Brady Quinn had his best game in an Irish uniform Saturday night. Quinn put it all together in the blowout of Purdue completing 80.5% of his passes for 440 and 3 touchdowns with an interception. Quinn was accurate all night and sliced and diced his way through the Purdue defense.
Quinn led the Irish to over 600 yards of offense in the game and was sharp all night. He moved into 3rd place all time in passing yards at Notre Dame and tied the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass with 10. Quinn is a completely different quarterback than last year and a repeat performance in two weeks will give the Irish more than a fighting chance.
Darius Walker was held under 100 yards for the first time this year, but he could have went over the century mark had he taken a a few pitches upfield instead of dancing around in the backfield. Walker tried to shake and bake a little too much and will get swarmed by a fast USC defense if he does that next week.
Rashon Powers-Neal ran for 2 touchdowns to give him 6 on the season. Powers-Neal also converted a fourth down and goal from the one yard line by running through a tackle for the touchdown. He also added 3 catches for 35 yards. Junior Travis Thomas saw some time in the fourth quarter and responded with a touchdown for the second week in a row. Thomas had 17 yards on carries.
Jeff Samradjiza is making a habit of turning in excellent games. He also had the best catch I have seen out of a Notre Dame wide receiver in years when he sprawled out and snared a Brady Quinn deep pass with 1 hand to set up the first Notre Dame touchdown of the game. Samardjiza now has 8 touchdowns in 5 games and has scored a touchdown in all 5 games this year.
Maurice Stovall had another nice game with 134 yards on 8 catches. Stovall was excellent at turning the short pass into long gains using his stiff arm and speed. There were a few instances where he was just a hair away from taking a couple to the house. Stovall’s only mistake on the night was a drop of a sure touchdown in the 3rd quarter, but its hard to argue about his performance.
The tight ends had a good game with John Carlson catching his first career touchdown and Anthony Fassano adding 30 yards on 2 catches.
Brady Quinn had all day to pass which is what helped him carve up the Purdue defense. The line handled the Purdue defense front all night and kept the talented Ray Edwards out of the Notre Dame backfield. The Boilermakers did blow up a few Notre Dame running plays, but there were holes at times for the Notre Dame running backs.
The front four didn’t get much pressure on Kirsh and had problems containing him in the pocket which led to some nice runs from the Purdue QB. The Irish also didn’t have any pass deflections this week as they have getting in recent weeks.
Trevor Laws did come up with a blocked field goal in the first half which helped the Irish keep the momentum. Derek Landri went down with an injury which hopefully won’t be serious.
Corey Mays caused a huge turnover at the goal to give the Irish their 3rd turnover at the 1 yard line this season. Mays forced a fumble at the goal line which he recovered at the 2 just as Purdue was about to tie the game.
Brandon Hoyte had a pass breakup, but Maurice Crum only ended up with 1 tackle. Overall the linebackers were solid, nothing really spectacular, but nothing really bad either.
For all that was said about Ambrose Wooden last season and over the summer, he has responded with an excellent season so far. Wooden can flat out play and is developing right before our eyes. Early on he went step for step with Purdue’s best receiver and knocked the pass away in the end zone. Wooden also went all out and stopped Purdue at the one yard line saving a touchdown as he did against Michigan with the next play being a fumble and giving ND the ball back.
Mike Richardson made a nice play and recorded his first pick of the year in the 3rd quarter just as Purdue was about to get back into the game. Richardson was out of place on a number of other plays though and nearly got burned deep.
Another concern in the secondary is the play of the safeties in coverage. On the play where Richardson got burned that Kirsch missed, the safeties were no where to be found. This is something that will kill the Irish against USC and has to be addressed in the next two weeks of practice.
I think the Irish have found their kick returner in David Grimes. Grimes had a 40 yard return this week and just looks like a natural out there. He is lightning quick and sees the opening develop.
The Irish also blocked a field goal and had solid punting from DJ Fitzpatrick on the 2 instances that he actually had to punt. The kick coverage however gave up a 67 yard kick return to Dorien Bryant. Coverage has been spotty this year and will also need to be worked on over the next two weeks.
It goes without saying that Weis is showing he lives up to all the hype surrounding his play calling abilities and his abilities at picking up on defensive weaknesses. Weis also has his team prepared each week and that showed this weekend.
Defensively, the Irish made plays at the right time to keep Purdue off the board. Notre Dame had trouble covering the Purdue option at times which led to Purdue first downs. The blitzes that Rick Minter dialed up were fairly ineffective with little pressure on Kirsh. With two weeks to prepare Minter will have some time to come up with a scheme to stop Leinart and the USC offense.