College football: Kawann Short, Purdue seniors eye first win over ND
September 7, 2012 11:52PM
Purdue defensive tackle Kawaan Short splits the offensive line against Eastern Kentucky during an NCAA college football game at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Journal & Courier, Brent Drinkut) NO SALES
Updated: November 23, 2012 5:27PM
s Purdue travels to Notre Dame, the Boilermakers will be trying to break a four-game losing streak in the series with the Irish.
“It would certainly be a confidence-builder for our football team,” coach Danny Hope said when asked what a win against Notre Dame would mean for Purdue. “… It would certainly show we were strong-willed and strong-minded. It would be a confidence-builder for our football team and a confidence-builder for our fan base. There’s a lot to be gained from a big win at South Bend this weekend.”
No player on the Purdue roster has beaten Notre Dame, with the Boilermakers last winning in 2007, at Ross-Ade Stadium. After his one-game suspension and Robert Marve’s career game against Eastern Kentucky, Caleb TerBush is slated to resume his role as Purdue’s starting quarterback in his season debut.
“This team has a different mind-set from any of the four years I’ve been here,” said fifth-year senior defensive tackle Kawann Short, an East Chicago Central graduate. “The talent is very different now. We’re all focused now. Everybody is ready to beat Notre Dame. We haven’t done it since I’ve been here, and all the seniors are really trying to get this win before we leave.
“We’re going to take it up an extra notch, and the young guys are jumping on board with us. We feel like we have a better team (than in previous seasons), and a lot of guys are healthy now. There’s really no excuse — just do what we need to do.”
The Boilermakers also haven’t won in South Bend since 2004, losing three straight road games to the Irish. That ’04 win was Purdue’s first at Notre Dame since 1974, halting a 13-game losing streak at the stadium.
“They expect to win, and they’re very, very talented,” Hope said. “They always have a big crowd there, and there’s a lot of energy. There are some louder venues; I wouldn’t refer to it as intimidating, because in this league every Saturday you could go into a venue somewhere that has 100,000 fans or more.
“But they expect to win there, and they’ve got a great tradition and history, and lots of great players and lots of great fans that are there and love their football and expect to win. Those things all add up.”
The Boilermakers realize a win against the No. 22 Irish could generate a lot of momentum, and point them in the direction of a breakthrough season. But they’re also trying not to over-emphasize this game.
“A win over Notre Dame would certainly draw a lot of national attention to our team,” Hope said. “But it’s never a one-game season. Obviously, if you make it too big, sometimes you can create some tenseness for your football team. … We have to keep it in perspective.
“It’s a huge game. But it’s certainly not a one-game season. We feel good how we match up against them. … This is the best team we’ve had here at Purdue in the past three or four years from a talent standpoint. So our odds of winning have increased this year, and that’s exciting for our football team.”
Key player: Caleb TerBush. For sure, it can’t be about the quarterback(s) every week. But in light of all the circumstances, Danny Hope has ratcheted up the glare and pressure on TerBush.
Purdue will win if: The Boilermakers protect against Notre Dame’s talented front seven; hold their own with their own strong and experienced defensive line, with the Irish having rushed for 293 yards against Navy; and hit a few big plays against the Irish’s relatively inexperienced secondary, specifically at cornerback.
Notre Dame will win in: The Irish control both lines of scrimmage, and limit their mistakes, including from Everett Golson, after the Boilermakers committed five turnovers last week.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Purdue 21
— Staff writer