10 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know About Purdue
Finally, just over a week until kickoff which means that the analyzing and the predicting is over. It's almost time for the players to play it out on the field and the rest is history.
Before that happens, however, my job is to make sure that all the Notre Dame fans are fully educated in the Irish opponent for the September 4th match-up.
That opponent just so happens to be rival, Purdue. So, here are the top 10 things that you, as a Notre Dame fan, need to know about the Boilermakers.
Joey Elliot Graduated
Last year's starting quarterback after throwing for over 3,000 yards last season and 22 touchdowns.
He had a solid performance last season, including their shocking defeat over Ohio State. His leadership and experience will obviously be missed as Robert Marve tries to replace him.
We'll talk more about him later.
Coach Danny Hope Enters Second Season
After replacing long time coach Joe Tiller, Danny Hope fared pretty well in his first season in Lafeyette. His 4-4 Big Ten record was decent, but the win over Ohio State that I will probably mention over 700 times in this piece was a great mark to make for a first year coach.
He comes back this year with a full season under his belt and more experience. Last season he had his team very prepared for the Irish. We all remember that close game that the Irish narrowly escaped with a win.
He's proved that he can do more with less in his first year with Purdue with the win over Ohio State and Michigan. The losses against Northern Illinois, MInnesota, and Northwestern need to go away though.
Experience helps that out a lot.
Two Biggest Questions: Secondary and Defense
The Boilermakers enter the season with two big question marks: the secondary and offensive line.
One defense, despite a tough front seven, the secondary replaces four starts and the inexperience will show up in the game against Notre Dame. The secondary will be crucial in the match-up against the Irish.
As for offense, the line really needs to get going as they have to replace three starters as well. With a new quarterback and a new running back because of the injury (I'll talk about both of these later) the offensive line with be critical.
Which Purdue Will Show Up?
Last year it seemed like there were two different Purdue teams; the one that beat Ohio State, Michigan, and took Notre Dame to the last second, and then the one who lost to Northwestern, Northern Iowa, and Minnesota.
If they plan to play with Notre Dame this year, it's going to have to be the better of those two. If they just come out and go through the motions, Notre Dame's offense will dominate them on both sides of the ball.
That said, I think Purdue will come and be ready to play. With Coach Hope in his second year, he should have learned a lot more in how to motivate and have his players ready.
Best Defensive Players: Ryan Kerrigan, Jason Werner
Entering his sixth season at Purdue, Jason Werner will definitely be a leader on this team. Last year he was 25th in the country in total tackles and was a leader on the team already.
He is already named a team co-captain for this year's team and will be a central element on this tough front-seven.
And, another key player on the front seven will be Ryan Kerrigan after a great season last year. He recorded 13 sacks last season, including three against Ohio State. Having three against Ohio State just goes to show that he can play with the best of them.
Kerrigan should be in for another fantastic season.
Best Offensive Player: Keith Smith
Catching 91 passes last season for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns, Keith Smith was a key contributor for the offense last season. Now, with a new quarterback, he should be a target on a lot of other throws and will be the number one receiver.
Last year was a good one for Smith, but this year will be even better.
They Beat Ohio State Last Year
I promise that this is the last time that I'll mention it. I just can't say it enough.
It showed so much out of this team to go out there and beat a top 10 team in the whole country. If they can string together more performances like that, they can be bowl bound this season.
It's just going to take a lot of effort and a little bit of luck for that to happen.
No, I didn't just randomly upload a picture of an old Miami quarterback. This is Robert Marve, the new quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers. After sitting out because of the transfer rule and an injury, Marve is finally ready to take over.
A lot of Purdue fans are excited about him, being from Miami and all. Yet, they have a valid point. Marve is a talented quarterback and will most likely have a good season this year.
That said, it is his first year starting at Purdue and he will have a mediocre offensive line.So, he has some obstacles to hurdle before we can discuss going to a bowl.
Ralph Bolden Jr. Is Out
Last season's starting runningback would have a great season to look for had he not gone out with an injury. He was the first Purdue runningback to be named to the Second Team All-Big 10 since Mike Alstott in 1995. He was third in the Big 10 in rushing touchdowns and had a fantastic season.
However, he went down with a torn ACL and is done. So, that leaves it up to Al-Terek McBurse. While McBurse is a very talented player, it will be very difficult to replace Bolden, even if he has a good season.
Past Performances Against Notre Dame
The trophy in the picture is what they play for and the game is usually a good one.
2009- Who can forget this classic? Notre Dame scored very, very late in the game to escape with a 24-21 win.
2008- Notre Dame came out firing on all cylinders and won the 38-21 shootout.
2007- Purdue defeated Notre Dame 33-19.
2006- Notre Dame defeated Purdue in a game that was closer than the score shows. The Irish came out on top 35-21.
However, this year is a new chapter. Who's going to take that trophy come September 4th?