Commentary

Irish defense faces big challenge versus Purdue

Updated: September 28, 2007, 10:58 AM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to ESPN.com
The criticism of Notre Dame's historically bad start has blitzed the offense, and justifiably so.

Before last week's spark from James Aldridge, the Fighting Irish had a negative net rushing total. They still rank last nationally in rushing average (25.8 yards per game), sacks allowed (6.8 sacks per game) and total offense (137 yards per game), and second to last in offensive scoring (6.8 points per game).

There's no question that the offense hasn't given the defense much chance to stop anybody. Of the 133 points Notre Dame has allowed this season, 60 have come on drives spanning 45 yards or less.