Notre Dame has shown flashes of outstanding play on defense, but through two games the Irish aren't playing to their potential on that side of the ball. If Notre Dame is going to improve to 3-0 it will need to be at its best on this side of the ball. Below is a breakdown of how Notre Dame stacks up defensively against the Purdue offense.
Notre Dame Rush Defense vs. Purdue Rush Offense
Advantage: Notre Dame
Notre Dame struggled mightily in the run game in the opener against Florida State, but against Toledo the Irish were strong outside of one fourth quarter run. The Irish made improvements in the tackling game, but to shut down Purdue they'll need to continue controlling the line of scrimmage and eliminate mistakes.
Purdue is a mediocre rushing team, and the loss of starting running back Zander Horvath was a huge blow. Purdue has also had its own share of offensive line issues in 2021.
In the video above we break down this matchup and discuss why it's so important for Notre Dame to shut down the Purdue ground attack with the front four.
Notre Dame Pass Defense vs. Purdue Pass Offense
Purdue has been outstanding in the pass game through the first two contests of the season. Quarterback Jack Plummer has been very efficient and he has legitimately dangerous weapons. Wideout David Bell is arguably the best receiver the Irish will face all season, and of course Jeff Brohm is one of the best play-callers in the game.
Notre Dame's pass defense has been solid, but there have been some trouble areas as well. Notre Dame must harass Plummer and keep him from getting into rhythm and to limit the effectiveness of the pass game.
In this video we break down the matchup, talk about how Purdue likes to attack teams with the pass game and what Notre Dame can do to disrupt the strong Boilermaker pass attack.
Notre Dame Scoring Defense vs. Purdue Scoring Offense
I can't believe I'm giving Purdue advantages over Notre Dame and calling this matchup even, but that's how much Notre Dame has struggled to start the 2021 season. There have been some great moments for Notre Dame, but assignment mistakes and poor tackling have led to far too many big plays, which has resulted in too many points allowed. Notre Dame has also given up way too many fourth quarter points.
Purdue is coming off a 49-0 shellacking of a poor UConn team, and we really don't know how good the Boilermakers are on offense, but their combination of talent and great play-calling make them dangerous.
In this video we discuss why this matchup is concerning and discuss who has the advantage, and we don't agree on the answer to that.
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