Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A Look Back -- Notre Dame

This is the first of a series of posts that will take a look back at some of the key Boilermakers' wins and losses of the 2006 season comparing the perceptions then compared to now. We will start with everyone's favorite, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. In the 5th week of the season, Purdue (4-0) went into South Bend to face the Irish (3-1) as 8 point dogs. The Irish were coming off their miracle comeback against Michigan State and the Boilers were eager to see how they matched up against a respectable (term used loosely) opponent. Purdue fell 35-21 and was never really close, but there were many positives to take away from this game such as the play of Curtis Painter and Selwyn Lymon.

WHAT WE THOUGHT THEN
Lymon's 238 yard performance was an indication of what's to come the rest of the season and he would emerge as Purdue's #1 receiving threat. If Purdue can put up those kind of yards against a top 10 team, they can challenge for a Big Ten title.

WHAT WE KNOW NOW
Lymon's performance was mostly a product of Notre Dame's horrible secondary and their bracketing of Dorien Bryant. Lymon struggled with consistency and route running the rest of the season and never really emerged as the go to guy. Notre Dame isn't that good and is still really really bad on defense. Their secondary lacks speed and awareness, and the rest of the unit is very average. Rushing 3 against a good passing team won't get the job done. This was a strategy employed by Brock Spack against Hawaii and Notre Dame, and it failed miserably both times. In the second half Purdue held the Irish to 7 points by pressuring Quinn, the same defensive strategy used by UCLA in their near upset.

WHAT WE KNEW ALL ALONG
That Brady Quinn is the most overrated college football player of all time. Quinn is ranked as the 14th best QB in terms of passer efficiency this season. 14th! Throw out BYU, Stanford, and the service academies and he is 18-17 as a starter. That is Heisman material? He has failed miserably in Notre Dame's biggest games this year in getting clobbered by Michigan and USC. Yet, Brady is headed to New York for the second year in a row.