Thursday, September 24, 2009
What to watch from Notre Dame, Week 4
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
1. Ralph Bolden and the Purdue offense vs. Notre Dame's defense: The Boilermakers are averaging more points per game (36.3) than the Irish, and Bolden is a big reason why. The sophomore running back leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally in rushing yards, which is a big uh-oh for Notre Dame's defensive front. Charlie Weis said he doesn't want to play in any more 35-34 type of games, but if the Irish can't slow Bolden down, they could easily find themselves in yet another Big Ten shootout.
2. The health of Jimmy Clausen and Armando Allen: Notre Dame's star quarterback and starting tailback both missed practice earlier this week. Clausen was in a walking boot and later was fitted for a special shoe to alleviate his turf toe injury, while Allen has been battling an ankle problem. Both expect to play Saturday, but if either are less than them full selves, that ups the probability of a Purdue upset.
3. The No. 2 receiver situation: Michael Floyd's injury raises all sorts of questions for Notre Dame. Can someone else step forward and help replace his production? Will Purdue double team Golden Tate, and if so how will that affect his effectiveness? Can the Irish find other ways to score? This game may provide a lot of answers for the rest of the season.