Looking Back at What to Watch for Purdue

Armando Allen runs for 134 yards on 17 carries against PurdueOn Thursday I posted “What to Watch For – Purdue at Notre Dame” with five things I thought would decide the Purdue game.  I’m going to make a post like that each week prior to the game and then follow up with another post on Sunday looking back at how I did.  For this first week, it looks like my five points to watch were dead on.  Maybe I shouldn’t make this a weekly feature and just leave this feature on a high note?

  • Kyle Rudolph over the middle. Notre Dame looked Rudolph’s way early and Clausen nearly hit the freshman tight end for a huge play but his pass was just off target.  Still, Rudolph ended the game with 3 catches for 32 yards and his first career touchdown.  Had Clausen been on target with his first pass to Rudolph, there probably would have been another 30 or 40 yards on that yardage total.
  • The Notre Dame blitz vs. Curtis Painter. Unfortunately Notre Dame did not record a sack on Curtis Painter, but the Irish pass rush did succeed in disrupting Painter’s timing and forcing bad throws.  After four games I don’t think there is a single person more upset that the Irish have just one sack than Jon Tenuta, but at least the pass rush is succeeding in disrupting the quarterbacks timing and forcing bad throws.  Painter had some open receivers that he missed because of the pressure.  I would have liked to see the Irish defense keep Painter under 300 yards passing though.
  • Kory Sheets vs. the Notre Dame Linebackers. Had Purdue stuck with the run early this game could have been a lot more interesting.  Brian Smith came to play and was solid early, but overall the linebackers were not much of a factor and Sheets broke a lot of tackles.  Last week the linebackers were able to stop Javon Ringer behind the line a number of times, but this week Sheets had just 2 negative yards in the game.
  • Michael Floyd. Floyd had the best game of his young career with 6 catches for 100 yards including a career long 38 yard catch.  Floyd was reliable all game and made plays whenever Clausen went his way.  Floyd is going to be a GREAT wide receiver for the Irish for years to come.
  • Armando Allen. I had a hunch that Allen would be a factor against Purdue’s defense and boy did he make me look smart this week.  Allen ran better than we’ve ever seen him run in his time at Notre Dame to the tune of 134 yards on just 17 carries (7.9 average) and his first career rushing touchdown.  Allen ran tough and broke the type of tackles we haven’t seen him break prior to Saturday.  He still had a couple of plays where he missed some clear cut back lanes, but hopefully that is something the coaches can work on with him.

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  1. Very nice improvement all around Irish. The enthusiasm and execution was there. Was it me or did Duval Kumara spend alot of time on the bench where he should be? Maybe the coaches finally told him he’s going to sit until he stops running lazy routes and causing interceptions, oh and also learn how to catch.

    There were quite a few young players who grew up in a hurry last Saturday. Keep it up gentlemen!

  2. One Correction, the Pass over the middle to Rudolph was not technically off target. Rudolph did not run the route correctly. This is often a play where it looks like a bad pass, but Rudolph needs to bend that route toward the middle to give Clausen room to deliver the ball. If you watch the replays, the ball was thrown exactly where Rudolph should have been.

    If Clausen threw that ball on target, It would have been a big play, but it probably would be because we’d have lost another tight end to a head hunting safety.

  3. Yeah, I’m watchfully optimistic. The skilled players on offense turned things up beyond just having good blocking. But the blocking was good and enabled everything else. I want to see the line over the next three weeks. That will tell alot. But I am impressed with how the skill players stepped up their game. The “confidence” they talk about isn’t just in themselves, it seemed to be a trust in each other. That’s a good step forward.

  4. Mad props on the predictions. If Armando and Co. can perform like this regularly, ND won’t be far from a top 15 team. The defense will need to match the offense’s improvement, but if opponents have to throw 50+ a game it’s probably ‘cuz we’re winning. All of this enthusiasm also needs to be tempered by some reality. ND’s offensive production almost exactly matched Purdue’s average defensive performance. On the other hand, if most of the first half wasn’t so fruitless, this could’ve been an epic blowout.

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