Big Ten: Gary Gray

Final: Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
11:31
PM ET

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A Notre Dame team that had trouble putting everything together did just that Saturday night, routing Purdue by a final of 38-10 before an announced crowd of 61,555 at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Gary Gray set the tone early, picking off Caleb TerBush on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Tommy Rees hit Michael Floyd for a 35-yard touchdown, and the rout was on.

Floyd returned to his normal self after an off week at Pitt. The senior eclipsed the 10-catch, 100-yard mark once again, re-inserting himself into the conversation as one of the nation's top receivers.

More importantly, the Fighting Irish imposed their will on the ground, running over and around the Boilermakers throughout the evening and controlling the tempo in the second half.

The Irish defense, meanwhile, continued a stellar effort, allowing Purdue to cross midfield just twice in the first half and allowing just a field goal during that span.

Be sure to keep it right here for Brian Kelly and player reaction from the Irish's convincing win.

Halftime: Notre Dame 21, Purdue 3

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
9:58
PM ET
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Notre Dame goes into halftime leading Purdue 21-3. Here's a quick analysis of what went down in the first 30 minutes:

Turning point: It's never early to establish momentum, and Gary Gray did that by picking off Caleb TerBush on the first play from scrimmage. Michael Floyd caught a 35-yard touchdown pass two plays later and the Fighting Irish set the tone early, playing ahead the whole half.

Stat of the half: Purdue has nine penalties for 78 yards, an inexcusable number for a whole game, let alone one half against an Irish team it is overmatched against. To put those numbers in perspective, the Boilermakers have just 122 total yards in the first half.

What Notre Dame needs to do: The Irish need to stick to their ground game until Purdue otherwise proves it can stop it. Notre Dame rushed for 160 yards on 19 carries in the first half, good for a ridiculous 8.4 yards per rush.

What Purdue needs to do: Aside from shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalties, the Boilermakers need to make some kind of a stand defensively. Notre Dame has two missed field goals that could have put this game that much further out of reach, but the Irish have gone the entire half without a turnover after entering the contest with an FBS-leading 15.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A primetime audience saw everything Notre Dame does good and bad through the first quarter, one the Fighting Irish have escaped leading 14-0.

Gary Gray picked off Caleb TerBush's first pass of the game, and Tommy Rees hit Michael Floyd two plays later for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Jonas Gray punched it in from two yards out with three seconds left in the quarter for the Irish's other score.

David Ruffer had a 28-yard field goal attempt blocked earlier in the frame after the Irish failed to score on a series that started with a first-and-goal from the Purdue 5. A false start penalty on Chis Watt was the killer on that drive.

Also mind-boggling is, once again, the punt-return game, as John Goodman lost two yards on the one punt he did return and watched the ball roll for a 61-yard punt on the one kick he chose not to return.

Still, the mental gaffes have affected the Boilermakers more so far, as they committed consecutive penalties on the Irish's next red zone trip, resulting in two new sets of downs from inside the 5.

Encouraging for the Irish has been their ability to do whatever they want in the run game so far. Notre Dame has gained 75 yards on 11 carries, and its offensive line is manhandling the Purdue front seven so far.

It will be interesting to see if this can continue as the game progresses. Regardless, the Irish have put themselves in great position to start, so long as they can avoid shooting themselves in the foot once again.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Friday, 11/28
Saturday, 11/29