Notre Dame-Purdue Preview CapsuleBy The Associated Press , Associated Press
Sep. 12, 2013 11:01 AM ET
No. 21 Notre Dame (1-1) at Purdue (1-1), 8 p.m. (ABC)
Line: Notre Dame by 20½.
Series record: Notre Dame leads 56-26-2.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
If Notre Dame has any chance of reviving its national title hopes, the Fighting Irish must avoid back-to-back regular season losses for the first time since the start of the 2011 season. Purdue wants to show a prime-time audience that it can compete with the nation's top teams as coach Darrell Hazell chases a second straight win.
Purdue's defensive front vs. Notre Dame's goal-line offense. Both teams come into the game ranked 111th in red-zone scoring. That might not be a much of a surprise for Purdue, which has been a pass-first team for 15 years. But after last week's loss at Michigan, it's a good bet that coach Brian Kelly wants to clean this up. While Purdue is stout up front with 310-pound Bruce Gaston and 306-pound Ryan Watson at defensive tackle, the Boilermakers will need those players to stay fresh.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame: CB KeiVarae Russell and S Bennett Jackson. Kelly made it clear that he wasn't happy with how they played at Michigan and that he expects a stronger performance this week at Purdue.
Purdue: RB Akeem Hunt. The 5-foot-9 junior is the Boilermakers' fastest runner and top playmaker. Last week, he returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. If the Boilermakers intend to challenge this week, Hunt needs to have a big game.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame has won five straight in the series and is 3-0 against Purdue in night games. ... The Boilermakers are 34-137-2 against ranked teams when they are unranked. ... These teams have met 84 times including each season since 1946, tied for the fourth-longest streak among nonconference schools in the nation. ... Last year, QB Tommy Rees led the Irish on a drive for the winning field goal with 7 seconds to go. ... Purdue punter Cody Webster leads the nation at 49.9 yards. ... Rees is averaging more yards per game passing (330.0) than Purdue QB Rob Henry has thrown for in his first two games (311).