Purdue Football 2021: Week 3 – #12 Notre Dame

2:30 PM ET


Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana (Cap. 77,622)


Forecast: 78°F, 0% chance of rain, Partly Cloudy, Winds 7mph NE

2021 Record

Purdue (2-0) 

Notre Dame (2-0)

S&P+ Rankings

Purdue – 42

Notre Dame – 23

All-Time Series Wins

Purdue – 26

Notre Dame – 56

Ties – 2

Last Win In Series

September 29th, 2007 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana (33-19)

September 13th. 2014 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana (30-14)

Projected Starting Lineups


QB: Jack Plummer

RB: King Doerue

LT: Greg Long

LG: Spencer Holstege

C: Gus Hartwing

RG: Tyler Witt

RT: Eric Miller

WR: David Bell

WR: TJ Sheffield

WR: Milton Wright

NT: Lawrence Johnson

DT: Branson Deen

DE: George Karlaftis

DE: DaMarcus Mitchell

OLB: Jaylan Alexander

MLB: Kieren Douglas

OLB: Jalen Graham

CB: Cory Trice

FS: Cam Allen

SS: Marvin Grant

CB: Dedrick Mackey

K: Mitchell Fineran

P: Jack Ansell

LS: Nick Zecchino

KR: TJ Sheffield

PR: Jackson Anthrop

Notre Dame

2021 Stat Comparison

PurdueNotre Dame
Offensive Points per game39.536.5
Offensive Rushing Yards Per Game13898.5
Offensive Passing Yards Per Game344341
Total Offensive Yards Per Game482440
Defensive Points per game10.533.5
Defensive Rushing Yards Per Game101198
Defensive Passing Yards Per Game192199.5
Total Defensive Yards Per Game293397

What to Watch For

The Boilers smell blood. It’s been nearly a decade since Purdue last travelled to Notre Dame, even longer since they last beat the Fightin’ Irish back in 2007. The players can smell it. The the fanbase can smell it. Even Notre Dame might even smell it. Blood in the water… and it might just be Irish chum.

At first glance this looks like your typical recent Purdue-Notre Dame matchup. A ranked Notre Dame taking on a Purdue squad that is over matched and over talented across the board. And while that may be true in some instances there are quite a few areas not going well for Notre Dame like they normally should. For instance, a typical Notre Dame squad has a great offensive line, right? Everybody knows that. They’ve been churning out linemen to the NFL like I drink Diet Cokes…alot. But this year the line isn’t so old and experienced as you might think because they churned out 4 offensive linemen into the NFL. The lone returner is Jarrett Patterson at center, to his right is Marshall transfer Cain Madden an 1st team all conference USA pick in 2020. Capping off the right side at tackle is a 5th year who has moved in and out of starting and rotating in his career. But when you go on over to left side is when you see really where their line is inexperienced. Taking over for recently injured true freshman Left Tackle Blake Fishers, is Michael Carmody, a sophomore who only saw action in one game last season in a blowout again South Florida. Inside of Carmody is Zeke Correll, who only had a handful of starts in 2020. Looking for Purdue to take advantage of Notre Dame’s inexperience on the left side of the ball in various ways. First and foremost will be utilizing George Karlaftis, who has been force of nature in the backfield so far this season. But Karlaftis can’t be the only ones in the backfield, it will be crucial for Purdue to sustain a 4-man rush and get some pressure. That means guys like Lawrence John and Branson Deen need to keep being disruptive like they have been. They’re also going to need to get productivity out of the LEO position. Mitchell and Jenkins have a combined 3 pressures on the opposing QB according to PFF, so they need to start producing in the pass rush game with Karlaftis being doubled consistently.

On the back end Purdue will have it’s work cutout for them as Jack Coan has a stellar 69.1 completion percentage and averaged 341 yards through the air in both games. Most of the Notre Dame offense is geared around 6’5″ 250 lbs. Tight End Michael Mayer. Notre Dame will do things like crossers, flood zones and zone beaters all day long for Mayer. They’ll hit him short and they’ll throw it long for him. Of Notre Dame’s 66 pass attempts this year, a third of their targets have been to Mayer. I suspect the task of defending Mayer will be firmly planted in rising junior Jalen Graham’s lap. At 6’3″ 220 lbs, Graham is the right size and type of athlete to really go toe-to-toe with a tight end of Mayer’s caliber, but Purdue will need to mix it up. Maybe see some of the safeties coming down over the top of Mayer.

I mentioned before that Purdue will really need to be able to get a rush out of the front four, because Purdue will want to be able to drop seven as much as they can with a dynamic running back like Kyren Williams coming out of the backfield. Williams actually is third on the list of Notre Dame targets with 9, while wide receiver Kevin Austin sits at 14 and will likely be a marquee matchup with Cory Trice in coverage. Williams really posses a threat out of the backfield on wheel routes and check downs as well as in the screen game. On his 9 receptions he has 128 yards after the catch., which is greater than his 108 total receiving yards. This means he is doing alot of catching the ball in the backfield and churning some serious yards. If Purdue can get pressure with just a 4-man rush it will allow Purdue to not have to bring more pressure with the linebackers. That’s when those big wheel routes and screens kill defenses and guys like Kyren Williams make you pay. Purdue will also need to be prepared for Dual Threat QB Tyler Buchner, who played 19 plays against Toledo for the Irish. Notre Dame showed alot of traditional belly option looks with Buchner and was able to burn the Rockets on pulls, but also burned them through the air with 3 completions for 78 yards and a TD.

On the offensive side of the ball, Purdue is going to have to figure out how to get the rushing attack going without Zander Horvath, who is out for 4-8 weeks after breaking his Fibula against UCONN. King Doerue and Dylan Downing will be pounding the rock for the Boilermakers. King is starting to return to the form he had his freshman year and Downing looks to have some of the best vision Purdue has had in the backfield for awhile. Notre Dame lines up typically in a 3-4 look but will often bring down their VYPER position LB, Isaiah Foskey. Notre Dame generates alot of it’s QB pressure at that position and the DT/DE end positions. Purdue is going to need to be able to handle at the very least the 4 man rush with minimum extra protection, otherwise they will be playing in 12 personnel all day long. Garrett Miller, the second tight end in 12 personnel, is reportedly a game time decision this week and will be crucial should the offensive line not be able to handle the pressure. Irish Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman loves to bring blitzes and show blitzes with his inside linebackers, so the line will need to be sound in communication and execution. On the outside David Bell and Co will lineup against a primarily man coverage secondary, lead by standout safety Kyle Hamilton. The back end as given Notre Dame problems so far in both games, and Purdue will need to exploit that heavily come Saturday. The trio of Plummer, Bell and Durham are going to need to play at a very high level and push the offense down the field.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Two general game trends that are going to likely determine the outcome of this game: turnover ratio and third down efficiency. Both teams are going to be able to move the ball offensively, the question will be how often and how quick defenses will be able to get off the field.


Radio: Purdue Radio Network


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