September 8, 2012 - Irish return to native soil

After a long trip overseas and a bit of jet lag back home, Notre Dame returned to the States to play their home own opener. Tommy Rees was ready to play but Everett Golson got the starting job once again. The team had physically dominated Navy the week before but questions still remained from the years prior.

In the first quarter the teams traded punts and then Kyle Brindza, replacing injured Nick Tausch, missed a 40 yard field goal. Defenses held as punts continued both ways. Golson finally put together a drive with passes of 30 yards to tight end Troy Niklas and 41 yards to wide receiver Davarius Daniels. Golson would keep the ball on a 3 yard touchdown rush and Notre Dame took a 7-0 lead. Purdue immediately responded and the teams went into the locker room tied at 7.

Purdue started with the ball and was forced to go 3-and-out. Theo Riddick had two rushes for 8 and 9 yards before Brian Kelly would start calling to air it out. Tyler Eifert caught passes of 22 yards and 25 yards (with some incompletions in there too) and TJ Jones capped off the touchdown drive. Bennett Jackson intercepted Purdue's backup quarterback and Brindza knocked through a field goal. A couple more punts and with Purdue driving to end the quarter, ND led 17-7.

But on the first play of the 4th quarter, Purdue knocked in a field goal to claw back within a one score game. On Notre Dame's next series, Golson would be sacked and the team forced to punt. Purdue would be forced to punt again and again but when Notre Dame was on offense the three and outs continued. Golson would suffer another devastating sack and fumbled the ball. With a short field, Purdue got a quick touchdown to tie the game with 2:12 remaining. On the next series, Tommy Rees trotted out onto the field as a chorus of boos could be heard around the stadium questioning Brian Kelly. Fans feared this season was about to turn into another year of quarterback roulette, struggling to find a team identity. Regardless, Rees did his job and led the team down field passing. Brindza made the 27 yard field goal and the Irish took the lead with seven seconds remaining. Bennett Jackson intercepted Purdue's last ditch attempt and the Irish won.

After the game Kelly would say that Golson was having trouble gripping the ball as a result of the sacks and Rees was forced to go in. For those fans at the game, it seemed like a convenient excuse. Many questions were in the air following the game about the team's identity, who would be quarterback next week at Michigan State? After last week's rushing performance, why did we revert to so many passes when we still had the lead? Nobody was complaining about starting 2-0 especially after last year's 0-2 start. The biggest difference - turnovers. The first two games of 2011 ND had 10 turnovers and a -7 differential. In 2012 ND had 2 turnovers and a +4 differential. Keeping the ball is always grounds for success.

        1  2  3  4   F
Purdue  0  7  0 10  17
#22 ND  0  7 10  3  20

For the first time since 2010 and the 73rd time overall, Notre Dame started the season 2-0.

Keywords: football, purdue, dublin, tommy rees, everett golson, navy, kyle brindza, nick tausch, troy niklas, davarius daniels, theo riddick, tyler eifert, tj jones, brian kelly, bennett jackson, michigan state, 125th season

Posted On: 2012-11-30 07:06:53 by IrishTrpt07


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