Boilermakers hoping to be spoilers against Fighting Irish
Purdue (2-0) at No. 12 Notre Dame (2-0), Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EDT (NBC).
Line: Notre Dame by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series: Notre Dame leads 58-26-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish have struggled in two victories and fell four spots in the AP poll after last Saturday’s 32-29 victory over visiting Toledo, Notre Dame’s 25th straight triumph at home. Off to a 2-0 start for the second straight season following a 49-0 victory at Connecticut, Jeff Brohm’s Boilermakers renew their in-state rivalry with the Irish for the first time since 2014. Purdue will be trying to win for the first time in the series since 2007 and will be seeking their first victory at Notre Dame Stadium since 2004.
Notre Dame’s struggling defense against Purdue’s passing attack. First-year defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman has seen his Irish surrender four plays of 60 yards or more, two of them for touchdowns, in their victories over Florida State and Toledo. The Irish have allowed 393.5 yards and 33.5 points. Now safety Kyle Hamilton, DE Isaiah Foskey and linebacker JD Bertrand face Purdue’s potent passing attack of junior QB Jack Plummer (73.8% completions for 558 yards and six TDs), junior WR David Bell (14 receptions for 255 yards and three TDs) and junior TE Payne Durham (11 receptions for 174 yards and three TDs).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Purdue: Defensive end George Karlaftis. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound junior is projected to be a first-round pick in the draft. He had 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks his freshman season. An injury and the COVID-19 pandemic limited his play in 2020. This season Karlaftis has eight tackles, three QB hurries, two passes broken up and a half sack.
Notre Dame: Bertrand. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior had 12 tackles against Florida State and 11 tackles against Toledo, becoming the first Irish defender to post back-to-back games with double-digit tackles since Alohi Gilman in 2018 against Southern California and Clemson. Bertrand, who has 1.5 sacks, recovered a Toledo fumble to secure the victory.
FACTS & FIGURES
Kelly’s next victory will tie Knute Rockne with 105 victories, the most in Notre Dame history. … Kelly, who is 5-0 versus Purdue, opened his Notre Dame career with a 23-12 victory over the visiting Boilermakers on Sept. 4, 2010. His last victory over Purdue was a 30-14 triumph at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sept. 13, 2014. … The Irish have won the last seven since a 33-19 Purdue victory in 2007 at Ross-Ade Stadium. … Irish QB Jack Coan has thrown for 605 yards and six TDs but been sacked 10 times.
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