No. 11 Irish Hold On For 30-14 Win, Had ‘All Hands On Deck’ Against Purdue


The off-week for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can’t come soon enough. After another battle with the Purdue Boilermakers, the Irish exit their with their Shamrock Series record still perfect after a 30-14 victory. But the depth chart, especially in the secondary, is beginning to become a concern.

The Irish (3-0) defense surrendered 14 points in the first half, and the actually trailed the Boilermakers (1-2) by four nearing the end of the first half. But a solid drive, capped off by a 15 yard Everett Golson touchdown run put the Irish back on top for good. Brian Van Gorder’s defense was able to buckle down in the second half and hold Purdue scoreless, but it came at a price as the Irish suffered several key losses to injury.

Still without KeiVarae Russell due to suspension, and Austin Collinsworth to injury, the secondary started the game light. Things thinned out real quick for Coach Brian Kelly‘s team.

Max Redfield was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit, ruled as targeting. Cole Luke exited with an injury, and his replacement, Nicky Baratti left just as quickly with an apparent injury. Kelly was able to patch together a defensive secondary, and Golson helped take care of the rest.

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The Irish offense got off to a quick start, driving down the field in under three minutes, culminating with a six yard touchdown pass from Golson to William Fuller. Unfortunately on the drive, Amir Carlisle left the game with an apparent knee injury and did not return.

Danny Etling, who got the nod from coach Darrell Hazell at the last-minute, tied the game up at 7-7, engineering a drive utilizing short passes and the read option to keep the Irish defense at bay.

Golson drove the Irish down the field on the first drive of the second quarter, but Purdue was able to halt the drive and keep the Irish to a field goal, giving them a 10-7 lead.

The Irish committed their first turnover of the season when tight end Ben Koyack fumbled trying to fight for extra yards. The Boilermakers recovered the fumble at the Irish 26, and Etling took them in quickly with a 19 yard TD pass to DeAngelo Yancey for the 14-10 lead, quieting the heavy Notre Dame contingent at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The second half was all Irish, as the only touchdown in the second half came by way of a Corey Robinson leaping grab from Golson, pushing the lead to 24-14.

Kyle Brindza would add two field goals in the fourth quarter after missing his first attempt in the first half.

The 30-14 victory was much closer than the score indicates, and far from the 26 point favorite the Irish were favored as.

But the positives to take out are that Notre Dame was forced to face some adversity early on in this schedule, and responded nicely. Golson continued his steady, turnover free play. The numbers won’t vault him to a front-runner on the Heisman Watch, but he did nothing to hurt his chances of joining it. He finished 25/40, 259 yards, and 2 TD. He also led the Irish in rushing with 56 yards, including his one score.

Notre Dame finished +2 in turnovers, which continues to be a big key to the early success. The defense struggled early, but responded in the second half, with several young guys having to step in, including Devin Butler at cornerback. Purdue went after him almost immediately, and often. He gave up a couple big plays, but also had a key interception.

The off week for Notre Dame will be timely as the coaching staff gets updates on the injuries suffered tonight, and also wait on the decision of the suspended players awaiting hearings. The Irish will face Syracuse at MetLife Stadium on September 27.