Purdue vs. Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Will Continue Hot Start vs. Boilermakers

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 8, 2012

Sep 1, 2012; Dublin, IRELAND; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o (5) celebrates after Notre Dame defeated the Navy Midshipmen 50-10 at Aviva Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame hasn't proven itself as a Top 25 team yet, but the Fighting Irish showed a lot of promise in their 50-10 victory over Navy in Week 1 of the 2012-2013 college football season.

Keep in mind, the Fighting Irish defeated Navy, 56-14, last season and they still went on to a rather disappointing 8-5 campaign. They didn't show promise in Week 1 just by dominating Navy. 

But Notre Dame did show promise as far as development goes.

We all know a main problem for the Fighting Irish last season was their quarterback play. Their quarterbacks, specifically Tommy Rees, racked up turnovers at an alarming rate.

Sophomore Everett Golson is now the starter for the Fighting Irish. Against Navy, he went 12-of-18 for 144 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The interception may give Notre Dame fans cause for concern, but he did enough elsewhere to make a difference in Week 1.

Golson spread the ball around to 10 different receivers against Navy as his receivers combined to average 12.3 yards per catch. While it wasn't a dominant display, it did show that this offense could be multi-dimensional. And, if all else fails, remember that Golson can run the ball.

Even if Golson is shaky early on, the Notre Dame running game and defense figures to make life a whole lot easier on him (and head coach Brian Kelly, for that matter).

The Fighting Irish rushed for 293 yards and five touchdowns in Dublin. Senior Theo Riddick rushed for a grand total of 63 yards and zero touchdowns last season—he rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns against Navy. There was also sophomore George Atkinson III, who rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 after rushing for 27 yards last season.

Again, this shows these players have been progressing and have stepped up when finally given a chance to legitimately contribute. Kelly entered this season on a bit of a hot seat, but the progress of these players shows he's done something right.

Beyond that, Notre Dame forced four turnovers, including an interception by star linebacker Manti Te'o and sacks by defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Kona Schwenke and linebacker Prince Shembo. 

Notre Dame defeated Purdue, 38-10, last season. Don't be surprised if the score is similar come Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.


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