Notre Dame Football: Offensive Grades – Purdue


In what was initially a bit of a concerning performance for the Irish, Notre Dame pulled away from Purdue in the Shamrock Series winning 30-14.

Led by Everett Golson, Notre Dame started off strong on their first drive shredding Purdue’s defense all the way into the endzone, but only managed to put up three points in the next four drives making Domers everywhere nervous. The defense was able to come up big in the second half shutting the Boilermakers out and forcing two turnovers allowing Golson and the offense to capitalize and score the final 20 points of the game.

Regardless of the win, many have started to wonder whether or not performances like Saturday’s can keep up with teams like Stanford, Arizona State, or the defending national champions, Florida State. There are still countless technicalities that the offense needs to get down, and with a bye this week, Kelly will surely address every issue on the offense.

Offensive Line: C

I might be a little generous here giving the offensive line a C, but the point is that they were inconsistent, unreliable at times and it looked like they played down to the talent level of Purdue’s front seven. Golson was sacked for a season-high four times and he was flustered out of the pocket several more times throughout the course of the game. There’s no way Golson can further develop into the offense if he’s always going to be scrambling out of the pocket making something out of nothing on broken plays. On the bright side, the line helped the offense put up over 100 more total yards than Purdue did.

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Running Backs: B 

I’ve been pretty hard on the running backs lately, and I think they deserve some praise for having to deal with the sub par play of the offensive line. Whenever their numbers get called, whether it’s Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston or Cam McDaniels, the Irish backs pound the ball scrapping for extra yards on every carry. Despite not having any of the backs break even 40 yards on the ground, they made themselves available both through the short-yardage rushing attack and the passing game catching four passes for sixty yards. I still think the running backs need to play a bigger role in the Irish offense in order to have a true balanced offense when October rolls around and Notre Dame isn’t playing against unranked teams.

Receivers: B+

While there were a couple of times where the receivers weren’t completely in-sync with Golson, the receivers played well enough to make the passing attack a legitimate threat all game long. Six different receivers hauled in passes Saturday and three of them compiled over 50 yards receiving. The one big concern for the Irish was losing Amir Carlisle, who has shown to be a critical part of the receiving corp through the first two weeks completely dominating the slot, but the rest of the receivers made up for his absence making plays that we know Carlisle would have made. William Fuller started the game out by catching the first of Golson’s two touchdowns and Corey Robinson scored Notre Dame’s final touchdown on a beautiful grab in the endzone over two Purdue defenders.

Quarterback: A-

Golson wasn’t able to light it up like he did in his two previous games, but his numbers definitely don’t hurt his Heisman resume. Notre Dame’s golden arm completed just under 63% of his passes picking up 259 yards through the air with two touchdowns to go along with his team-leading 56 yards rushing and score on the ground. Again, he wasn’t on the same page with his receivers throughout the game, and this was really the first time where I saw Golson force throws to make plays when the opportunities weren’t there. Thanks to his god-given ability as a dual-threat quarterback, Golson made up for his mistakes through the air by scrambling in times of trouble and running with power when his team needed the push. If the rest of his team can play up to Golson’s ability, this offense can become much more potent when it really counts.

While it was a bit of a sloppy game to start, the offense pulled away from the threatening Boilermakers and won the game, which helped push Notre Dame into this week’s AP top 10 sitting at number nine.