NCAAF · Fri (12/16) @ 11:35am ET
|Legion Field Stadium, Birmingham, Alabama|
Our Pick: ND Notre Dame at +725. Get a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel!
If a “must-win” exists on the Irish schedule, this is it.
A five-game run begins the following week in which every Notre Dame foe will have been idle before playing the Irish. Its only solace comes in a home game against USC, when the Irish also get the previous week to rest.
Then comes Nov. 13, at Virginia—yup, the Cavaliers are off the preceding week. No other program has such a daunting task against rested opponents.
The Irish has been dealing with injuries, but Purdue resembles a schizo roller-coaster with chief carney Jeff Brohm manning the controls.
A stunning victory three seasons ago has been brushed away, and we like the Notre Dame depth to be the difference in a double-digit victory for the Irish.
In the middle of the 2018 campaign, the Boilers pulled one outta their stove-pipe hats when, as 12-point home underdogs, they belted No. 2 Ohio State, 49-20.
Then they failed to cover four in a row, eking into a bowl only to get scorched by Auburn. The second half of 2019 was exceptional, last season’s pandemic-inflicted experience a debacle.
Junior quarterback Jack Plummer has been sterling (45-61, 558 yards, 6 TDs, no picks), but playing at Connecticut—one of the worst programs in the country—before visiting Notre Dame Stadium is the definition of false security.
Brohm says he feels as if his squad is close, that it must learn how to compete and finish, “and do a lot of small things a little bit better.”
Plummer is a big positive, as is favorite target David Bell, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore with a penchant for triple-figure yards. Against UConn, three of his receptions went for touchdowns.
However, its defensive secondary is Purdue’s Achilles’ heel. It’s been ranked 94th, or worse, in the nation each of the past four seasons in passing yards allowed. To highlight that confusion, Brohm employs three defensive co-coordinators.
Purdue Vs. Notre Dame Odds
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The list of the wounded is not short, but coach Brian Kelly hopes redshirt freshman left tackle Michael Carmody (6-6, 300), who tweaked an ankle at Florida State, will be healthy for Purdue.
He will be vital to parrying outstanding Boilers sophomore end George Karlaftis (6-4, 275), whom some consider a surefire first-round NFL draft pick. Redshirt freshman Tosh Baker (6-8, 300) and rookie Joe Alt (6-7, 280) back up Carmody.
Jack Coan (6-3, 220) is the grad-transfer quarterback from Wisconsin that Karlaftis will hunt all day. Coan’s late scoring pass saved the Irish at home in a 32-29 victory over Toledo last weekend.
Coan has averaged more than 300 yards, throwing for six TDs, getting two picked and fumbling once. Before his heroics against the Rockets, a trainer had to repair a dislocated finger.
Redshirt freshman running back Kyren Williams (5-9, 195) has been steady if unspectacular, with 34 runs for 120 yards and a TD, and nine receptions for 108 yards and another score.
The star of the offense is sophomore tight end Michael Mayer (6-5, 249), who has nabbed 16 passes for 201 yards and three TDs. He’s considered among the top four at his position in the country, and he’ll make Purdue’s linebackers miserable.
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This series halted in 2014, with Notre Dame having won nine of 10 meetings. Purdue last beat the Irish in September 2007.
In six of the past seven seasons, Notre Dame is 32-1 in its home that holds nearly 78,000. Second-generation Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White gives his maximum 6-point home edge to the Irish, for a very good reason.
One model I respect has the Irish winning, 42-21, another 29-21. A double-digit victory, maybe even a blowout in which superb heir-apparent rookie quarterback Tyler Buchner gets fourth-quarter mop-up duties, is within reason.