I’m just now leaving from ND’s victory over Purdue and wanted to get some initial thoughts down before I celebrate too hard. Forgive the brevity as well since this is being composed completely via iPhone.
First off, a win is a win, but ND essentially handed 16 points away. Floyd’s fumble should have been an eventual TD. The safety was rather inexcusable as well. That safety also led to a poor free kick that set up Purdue’s TD. These mistakes made the final far closer than it should have been and ND cannot expect to continue to win making them.
Next on the list is Crist. Overall, I was happy with his performance, but a couple of things stood out. The main thing that jumped at me was how he acted against blitzes. Instead of finding the hot receiver, Crist’s first reaction was to run instead of taking a hit on a throw. His accuracy also needs a tad bit of work as the two overthrows to a fairly open Floyd in the endzone. I chalk most of this up to inexperience and trying to kick off some rust at the beginning of a season. It’ll be interesting to see the adjustments Kelly takes with his young QB.
The defense was the best surprise all game. They got constant pressure on the QB and had very few lapses. After watching the Tenuta blitz-happy defense fail to deliver on sacks, it was quite refreshing to see an opposing QB flat on his back most of the game. Granted, Purdue is far from an amazing offense, but they did their jobs well and I expected then to give up far more points than they did.
My main complaint is with T’eo. I love his aggressive nature, but he tried to land a knockout blow far too often, resulting in several missed tackles. It appeared that Kelly got a hold of him at one point (hard to tell which coach it was from my seat), but he did settle back in during crunch-time.
Darren Walls, holy crap. I see why he was named defensive captain now. Solid effort all around for him.
Kyle Rudolph is definitely going to be Crist’s security blanket. Some big time third down conversions from him.
Theo Riddick needs to work on his hands. I know he is adjusting to his new role, but a couple of his drops were inexcusable.
Cierre Wood is good at football. His first touches had Purdue reeling.
Special teams are finally not “special”. Well, save for the flea-flicker style punt that had my whole section WTF’ing.
Vegas always knows. ND was favored by 11. We won by 11. Hate you handicappers.
Oh yeah, Purdue still sucks and that big-ass drum is still stupid as hell.
Bring on the Skunkbears.