Sunday, September 28, 2008

Notre Dame 38, Purdue 21

Quarterback:In several ways, the sophomore outplayed the fifth year senior. Curtis Painter may have finished with more yards than Jimmy Clausen, but Clausen had the edge in completion percetage and touchdown passes. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that Clausen did not throw a single interception. Notre Dame as a team did not turn the ball over once against the Boilers. Clausen is also developing very nice touch on the deep balls.

Running Back: Curtis Painter had more passing yards than Jimmy Clausen because Painter attempted 20 more passes. That's largely because Notre Dame didn't need to pass as much; for once, the ground game was effective. Armando Allen had the type of game Irish fans had been waiting for - 136 yards on 17 carries, a 7.9 average.

Notre Dame was lucky to have depth at running back in this one. Robert Hughes, the leading man in several contests this year and last, was held to a 2.9 yards per carry average. But Allen and James Aldridge - 9 carries, 34 yards, 4.2 YPC average - were there to pick up the slack. Allen also picked up a 16 yard touchdown run.

Fullback: Mostly forgotten this year, Asaph Schwapp had some nice blocks in this game, and also made some cameo appearances at H-back.

Receiver: Golden Tate burst onto the scene in the first two games of the season, and now Michael Floyd is already trying to make fans say, "Golden who?" Floyd had his first career 100-yard game on a team-leading 6 catches. Tate added 5 catches for 64 yards and another touchdown. David Grimes came back from missing the Michigan State game to pick up 4 catches, 64 yards, and a touchdown.

Tight End: Seemingly the only tight end left, Kyle Rudolph is starting to get comfortable in the passing game. Rudolph had 3 catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive Line: The line is starting to show some fight. The skill players are talented, but the grunts also deserve credit for 476 yards of offense and a 5.0 yards per carry average.

Defensive Line: Shotgun-friendly offenses have largely kept the defensive line quiet this year, but Pat Kuntz stepped up in this one, tying for the team lead with 6 tackles. No one recorded a sack on Curtis Painter, but Ethan Johnson and John Ryan recorded quarterback hits.

Linebacker: Maurice Crum tied Kuntz with 6 tackles, and Brian Smith added 5 of his own. Kerry Neal had the team's lone tackle for a loss, a -2 yard stop.

Safety: David Bruton also had 6 tackles. Bruton, Harrison Smith, and Sergio Brown each broke up a pass. Kyle McCarthy added 5 tackles.

Cornerback: Robert Blanton had the highlight of his young career, returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown. It seems like opponents have largely avoided Raeshon McNeil, but he had 3 tackles in this one. Gary Gray and Terrail Lambert each added 4 stops.

Kicker: Brandon Walker missed from 31 yards, but made his first of the year from 41 yards. After Walker was congratulated by his line, Jimmy Clausen came off the bench to hug the kicker. That's just the type of leadership and togetherness you'd like to see from your quarterback and your team.

Punter: Eric Maust averaged 46.5 yards on two punts, thanks to a long of 54.

Kick Returner: Armando Allen was truly the star of the game, as he also picked up 105 yards on 4 kick returns, including a long of 36.

Punt Returner: About the only thing that didn't go well for Allen was his lone punt return - it went for a loss of 1.

Special Teams: Notre Dame's coverage teams continue to be phenomenal. Purdue's lone punt return went for 9 yards. On kickoffs, the Boilermakers managed a scant 13.9 yards per return. Mike Anello had 3 special teams tackles.