Notre Dame Hosts In-State Rival Purdue Boilermakers

By: Michael Robinson | Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish try to build on a solid opening performance when they host their in-state rival Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon.

NBC will have the 3:30 p.m. (ET) broadcast from historic Notre Dame Stadium. These campuses are only about a 2½-hour drive from each other, so there should be some Boilermakers fans mixed in as well.

The Don Best Pro Odds screen has the Fighting Irish as 14½-15 point favorites with a total of 51½. They’re ranked No. 22 in both the AP and Coaches Poll, while the Don Best Linemakers Poll has a much higher opinion of them at tied-for 13th.

Notre Dame has won the last four meetings (2-2 ATS) against Purdue, including 38-10 as 11-point road favorites last year. The road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight overall and the ‘under’ is 4-1-1 in the last six.

Notre Dame is feeling good about themselves after a 50-10 win over Navy last Saturday as 14½-point favorites. That game was played in Dublin, Ireland and marked the college debut of quarterback Everett Golson. The redshirt sophomore acquitted himself nicely overall, albeit with modest numbers (12-of-18 for 144 yards, one TD and one INT).

Golson was starting because junior Tommy Rees was suspended after an offseason arrest. Coach Brian Kelly will go with Golson again this week by all indications, with Rees battling for the backup job with Andrew Hendrix.

Running back was another big question heading into Navy with star Cierre Wood suspended for the first two games after violating team rules. However, the combination of senior Theo Riddick and sophomore George Atkinson III accounted for four touchdowns and over 200 rushing yards.

The Irish defense returned seven starters from last year and was ready for the Navy triple-option attack, holding the run game to 149 yards on 40 attempts (3.7 ypc).

Purdue has been dealing with a quarterback suspension of its own. Senior Caleb TerBush was held out of last Saturday’s season opener against FCS Eastern Kentucky for a violation of team rules. He will start against Notre Dame and was solid last season (1,905 passing yards, 61.7 percent completions) in his first year as a full-time starter.

The Boilermakers didn’t have much trouble against Eastern Kentucky, winning 48-6 as 20-point home favorites (547-190 advantage in total yards). Sixth-year senior Robert Marve was 30-of-38 for 295 passing yards and three TDs. He looks to be a good backup option if TerBush makes another off-the-field mistake.

Coach Danny Hope had his first winning season at Purdue last year at 7-6 (6-6-1 ATS) after a combined 9-15 SU (11-12-1 ATS) his first two. He wants to see his team dramatically cut down on the five turnovers from last week. That many miscues won’t get it done against a top-25 Division I program like Notre Dame.

The Purdue defense also returned seven starters from last year and is under a new coordinator in Tim Tibesar. The loss of Wood and the inexperience of Golson have to give the ‘D’ a lot of confidence heading into Saturday.

Look for TerBush to test a Notre Dame secondary that has questions at corner with Lo Wood (Achilles) gone for the year. Navy is not known for its passing attack and still threw at 192 yards.

Purdue looks to have value as over a two-touchdown ‘dog.

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