By Nick Shepkowski
It wasn't the prettiest of games but Brian Kelly is 1-0 as the head football coach at Notre Dame after a 23-12 win over in-state rival Purdue this afternoon in South Bend.
Armando Allen rushing for 92 yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown and Cierre Wood adding 58 rush yards of his own. The offensive line deserves props for opening holes and getting out of their stances to pull and set up some of the longer runs.
Dayne Crist: 19 of 26 for 205 yards and a TD; a very respectable day for his first career start at ND...he was good at times, but he'll make an appearance for a couple things later on.
Defensive Line Play: Yes, the secondary played well in not allowing a pass of more than 16 yards but the d-line got great pressure all day long. They weren't rewarded with a sack until the second half (when they picked up 4) but Ian Williams and Ethan Johnson played very well up front, making everyone else's job easier.
Tai-ler Jones: Hard-working freshman reciever was rewarded with a touchdown reception in his first game in a Notre Dame uniform. The last Domer frosh to pull in a touchdown catch in their first game? Michael Floyd...and he's turned out to be decent.
Special Teams: 3 for 3 from David Ruffer on field goals, and a punt return and kick return each of 38 yards. Could have done without Wood's fumble/scare but strong all-around regardless. Also a solid job keeping Purdue from any big returns of their own.
Dayne Crist has a long way to go still at quarterback. Missing Rudolph in the end zone when it was still 7-0 and watching his lack of touch on the deep ball are hard to adjust to after being blessed with Jimmy Clausen. Still, by no means was it awful for a kid making his first collegiate start.
Stopping Ryan Kerrigan - Not sure why there weren't more double teams worked in against Kerrigan but Notre Dame did find ways to move the ball despite his pressure. 2.5 tackles for loss with a sack and forced fumble in there; he has a real chance to be an All-American. Glad the Irish won't see him again and I mean that as a compliment.
Floyd's Fumble. If he takes that in it makes the score 27-3 and the game is as good as over. Instead it put air back in Purdue's lungs and they took advantage of the chance by making it much more interesting than it should have been. Floyd did later redeem himself by pulling in the third and seven catch for the final first down of the game.
Marve's Dive: First off Brian Smith over-commits and allows this play to happen instead of it being Smith vs. Marve and a likely stop,but are you kidding me? Still trailing by 2 possessions at the time of the play you do a front flip into the endzone? I get that you're excited to make a play but it gave Notre Dame great field possession the following drive by giving the Irish 15 free yards. I hate when players overly celebrate when they're losing. Golden Tate was as guilty of that as any college player I've ever seen: he ticked me off when he would do it and Marve ticked me off when he decided to do it today.
A win is a win...1-0 and its time to get ready for Michigan next week. In case you missed it they destroyed UConn 30-10 today in a game that Denard Robinson racked up 383 total yards of offense. A week or so ago the ND/Michigan line was listed at ND -5; I'd be somewhat surprised if that number didn't decrease before kickoff.
It also should be noted looking ahead that it appears Tate Forcier's career as a Michigan Wolverine is over.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery of today's game against Purdue below!
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Tags: Big Ten Football, Brian Kelly, College Football, Danny Hope, Dayne Crist, Denard Robinson, Jimmy Clausen, Kyle Rudolph, Michael Floyd, Michigan Football, Notre Dame, Notre Dame Football, Notre Dame Photo Gallery, Notre Dame Purdue Photo Gallery, Notre Dame Purdue Rivalry, Purdue, Purdue Football, Robert Marve, Ryan Kerrigan, Sam Young, Tate Forcier, TJ Jones