First Notre Dame Drive/3rd Quarter:
Breakdown: The Irish defense held Purdue on three plays to start the half, then took possession at the Boilermakers 30-yard line following a career-best 38-yard punt return by Armando Allen. Possession begins with 12:32 remaining in the 3rd Quarter. Notre Dame 13 Purdue 3 ... Full collection of Irish starters return to begin the 2nd Half. Cierre Wood entered for Armando Allen on the second snap.
- (3-wide far left/Rudolph split near right): Dayne Crist hits Michael Floyd on a quick out from the left slot for a gain of 7 yards. Head coach Brian Kelly wisely looked to get Floyd more involved early in the 2nd Half.
- (2-Wides far right/Rudolph offset right/Floyd solo near left): A sprint-option handoff from Crist to Cierre Wood gains 13 yards down to the Purdue 10-yard line. A well-executed fake by Crist (he froze three linebackers) helped Wood at the second level but it was the point-of-attack blocking of LT Zack Martin and yet another pulling cut block by C Braxston Cave (see 1st Quarter review) that opened the gaping hole for the first-year runner. Chris Stewart also executed his backside block as did Trevor Robinson from right guard. Right tackle Taylor Dever received help from Rudolph vs. Ryan Kerrigan. Wood did not make the final tackler, Logan Link, miss in space.
- (Empty backfield/2-wides far right/Rudolph offset right/Floyd and Riddick near left): Crist fakes a handoff to Theo Riddick (coming in front of Crist) from left to right; the keeper results in a 2-yard gain to set up 2nd and 8 at the Purdue 6-yard line. Crist, who delivered a blow to backup middle linebacker Chris Carlino on the carry, has gained just 3 yards on two designed keepers to this point, though he did record a 13-yard gain on a scramble in the opening period.
- (Pair of receivers split wide to both sides/Rudolph detached right with Floyd far right): An immediate swing pass to Wood gives him the ball in open space but safety Albert Evans breaks down with a form tackle to hold Wood to a 3-yard gain, setting up 3rd and Goal from the Purdue 5 yard line.
- (Floyd/Rudolph split near right/Jones, Wood, Riddick split far left): Crist reads man-to-man coverage right and fires a square-in strike to T.J. Jones for the freshman's first career touchdown. Nothing annoys me more than a defensive coordinator who employs man coverage vs. three same-side receivers in close…double-whammy on third and goal. Backup CB Mike Eargle had no chance vs. Jones.
- Notre Dame 20 Purdue 3
Second Notre Dame Drive/3rd Quarter:
Breakdown: ND took possession at their own 45-yard line with 8:04 remaining in the period. Notre Dame 20 Purdue 3
- (2-Wides far left/Rudolph tight left/Floyd solo near right): Armando Allen gains 5 yards up the gut, squeezing behind Cave and Stewart blocks. Each Irish lineman won his assignment, though Stewart, after chipping the defensive tackle, failed to get out to middle linebacker Dwayne Beckford who made the stop.
- (Same Formation): Crist fires a sideline fade to Michael Floyd for a 34-yard gain down the right side. Floyd made the catch despite interference by freshman Ricardo Allen (who played a good game). Nice pocket by the Irish vs. a four-man Boilers rush. The throw made Crist 16-20 for 172 yards at the time.
- (Same Formation): Allen is stopped for no gain by defensive end Gerald Gooden. Gooden simply defeated Taylor Dever at the point (the only poor effort I can remember by the first-time starting right tackle at this point). Robinson and Cave won at the point, Stewart and Martin the same on pulling blocks from left to right (excellent job by Martin).
- (Pair of wides split to both sides with Rudolph and Floyd left): On 2nd and 10 from the Purdue 16-yard line, Crist hits Floyd for an 8-yard slant on the far left. Floyd, en route to the end zone or at least a collision at the goal line, fumbled without contact while splitting defenders, then took an injury to insult shot from safety Albert Evans as the ball bounced to the turf inside the 3-yard line. Purdue's Logan Link recovered the miscue. Poor concentration by Floyd on a perfect pass vs. the exact coverage Kelly & Co. had hoped for.
Third Quarter Observations:
- T.J. Jones could be a quality third option – he'll be a lights out No. 4 if Theo Riddick can emerge as the season progresses.
- Floyd's fumble was his third mistake inside the opponents' 15-yard line in Notre Dame's last five contests. (Coinciding with his initial return from injury last November).
- For one block (Gooden's tackle on Allen above) Dever resembled Irish right tackles of season's past….
- The Irish possessed the football for only 3:44 in the 3rd Quarter.
End of 3rd Quarter: Notre Dame 20 Purdue 3
Note: The 4th Quarter review will be published shortly.