Saturday, September 14, 2013
It's game day at Ross Ade Stadium
By Matt Fortuna
WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. -- Greetings from Purdue, where Notre Dame hopes to get back on the winning track tonight (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) against the Boilermakers.
The Irish's defense was uncharacteristic in last week's 41-30 loss at Michigan. Missed tackles, blown coverages -- you name it, the Irish struggled in their first regular-season loss since 2011. But Purdue may provide the perfect opportunity for the Irish defense to return to form, as the Boilermakers have struggled immensely on offense and are now without their leading receiver, tight end Gabe Holmes.
A few items of note:
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said freshmen running backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston will be a part of thr Irish's gameplan, if needed. Neither received a carry last week. Redshirt freshman William Mahone, meanwhile, has worked in more of a slot role this week. He impressed during camp with his ability to catch the ball and could finally see his first career action tonight.
Third-string quarterback Malik Zaire could possibly be available after a battle with mononucleosis. He practiced this week.
Keep an eye out on the atmosphere. Two years ago Kelly called this game Purdue's "Super Bowl," and a night contest leading into a very tough six-game stretch for a rebuilding team with a new coach could create an electric environment. On the surface, an Oct. 28 homecoming date with Northern Illinois looks like the only winnable game for the Boilermakers during this stretch.
I'll be at Ross-Ade Stadium tonight providing coverage, so be sure to follow along on Twitter for in-game updates. Enjoy the tilt, along with the rest of your Saturday.