Notre Dame Football: Close Win over Purdue Doesn't Bode Well for Irish

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Notre Dame Football: Close Win over Purdue Doesn't Bode Well for Irish
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't the prettiest win for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday night, and that's not a good sign for the rest of the season.

After being down 10-17 heading into the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers, the Irish scored three straight touchdowns and ended up winning the game by a score of 31-24.  Tommy Rees had a solid game, going 20-of-33 with 309 yards and two touchdowns.

Other than the good game from Rees and the 34-yard pick-six from Bennett Jackson, there wasn't a lot to like about this game.

The rushing attack struggled quite a bit, which was surprising considering the Boilermakers allowed 221 yards on the ground against the Cincinnati Bearcats in their opener.  

Notre Dame Rushing Attack
Player Carries Yards YPC TD
C. McDaniel 16 56 3.5 1
G. Atkinson III 5 27 5.4 0
A. Carlisle 11 16 1.5 0
G. Bryant 1 2 2.0 0
Team 37 91 2.5 1

ESPN.com

It is really strange that the Irish couldn't average more than three yards per carry, considering they averaged more than five yards per attempt in their first two games.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The bigger concern was the lack of defense.  The Boilermakers put up 294 total yards of offense and 24 points.  Purdue quarterback Rob Henry, who had thrown two interceptions and zero touchdowns through the first two games, had a big game.  He went 25-of-40 with 256 yards along with three touchdowns and an interception.

The Boilermakers' offense wasn't good in their first two games.  They put up 27 total points and just over 500 yards of offense.  To make matters worse, one of those games was against Indiana State, an FCS school that gave up 73 points and 632 yards of offense against the Indiana Hoosiers.

All of this happened against a weaker team, and it's not going to get any better.  The Irish will be playing their next four games against Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State and USC.  They also end the regular season against the Stanford Cardinal.

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The good news so far this season is Tommy Rees has done a good job replacing Everett Golson.  He's thrown for 969 yards and seven touchdowns with only two interceptions through three games.  He's thrown for more than 300 passing yards in every game so far.

Still, there are a number of concerns on this team, and they're going to have to turn it around quickly when going up against some very good teams.  If they don't, there's a chance they win just five or six games this season.

This isn't the same team that went to the national championship last year, and they're going to need to fix some things if they want to go to a quality bowl game in 2013.

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