Notre Dame's Young Playmakers Earning the Irish Some Respect

OC DomerCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2008

Before we move on to Stanford, I wanted to lay out very quickly my impressions following Saturday's encouraging win over Purdue.

I haven't gone back to dig out the stats to prove this point (I really need an intern here at OC Domer), but the game seemed to me to be the most balanced and complete overall game played by the Irish since playing Army on Nov. 18, 2006. You may need to go back further than that if you factor in the overall quality of the opponent, since Purdue in 2008 is better than Army of 2006.

The Irish had a terrific run/pass mix (40 rush, 39 pass) and were impressively effective in both modes (5.0 yards per rush, 7.9 yards per pass attempt, 13.8 yards per pass completion). Notre Dame did not turn the ball over via fumble or interception, only allowed one quarterback sack, and went 3-of-4 in the red zone.

The Irish outplayed Purdue in both the punting game (net yards per punt: ND 42, PU 39.2) and the kicking game (net yards per kickoff: ND 51, PU 38.8) and won the field-position battle with an average starting field position (ASFP) of the 29-yard line compared to Purdue's ASFP of the 21-yard line.

The defense did give up some yards and a few points, but held Purdue's pass-happy attack to fewer total yards than the Irish (462 vs. 476) and scored a defensive touchdown on a Robert Blanton 47-yard interception return for a TD.

All in all, it was a very good day to be Irish.

There were four themes that popped into my head as I thought about the Purdue game: Playmakers, Youth, Respect, and Maturity. I'll hit briefly on each one.

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