Monday, October 3, 2011
Weekend rewind: Notre Dame
By Matt Fortuna
A look back at the good, bad and ugly (yes, even a 38-10 win has some low points) from Notre Dame's thrashing of Purdue:
Notre Dame cornerback Gary Gray's interception set the tone of the game for the Irish.
The Good: Notre Dame did not commit a turnover in its 38-10 win over Purdue. Tommy Rees threw three touchdown passes, the Fighting Irish averaged 7.2 yards per rush and Michael Floyd got back in the thick of things with 12 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. Oh, and the first-team defense did not give up a touchdown, either.
The Bad: Special teams play continues to be a head-scratcher. David Ruffer had one field goal blocked and missed another, and John Goodman netted -3 yards on two punt returns, which doesn't include letting one go right by him for a 61-yard punt in the first quarter. Brian Kelly said Sunday he wasn't impressed with kickoffs, either.
The Ugly: Long-snapper Jordan Cowart picked up a 15-yard personal foul penalty after a mini brouhaha on a second-quarter punt, drawing the ire of his head coach. Kelly revealed Sunday that Cowart broke his hand in the scuffle, something that has to infuriate him. The Irish will still try to play Cowart this Saturday. Purdue's 13 penalties for 118 yards weren't exactly pretty sights, either.
Turning point: Gary Gray's pick on the first pass of the game and Rees' ensuing 35-yard touchdown pass to Floyd two plays later never gave Purdue a chance in the game, starting the rout early and never looking back.
Best of the rest: Notre Dame's 551 total yards of offense were its most since a 592-yard performance Oct. 31, 2009 against Washington State. … The Irish's 34 first downs were two shy of the school record of 36, set against Army in 1974. … Notre Dame's 289 rushing yards were its most since a 320-yard effort Nov. 29, 2003 at Stanford. Likewise, the Irish's 6.9 yards per rush were their highest average since averaging 7.1 yards per rush Aug. 28, 1999 against Kansas (minimum 20 carries). … With defensive end Stephon Tuitt not making the trip because of a missed-class violation, sophomore Kona Schwenke lost his redshirt option by entering in the first half. … Dayne Crist entered late in the fourth quarter and completed his only pass attempt, a 10-yard throw to George Atkinson III. "I have a lot of respect for Dayne," Kelly said. "I'm not going to throw him in there in meaningless kinds of situations. But he wanted to get in the game."
Next Up: The Irish host an Air Force team that ranks third in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 364.5 yards on the ground per game. The Falcons improved to 3-1 on Saturday with a 35-34 overtime win over Navy that featured a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Midshipmen in overtime, forcing an extra-long extra point attempt that was blocked. Air Force's only defeat this season is a 35-19 loss to defending Rose Bowl champion TCU.