Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Purdue Boilermakers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1 1-2 ATS) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (1-2 2-1) 8 PM EST Saturday September 26, 2009 Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette Indiana TV: ESPN and ESPN360
By Jason Green of

Point Spread: Notre Dame -8 Purdue +8
Over/Under: 60

Last week Purdue lost to Northern Illinois 28-21 while the Fighting Irish beat Michigan State 33-30. After crushing Toledo in their opening game the Boilermakers have lost 2 games in a row and in those games they have given up an average of 33 points. The Irish have been solid on offense so far this season, as in their 3 games they have scored an average of just over 35 points.

These 2 schools are interstate rivals that are not far apart, so even though they do not play in the same conference this is still a pretty big rivalry.

Purdue is still trying to adjust after they lost starting QB Curtis Painter and head coach Joe Tiller. In their last loss to Northern Illinois they were double-digit favorites, but they were dominated in the game. Purdue does have a decent offense, ranked 25th in the nation, and QB Joey Elliott (754 2 TD 5 INT) is OK, but he has to cut down on his INT’s in this game or the Boilermakers will be in trouble. Luckily for Purdue the Irish defense has major holes in it and they have given up points in bunches this season.

Even though Notre Dame does have one loss they are much better than last season. QB Jimmy Clausen (951 yds 9 TD) is finally starting to live up to his promise and even though he is injured with a turf-toe he will start in this game. This season Clausen ranks 2nd in the FBS in pass efficiency. He does not have one INT so far this season and the Boilermakers’ D has to get to him, as if he is given time to throw he will find his legit WR’s of Michael Floyd and Golden Tate. Floyd and Tate both rank in the top 20 in the nation in terms of receiving yards per game.

It will be hard for the Purdue D to get to Clausen, as they do not have a great front line D and they have a grand total of 4 sacks in their first 3 games.

The best chance Purdue has to win this game is to control the ball on the ground. RB Ralph Bolden (435 yds 4 TD) has been solid, especially when he rushed for 234 yards against Toledo in their first game. If he can move the chains by running that ball it will help the Boilermakers control the clock and it will keep Clausen and the dynamic offense of the Fighting Irish on the sidelines.

Notre Dame will have to contain Bolden, but they do not have the best rushing defense, as they rank 74th in the nation and have given up an average of 149 yards per game on the ground in their first 3 games. Speaking of bad defenses let’s talk about Purdue for a second, as they rank 105th in total defense and 102nd in rushing defense this season and have given up an average of 181 yards rushing yards per game. That means that Irish RB Armando Allen (326 yds 3 TD) may have a big game.

The Boilermakers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, but they are only 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 as a home underdog. The Fighting Irish are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road favorite, but are only 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against teams in the Big 10.

Jason’s Pick: The only chance the Boilermakers have in this game is if their offense can score a decent amount of points and if they can control the clock, since their D is so weak. Look for the Irish to come out and dominate this game from the get-go, as they will easily cover the spread and win this game.