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Notre Dame

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Purdue vs. Notre Dame
When: 8 p.m. Saturday; Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette
TV: ABC; Radio: 1190 AM, 1380 AM, 107.3 FM
Associated Press
Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III rushes Michigan’s offensive the line during the Wolverines’ win Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. It was the Irish’s first regular-season loss since 2011.

Louis Nix III: Front and center for Notre Dame

Nose guard anchors strong defensive line

– Louis Nix III knows it’s coming, and he is fine with it.

Notre Dame’s 6-foot-2, 357-pound senior nose guard expects to be double teamed on nearly every play, and he says bring them on.

“Based on the defense we run, I know it’s my job to take double teams,” Nix said. “I just do my job. If I have to step up and do more, I do more.

“But as of now, I take my double team how I get them.”

Purdue coach Darrell Hazell told reporters Tuesday he expects the Boilermakers (1-1) will have to double team Nix and the rest of the No. 21 Irish’s defensive line when Notre Dame (1-1) comes to Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday night.

“They are very good up front,” Hazell said. “Those guys inside, the nose guard, Nix, is an outstanding player. What impresses me about him is to watch him run down field and chase the ball at 350 pounds. You wouldn’t think a guy that big plays with so much energy down the field, but he does a great job.

“The other guys on the edge, they are outstanding as well. We are going to have to do a good job of creating some double teams.”

The Irish’s starting defensive line of Nix and ends Stephon Tuitt, a 6-6, 322-pound junior, and Sheldon Day, a 6-2, 290-pound sophomore, have combined for 11 tackles with two tackles for loss and one sack in the first two games.

Nix had four tackles with one for a loss in last Saturday’s 41-30 loss to No. 11 Michigan. Day had two tackles, and Tuitt intercepted a pass in the Wolverines’ end zone.

“Louis Nix was a beast. (Michigan) couldn’t block him. (He) played as well as he’s played for us,” coach Brian Kelly said. “Just they had no answers for him inside.

“I thought physically, we’re talking about play after play, fit after fit, Sheldon Day played outstanding. Stephon played well, missed a couple of opportunities, obviously had a great interception in the game. You know, he continues to play more and more for us.”

While Kelly likes what he has seen from his starters, he also wants to use 6-5, 305-pound sophomore end Jarron Jones and 6-3, 280-pound freshman end Isaac Rochell more.

“We’ve got to get more guys into the game,” Kelly said.

“We’re probably going to see Jones a little bit more. We’ve got to see Rochell a little bit more to keep (Tuitt and Day) fresh.”

If Notre Dame uses its backup ends more against Purdue, it will be against a line with senior experience at four of five spots.

The Boilermakers start three fifth-year seniors – 6-5, 315-pound left tackle Kevin Pamphile, 6-7, 300-pound right guard Trevor Foy and 6-4, 290-pound right tackle Justin Kitchens – and a senior – 6-6, 320-pound left guard Devin Smith. Robert Kugler, a 6-3, 284-pound sophomore, starts at center. Purdue has given up three sacks, and the Boilers’ offensive lineman will be facing a motivated Notre Dame group coming off its first regular-season loss since 2011.

“We probably needed that loss, just to bounce back,” Nix said. “Coming off last year, got to the national championship (game), we just needed that. When we watched film and we evaluated it, we saw that we made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t play Notre Dame football. I think that will set us in the right direction. I know I don’t want to lose again.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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