw run…nice call by Weis on the 2nd and 11 delayed bootleg from Crist to Rudolph for 12 yards…Kamara needs to look the ball into his hands (second drop of the day from Crist)…Crist fired a quick look to Tate and the Irish playmaker makes his man miss for a 12-yard gain…nice backside pursuit by Kerrigan to trip up Crist (incomplete/grounding pass - not called) but a full-sprint and more decisiveness from Crist would have resulted in a gain…five Irish blockers vs. disguised 8-man box by Purdue stops Hughes for no gain on 3rd and 10…Parris might have had a step on the skinny post on the failed (sack) 4th and 10.

Tight Ends: Burger was wide-open (on the line) as an outlet but Crist stepped up and found Hughes for five yards on 2nd and 7…Burger is an excellent lead blocker from the off-set I formation, leading Hughes through the hole for 5 yards on 3rd and 2…Ragone with a fantastic block on a Tate stretch run to the right (called back due to penalty)…tremendous block on MLB during Hughes' 5-yard gain on draw run… delay to safety valve Burger gains 9 yards on 3rd and 6…

Fourth Quarter/First Drive

Breakdown: Following a 10-play, 59-yard touchdown drive by the Boilers, the Irish manage just three plays, negative two yards, 1:11 time of possession. (Crist remained at QB). The drive ended in a Maust punt from the Irish 30. Purdue gained 15 yards on a kick-catching interference penalty on Irish Safety Harrison Smith. ND 17 Purdue 14

Offensive Line: Great protection on first-play play-action (overthrown bomb to Tate)…terrible, lazy footwork by Duncan on the 3rd and 10 screen to Jonas Gray and it might have gone for a significant gain (needed just one block).

'Backs and Receivers: Pretty bad miss by Crist to a wide-open Tate deep. Any air under the ball and that's an easy touchdown.

Tight Ends: Neither Ragone nor Kamara seal the edge on a left-side stretch run by Tate for a loss of two yards.

Fourth Drive/Second Drive

Breakdown: After a Walls diving interception, the Irish forged just one yard on three plays (1:38 time of possession). Jimmy Clausen returns at Quarterback. ND 17 Purdue 14

Offensive Line: Sam Young blocked down to double Ryan Kerrigan (probably a good idea) but no one picked up the outside rush to Young's right side. It looked like Young's mistake as there was no back (empty backfield) to help Clausen. Young is badly beaten by a Kerrigan edge rush (holding called) but the ND screen to Hughes gains just three yards and the Irish are forced to punt. Duncan showed terrible footwork on 3rd down and was also badly beaten on the backside by the "club-move" as Duncan was tossed aside on an inside pass rush by 235-pound RDE Gerald Gooden.

'Backs and Receivers: "Empty" backfields + turf toe = obvious pressure. Clausen is sacked for a 5-yard loss on 2nd and 7.

Tight Ends: Kerrigan dominates a double-team block by Ragone and Rudolph (Wow) to drop Hughes for a three yard gain on a toss left.

Fourth Quarter/Game-Winning Drive

Breakdown: Trailing 21-17, with 3:41 remaining in the contest, the Irish drove 72 yards in 12 plays (3:16 time of possession). The drive culminated in a 4th-and-Goal, Clausen to Rudolph game-winning touchdown strike.

Offensive Line: Kerrigan collapses Sam Young on 1st and 5 to start the drive…Duncan allows Gooden the edge and Clausen is sacked for an 8-yard loss, setting up 3rd and 14 with 1:21 remaining…Tremendous protection (credit Verducci/Weis for chips/help on Gooden and Kerrigan on this play) on 3rd down as Clausen has all day to find Parris for the 1st down out-route…Olsen unable to execute his block to spring Hughes for a would-be 2nd down touchdown (Hughes gained two yards to the Purdue 2-yard line)…Perfect blocking vs. four-man rush on the game's final play.

'Backs and Receivers: A gimpy Clausen shifts to his right to avoid Kerrigan and fires strike to Tate (first square-in of the day) for a 12-yard gain…Hughes spins to gain four yards but no crack-back by Tate allows the easy open-field tackle. Kamara was a tad late on his (effective) block as well…play of the year by Robby Parris (for at least the next minute) on his 3rd and 14 out-route reception for the first down...1st down fade (out of the end zone) to Tate was a bit ill-advised but likely set up Tate's 2nd down comeback catch and run for 17 yards to the Purdue 4-yard line (CB David Pender bailed way too quickly on the route)…Either Parris was held on the incomplete first down square-in or he wildly overreacted to the play…Note: I was stunned to hear Weis was planning to spike the ball on THIRD DOWN with 36 seconds remaining prior to Purdue coach Danny Hope's ill-advised timeout call. With Jimmy Clausen running the show, you have to trust him to throw a quick pass into the end zone/not take a sack (thankfully this is irrelevant)…terrible route by Kamara on 3rd down and then offered no help to Clausen on the scramble. Parris ran a non-threatening fade route (was this possibly going to be thrown?) as well with Rudolph (curiously) staying in to block.

Tight Ends: After delaying at the line, Rudolph slipped undetected to the right side (whoops) and a scrambling Clausen finds him for a 22-yard catch-and-run. This appeared to be Kerrigan's zone blitz coverage responsibility, but Kerrigan shifted to the middle (at least he did something wrong).

Final Play: Two-TE with Ragone helping Sam Young vs. Kerrigan on the right side. Tate alone far right had double coverage; Kamara near left (ran a back of the end zone square-in "dig" route behind Rudolph and broke open). Rudolph, detached-left, runs a turn-in, then back out just two yards into the end zone, and Clausen fired a rocket shot to the tight end's chest for the game-winning score. Boiler Up…

Final Score: Notre Dame 24 Purdue 21

Second Half Personal Groupings (includes penalized plays):

  • Three-Wide Receiver Sets: 21 Note: Includes TE Kyle Rudolph often lined up as a fourth "wide receiver" off the line of scrimmage and the entire final drive with the exception of the game-winning touchdown.
  • Two-Tight End Sets: 8, including the game-winning TD
  • Four-Wide Receiver Sets: 1 (sack in empty set on immobile Clausen)
  • Off-Set I-Formation (Bobby Burger as FB): 7
  • Wild-Cat (Golden Tate as "QB"): 4 Top Stories