Notre Dame vs. Purdue: Notre Dame Defense Will Be on Display in Big Win

Joseph HealyCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2011

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 03:  Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish calls signals against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. South Florida defeated Notre Dame 23-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will get an easy win over the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday night, but the tone will be set by the defense rather than the offense.

Generally when you talk about blowout wins, you think about high-scoring games and a lot of points. That won't be the case here.

Notre Dame's ferocious defensive front will keep Purdue's offense at bay, leaving Tommy Rees and the offense plenty of room to work with.

For all the talk that the Irish don't have as much talent as they used to, their defense is well-stocked with players that will be playing on Sundays once their college careers are over.

The group is led by linebacker Manti Te'o. The former top-ranked high school recruit has lived up to his billing and then some in South Bend. He has a team-high 41 total tackles, including five tackles for loss. Two of those are sacks.

Darius Fleming and Price Shembo have had roles just as big for the Irish. Fleming leads the team with 2.5 sacks and Shembo has three tackles for loss. They have both been a huge part of Notre Dame's quest to stop the run.

It will help that in this game Saturday, Purdue won't pose much of a threat. Quarterback Caleb TerBush won the starting job before the season began. He hasn't been bad, but he hasn't really made any plays either.

Purdue's strength is in the running game. Ralph Bolden has averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 39 carries and Akeem Shavers has averaged 6.4 yards per carry on 29 carries. Their propensity for running the ball plays right into Notre Dame's strength.

It's not going to be pretty for Purdue on Saturday. Notre Dame is playing with a lot of confidence and they are a bad matchup for the Boilermakers.