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Boiling Point


Notre Dame at Purdue: 3 things to watch

Notre Dame and Purdue are slated to kickoff a little after 8 tonight at Ross-Ade Stadium.

The No. 21 Irish (1-1) are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, a 41-30 defeat at the hands of No. 11 Michigan (2-0).

The Boilermakers (1-1) are coming off a 20-14 win over Indiana State and will try to end a five-game losing streak in the series.

Here are three matchups to watch tonight:

Purdue's interior defensive linemen vs. Notre Dame's interior offensive linemen: Bruce Gatson, a 6-foot-2, 310-pound defensive tackle, and Ryan Watson, a 6-2, 306-pound nose guard, are the center pieces on the Boilermakers' defensive line. Gatson leads the team in tackles with 12 and has a team-high 3 ½ tackles for loss as well as two sacks. Watson has four tackles. The Irish will try to keep the two Boilers contained with Chris Watt, a 6-3, 321-pound left guard, Nick Martin, a 6-4, 295-pound center, and Christian Lombard, a 6-5, 315-pound right guard. Martin is in his first year starting and received praised from coach Brian Kelly for how he handled last week's night game at Michigan Stadium.

Notre Dame's defensive line vs. Purdue's offensive line: Irish nose guard Louis Nix III is coming off one of his best games, getting four tackles with one for a loss against the Wolverines. Defensive end Sheldon Day had Day had two tackles, and defensive end Stephon Tuitt intercepted a pass in the Wolverines' end zone. The three defensive linemen have combined for 11 tackles with two tackles for loss and one sack in the first two games. Purdue will try to keep the Irish's defensive linemen in check with an offensive 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.

Notre Dame receiver TJ Jones vs. Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen: The two seniors will not be matched up on every play, but when they do go at each other it will be the best each team has at their positions. The 5-11, 195-pound Jones leads the Irish with 15 receptions for 232 yards and has one touchdown. The 5-9, 186-pound Allen has seven tackles and one interception.