College football action on Saturday afternoon and we will see the Big 10 square off against an Independent squad as the Purdue boilermakers grapple with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Both teams enter this game at 2p-0 on the year. These teams last met back in 2014 and the Irish won that game at home by a score of 30-14.
Purdue Tames The HuskiesWell, the UConn Huskies were already pretty tame. Still, it was a beat down by the Boilermakers as they won by a score of 49-0 and they covered the 35 points that they were favored in the process. The Boilermakers are not expected to make much hay in the Big 10 Conference, but at least they are off to a 2-0 start overall. This will be their toughest test yet as their other game was against Ohio. We do note that Purdue started last year at 2-0 before losing their last four games to finish 2-4 on the season.
The Boilermakers had a very good offensive showing against the Huskies as they piled up 563 yards of total offense, including 375 yards through the air. Purdue is now 10th in the nation in passing at 344 ypg, but they will be facing a solid Notre Dame pass defense that has allowed less than 200 ypg passing so far. Jack Plummer threw for 245 yards with four TDs and no INTs against the Huskies and he now has six TDs and no INTs on the year. It will not be that easy for him in this one.
The running game could alleviate some of the pressure for Plummer as the Irish have had their issues stopping the run so far, ranking 107th in the nation in that department so far. Purdue ran for 188 yards on the Huskies with King Doerue leading the way at 74 yards and a TD while Dylan Downing had 72 yards. The defense has nine starters back this year and they allowed just 223 yards in the win over the Huskies, but facing a UConn offense is nothing like facing a very good Notre Dame offense. The Boilermakers are 38th in the nation in yards allowed per game at 293, but they will be tested in this one.
Notre Dame Survives A Scare From ToledoThe Notre Dame Fighting Irish started the year ranked 9th in the nation but some around the sports world felt that they were not worthy of that ranking. They are starting to show that some of the Pundits were right. In week one, Notre Dame struggled to put away a Florida State team that went on to lose to an FCS squad last week. Speaking of late week, the Irish needed a last-minute drive to topple Toledo, which is a team from the MAC. The Irish were favored by 17 points in the game and did not come close to coving that number in the contest. Notre Dame will have to play much better than they have if they hope for a return trip to the playoffs, especially since they have some very tough games coming up, like Wisconsin next week.
Notre Dame beat Toledo by a score of 32-29, thanks to an 18-yard TD pass from Jack Coan, to Mike Mayer with 1:09 left in the game. Coan has fit in nicely in the early going, throwing for 605 yards with six TDs and two INTs on the year. He Threw for 239 yards with two TDs and an INT against the Rockets. The Irish come in ranked 11th in the nation in passing at 341.5 ypg after ranking 57th last year at 237.5 ypg. So far so good for Coan and his favorite target in the early going has been Mayer, who has 16 catches for 201 yards and three TDs.
The Irish could use some help from a ground game that ranked 21st in the nation last year at 217.6 ypg. This year, they have averaged just 98.5 ypg rushing, which is 112th in the land. Just think how much better Coan would be with a running game. The problem for the Irish has been the defense, which was expected to be one of the better in the nation. They have allowed 347 ypg and 19.7 ppg or less in each of the last three years, but have given up 33.5 ppg and 397.5 ypg through the first two games. The defensive line was projected as a top 20 unit in the nation but the Irish have struggled to stop the run, allowing 198 ypg, which is 107th in the land. Notre dame needs to get its defense on the same page as the offense, or they will not make the NCAA Playoffs this year.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight-up win of more than 20 points
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Notre Dame is:
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 7-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I have to believe that the Irish have not played their best ball so far. I do think they are much better than they have shown and I will look for them to have a complete game in this one. Yes, Purdue is 2-0, but their two wins were against Ohio and UConn, which are not exactly powerhouses. I am fully aware that the Irish have not played that strong of a schedule, but they have faced much tougher competition than a team like UConn, which Purdue beat 49-0 last week. Notre Dame has a strong offense and their defense is far better than it has shown in the early going. I do not see the Boilermakers scoring enough to keep this one close. Because Notre Dame has struggled in their first two games, I do not see them looking ahead to next week's game against Wisconsin. They will be focused on this one and win by at least 10 points.
Full-Game Total Pick
Notre Dame has been excellent on offense so far while struggling on defense and that has led to a couple of high-scoring games. I do not see this one following suit. The Irish have been pass-happy in the early going, but I expect them to seek a bit more balance and that means getting the running game involved, which will chew up plenty of the clock. Purdue has thrown the ball very well, but Notre Dame has one of the better secondaries in the nation and they have allowed less than 200 ypg through the air so far. Overall, I will look for the Notre Dame defense to have its best showing yet, which will also keep the scoring down. The Under is 14-6 in Purdue's last 20 road games and 9-2 in Notre Dame's last 11 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.