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Notre Dame

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Advantage: Notre Dame Notre Dame’s George Atkinson III had two kickoff returns for TDs last year.

College football preview: Notre Dame vs. Purdue

Advantage: Notre Dame Brian Kelly is 2-0 against Purdue.
WoodBolden
Associated Press photos
Advantage: Notre Dame Notre Dame’s running game proved it can control a game when Theo Riddick, above, and George Atkinson III combined for 207 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a win last week over Navy.
Advantage: Purdue Purdue’s Kawann Short, a returning All-Big Ten defensive tackle, collected a sack in the opener. He forms the strength of the Boilers’ defense in the middle with fellow tackle Bruce Gaston.
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Notre Dame vs. Purdue

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Where: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/grass) South Bend

TV: NBC Radio: 1190 AM, 1380 AM, 92.3 FM, 92.7 FM, 107.3 FM

Line: Notre Dame by 14 1/2

Records: No. 22 Notre Dame 1-0; Purdue 1-0

Last game: Notre Dame won 38-10

Series: Notre Dame leads 55-26-2

On the Web: For a video preview for tonight’s game, go to The Journal Gazette’s blogs “Irish Insights” or “Boiling Point” at www.journalgazette.net.

OFFENSE

Notre Dame

Points per game: 50 (13th in NCAA)

Yards per game: 490 (32nd)

Passing yards per game: 197 (68th)

Rushing yards per game: 193 (15th)

The skinny: QB Everett Golson proved he could handle the starting job, throwing for 144 yards with a touchdown and interception in his first start. The running game helped Golson the most as Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III combined to run for 207 yards and 4 TDs as the Irish’s veteran offensive line opened big holes and kept the quarterback clean. Tight end Tyler Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, proved he is the team’s most reliable target with 4 receptions for 22 yards and a TD grab. Notre Dame also spread the ball around in the passing game as 10 players had receptions with Riddick, DeVaris Daniels and TJ Jones each having two catches behind Eifert’s team-leading four.

DEFENSE

Points per game: 10 (18th)

Yards per game: 341 (50th)

Passing yards per game: 192 (42nd)

Rushing yards per game: 149 (60th)

The skinny: Irish linebacker Manti Te’o is leading the charge again as he had his first career fumble recovery and interception in the season opener against Navy. Notre Dame’s front seven kept the Midshipmen’s running game in check, giving up just 3.7 yards per carry. The Irish’s defensive line of Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix III and Kapron Lewis Moore combined for 8 tackles with 4 tackles for loss in the opener. But the Irish will need cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell, who are both first-year starters, to make a big jump from Week 1 to Week 2. Navy was able to throw for 192 yards against the Irish, and Purdue had nearly twice that (372) in its win over Eastern Kentucky.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Field goals: 1 of 1 (T-35th)

Kickoff return avg.: 13 (87th)

Punt return avg.: 11 (38th)

Punting avg.: 33 (75th)

The skinny: Atkinson is a dangerous kickoff returner, scoring 2 TDs last season, and Davonte’ Neal gave the Irish some lift in their punt return with an 11-yard return against Navy. The Irish did miss two extra points in the opener, but Nick Tausch nailed a 34-yard field goal, punter Ben Turk averaged 33 yards on two punts and Kyle Brindza had two touchbacks on kick offs.

COACHES

Brian Kelly

Seasons: 22 (3rd at Notre Dame)

Record: 70-32 at FBS schools

vs. Purdue: 2-0

The skinny: Kelly made the right call by having Golson manage the game and let the running backs do the damage against Navy. Expect more of the same from him Saturday as he goes for a third straight win over Purdue.

PREDICTION

Notre Dame will control the game on the ground. Purdue will hit some big plays in the passing game, but the defense will do enough to hold the Boilers at bay. The Irish win 31-17.

INJURIES

CB Lo Wood (Achilles), TE Alex Welch (knee), S Austin Collinsworth (shoulder), LB Danny Spond (migraine), OL Tate Nichols (knee) out

tkrausz@jg.net

Purdue

Points per game: 48 (22nd)

Yards per game: 547 (16th)

Passing yards per game: 372 (7th)

Rushing yards per game: 175 (51st)

The skinny: Caleb TerBush or Robert Marve? That was the decision coach Danny Hope faced heading into Notre Dame week. Hope didn’t waste any time answering the question, naming TerBush the starting quarterback Monday. TerBush started all 13 games last season, but served a one-game suspension in the opener against Eastern Kentucky for violating team rules. Marve filled in nicely, passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-6 victory against Eastern Kentucky. Marve completed 30 of 38 passes. He also had an interception and a fumble. Rob Henry, the third quarterback in the mix, completed 7 of 9 passes for 77 yards. He had one touchdown, one interception and fumbled once.

Points per game: 6 (9th)

Yards per game: 190 (9th)

Passing yards per game: 85 (10th)

Rushing yards per game: 105 (41st)

The skinny: Purdue held Eastern Kentucky to 190 yards. The Boilermakers recovered two fumbles and also intercepted two passes. Bishop Dwenger graduate Landon Feichter had the first INT. He returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. The interception and touchdown were the first of Feichter’s career at Purdue. The Boilermakers’ strength starts up front. Kawann Short is a returning All-Big Ten defensive tackle. He collected a sack in the opener. Fellow tackle Bruce Gaston had two tackles, one for loss. Defensive end Ryan Russell made four tackles. Purdue also has talent and depth in the secondary. Frankie Williams made a team-high seven tackles on the way to earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

Field goals: 0 for 0

Kickoff return avg.: 28.5 (16th)

Punt return avg.: 7.33 (51st)

Punting avg.: 0 (105th)

The skinny: Raheem Mostert led the nation in kickoff return yards last year, averaging 33.5 yards. He had one return against Eastern Kentucky for 36 yards. Short blocked a field goal and extra point. Purdue had an extra point and one punt blocked. Thomas Meadows handled the kickoff duties, Sam McCartney and Paul Griggs kicked the extra points.

Danny Hope

Seasons: 9 (4th at Purdue)

Record: 17-21 at Purdue

vs. Notre Dame: 0-2

The skinny: Hope was faced with a tough decision at quarterback, but he didn’t let the situation linger. He plans on using all three of the quarterbacks Saturday. How and when the Boilermakers’ rotate them in remains to be seen.

Purdue has to take care of the football. The Boilermakers haven’t won in South Bend since 2004. Purdue keeps it close, but Notre Dame wins 28-21.

OL Patrick Bade (knee) out; RB Ralph Bolden (knee) doubtful

lpope@jg.net

– Tony Krausz, The Journal Gazette – LaMond Pope, The Journal Gazette

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