Since the Fighting Dukakises don't pose a serious threat this week, I decided (okay, Brian decided) that it would be a good idea to take a look ahead with this week's film study. Notre Dame and Purdue faced off last weekend in South Bend, giving us a look at a pair of future opponents; the Irish came away with a 20-17 victory that was closer than expected.
A quick overview: Neither team could get anything going on the ground while Notre Dame's vertical passing attack far outstripped Purdue's dink-and-dunk approach, leading to a 376-288 advantage in total yards for the Irish. The Boilermakers managed to hang around, however, and tied the game at 17 late in the fourth quarter after corner Josh Johnson made a stellar effort to strip the ball from ND QB Everett Golson. Golson was shaken up on the play, so it was much-maligned QB Tommy Rees who led the game-winning drive for a field goal in the waning seconds. Yes, that Tommy Rees. I'm seriously, you guys.
[To the breakdown, after THE JUMP.]
Offensively, Notre Dame operated almost entirely out of the shotgun and stayed balanced between the pass (39 attempts) and the run (36). Golson played the duration at quarterback until the final drive. Running back Cierre Wood was injured and unable to play, so Theo Riddick got the majority of the carries. As The Only Colors pointed out, "tight end" Tyler Eifert lined up almost exclusively as a wide receiver or in the slot—I don't remember a single play where he had his hand in the dirt.
Golson finished with relatively gaudy numbers, completing 21-of-31 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown and adding another score on the ground. He showed off a very strong arm and the ability to make difficult throws on the run; in fact, I thought he was better throwing on rollouts than when he stood in the pocket. Where his inexperience showed up, however, was in his pocket presence; Golson often created pressure by bailing from the pocket early, including a couple of instances where he had an open receiver, like so:
Yes, Golson scrambles for the first here, but throwing to Eifert could've easily resulted in a touchdown, and he got happy feet despite the Irish line maintaining a perfect pocket. Another instance with a poorer result goes here.
Really impressed me much. I think the Purdue Dline was pretty awesome but they can't get anything going offensively or else they would be a team to watch out for. Notre Dame is riding the hype train right now and it will be hard to tell if they are for real until the Sparty game this weekend. I put Golson in there with Taylor Martinez of Nebraska as far as throwing ability goes, he seemed to miss several reads such as those pointed out above for much harder fought scrambling opportunites. I am interested to also see if Andrew Maxwell has the ability to attack the weak ND secondary this weekend, everything I have seen of him thusfar indicates otherwise.
“When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing” ― Bo Schembechler
After watching the game I couldn't tell if either team was good, or bad. Golson was actually the leading rusher in attempts (16) but ran for negative yards (-10). Tough to tell if that was entirely on him and his protection, or mostly on Purdue, or a little of both. He was efficient passing, but that efficiency was mostly due to Purdue loading the box and stifling his scrambles at the expense of coverage against "TE" Eiffert and others. Then in the final 2 minutes he gets pulled. Both teams played 2 qbs, both teams were inconsitant, couldn't establish the run, and I couldn't really point out one glaring reason for any of it. No clue how ND will do tomorrow, or Sparty. I'll have to watch *shudders* just to get a feel for what either team "really" looks like before we face them. Jesse Palmer will likely drone through the whole damn thing, with Lou Holtthhh providing nauseating insight from the studio. If I'm really unlucky Matt MIllen will get in on the game in a suprise last minute switch, too. It's gonna suck, but I have so many questions about those upcoming tests for MIchigan I want answers for.
As a HS player here in Myrtle Beach, he was always better on the roll-out. MB is a AAA out of AAAA size school, didn't have big beefy lineman types. They did have med-large types who were very agile and disciplined. Ran tons of roll-out to buy time. The "pocket pass" was by far the lesser utilized option.
He was never a Denard-type, i.e. better runner, shaky thrower. The kid was always a great passer, looking for the run came second. His team won numerous 7 on 7 competitions. It's been nice to see him play well, and it was interesting to hear the boo-birds when Rees came in initially.
It'll be very interesting to see where they go from here. BTW, the "shaken up" was nothing, he's fine, thought he could've finished the game - a hand stinger thing that temporarily caused some weakness in grip, nothing lingering.
The reason for the world, is to make us long for HOME.