Notre Dame ended its rivalry with Michigan by beating the Wolverines in dominant fashion last weekend in South Bend. On Saturday, the Fighting Irish will put another longtime rivalry on hold when they take on Purdue for what will be the last time until at least 2020.
Since 1946, the two schools have faced each other every season. For the most part, the rivalry has been one-sided, considering Notre Dame has won six straight times and lost just five times in the last 29 years.
While the Fighting Irish are in the middle of a winning streak, the Boilermakers have managed to keep the game interesting in the last few seasons. In 2013, Purdue took a lead into the fourth quarter, but ultimately lost to the No.21 team in the country by a touchdown. The previous year, Notre Dame needed a field goal in the final seconds to prevail, despite being 14-point favorites at home.
The 2014 matchup between the two schools isn’t expected to go anything like the last two games. The betting odds at many Las Vegas casinos has the Fighting Irish listed as 28-point favorites. The over/under is 57 total points.
Notre Dame’s big win against Michigan has made some believing that the team is a legitimate contender to qualify for the College Football Playoff and win the national championship. They shut out the Wolverines 31-0, ending a streak of 365 games in which Michigan had gotten on the scoreboard.
Facing an undefeated Fighting Irish team on the road, Purdue could have a tough time staying in Saturday’s game. After getting a win in their 2014 season opener, the Boilermakers lost by 21 points to Central Michigan. Starting quarterback Danny Etling was pulled after throwing for just 126 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions on his 32 pass attempts. Austin Appleby replaced Etling, completing seven of 17 passes for 78 yards and a score, and he could get the call on Saturday night.
Whoever starts for Purdue will have a tough time coming close to matching the production of Everett Golson. Against Michigan, the quarterback threw for 226 yards, three scores and no interceptions. In the season opener against Rice, he ran for three touchdowns.
The game will be broadcast on national TV at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Prediction: In the past two years, Brian Kelly’s team may have overlooked Purdue, having to narrowly avoid an upset. It doesn’t appear that will be the case with the 2014 Fighting Irish. Not only did they blow out Michigan, but they took care of business in Week 1 and beat Rice by 31 points, as well. Purdue lost by 21 points to Central Michigan, and things could be much worse against the No.11 team in the country. If Devin Gardner was picked off three times against the Notre Dame defense, there’s not much hope for the Purdue offense.
Predicted Score: Notre Dame 44, Purdue 13