Quick halftime thoughts from Purdue-Notre Dame
It's 7-7 at the half...
The Irish have opened things up for Everett Golson, and the redshirt freshman has responded in a big way. He's in complete command of the offense, sidestepping pressure when necessary -- he made a nifty shifty move on a blitz before hitting Niklas on a 30-yard strike on the run during the second-quarter touchdown drive -- and is throwing a nice deep ball (though he should have had DaVaris Daniels on a touchdown instead of a 41-yard gain setting up the TD; the ball was underthrown). He's looking exactly like the quarterback Brian Kelly wanted/needed/craved for this offense.
Notre Dame's defense did a relatively sound job against the run. There were simply no holes for Akeem Shavers until the final drive of the half, when the Boilermakers line finally managed to open up some holes.
After rushing for nearly 300 yards against Navy, the Irish can't do much on the ground against Purdue's stout defensive line. Of course, they're not trying terribly hard, with only six actual handoffs in the half. Twenty-one rushing yards total.
Kapron Lewis-Moore was hurt on Purdue's first drive and didn't return. An athletic trainer was working on his leg, and KLM spent most of the half standing on the sidelines, flexing it.
Both Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve looked relatively sharp against the Irish defense, with nearly identical stats (TerBush was 6-of-11 for 52 yards, Marve was 6-of-10 for 53 yards). But what really hurt the Irish was their third-down defense. Purdue converted on 6-of-11 third downs, including the touchdown and a third-and-9, a third-and-8, and a third-and-7.
Kelly said he wasn't concerned about the kicking game. He should have been. Kyle Brindza (not Nick Tausch) missed a 40-yarder on his first field goal attempt, and Davonte Neal made two ill-advised catches on punt returns, including one at the 2-yard line. He made three guys miss to get to the 12, but he should have let it go for a touchback. A dangerous, unnecessary risk.
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