Yes, Notre Dame will win this game. No, I'm not under the influence of anything. Purdue's defense has been anything but great. Notre Dame's running game actually improved last week. Without Anthony Spencer, the Irish will have a huge chance to upset the 4-0 Boilermakers.
Purdue gave up 31 points to Minnesota last week. I repeat. MINNESOTA. No matter how bad Notre Dame's offense has been, they aren't Minnesota. Notre Dame's offense is talented enough to score a lot of points. The Irish's run game has been gaining steam lately. The switch from speed backs like Junior Jabbie and Armando Allen to power backs like James Aldridge and Robert Hughes has been a great decision. The Purdue defense has absolutely no bright points in its run defense. No improvement has been made. Last year, Darius Walker put up 150 rushing yards on them. James Aldridge and Robert Hughes could do serious damage.
Curtis Painter is very good, but this isn't the Notre Dame pass defense from last year. Corwin Brown has helped this unit tremendously. Terrail Lambert and Darrin Walls have been great in shutting down the receivers, and David Bruton and Tom Zbikowski has helped over the middle. The pass defense won't be as big of an issue as last year.
John Ryan and Anthony Vernaglia need to shut the outside off for Kory Sheets. The outside linebackers have been focusing on the sack. That needs to stop. Trust the line to put pressure on the QB. Ryan and Vernaglia aren't the right players for the 3-4. They need to make up for it with their defense. They have missed too many tackles over the past four games. 1-4 is an option, but Vernaglia and Ryan need to do their part.
This game will be the swing game for the Irish. If they win, they could make it to a bowl at 6-6. If they don't, they are looking at 4-8 or even worse. The momentum of this game could carry into UCLA and even USC. This game could be the biggest one of these young players' careers. They can't blow this. With that being said, here is the final score.
Notre Dame-24, Purdue-20
Notre Dame scores on two touchdown runs by James Aldridge and a Jimmy Clausen pass to David Grimes. Curtis Painter throws two to Dorien Bryant. Notre Dame wins big, and they look to Boston College next week. I am liking this matchup. GO IRISH!!!