The Irish are scorching hot after their 50-10 rout last week in Dublin, Ireland and albeit it was against Navy’s defense, that confidence could lead to more momentum for a squad that has the toughest schedule in America.
Manti Te’o is easily the best player at his position in all of college football and he will be teeing off on Akeem Shavers, who chalked up 76 yards and a score in the Boilermakers’ 48-6 win over Eastern Kentucky.
Purdue also returns its starting signal-caller Caleb TerBush from a one-game suspension and he will need OJ Ross, Antavian Edison and Gary Bush to torch the youthful and inexperienced secondary of the Golden Domers.
Lo Wood ruptured his Achilles two weeks before the season opener and will be missed for the entire 2012 season. Bennett Jackson and Josh Atkinson filled in admirably against the Midshipmen, but Purdue possesses arguably the least amount of talent at receiver that the Fighting Irish will see all season.
Bank on Notre Dame to bottle up the run when it matters most, and Everett Golson will find All-American tight end Tyler Eifert early and often in this pivotal September showdown for both programs.
Lastly, the key matchup will happen in the trenches between Notre Dame’s powerful offensive line and Purdue’s solid defensive line. Dwayne Beckford was the leading returning tackler last year, but he was just dismissed two weeks ago.
In what should shape up to be a pretty competitive contest, Brian Kelly will be just fine once again without star back Cierre Wood (George Atkinson III, Theo Riddick combined for over 200 total yards vs. Navy) as the replacements flashed brilliance in Dublin.
Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: ND by 14.5
Danny V’s Pick: Notre Dame 35, Purdue 24