Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell said his team’s performance against Notre Dame provides “huge” momentum for the Boilermakers.
“It did a lot for our confidence,” Hazell said. “There was such a different demeanor on the sidelines on Saturday than in the first two weeks.”
Hazell said after Notre Dame tied the score at 17 in the third quarter, he went over to check on his defense. The defense barked back at Hazell, “Coach, we’re fine! We’ll go get them the next time!”
“The defense was really juiced up,” Hazell said. “The offense was like that all night. There was input and energy coming from both of those groups, which was neat.”
Brown’s strong first start
Hazell was impressed with how sophomore safety Anthony Brown played in his first career start Saturday night.
The Tampa, Fla., native finished second on the team with seven tackles.
“He was in the right place most of the night and came downhill and made some tackles,” Hazell said. “He’s got a chance to be pretty good when it’s all said and done.”
Brown will likely be starting the rest of the season. Hazell said Monday he is not optimistic Landon Feichter will return from his broken leg in 2013.
“We’re talking about seven or eight weeks for him,” Hazell said. “That puts him right at the beginning of November. Who knows what kind of shape he will be in at that point in time?”
Middle linebacker Joe Gilliam and safety Taylor Richards are making significant strides in their second year as starters on the Purdue defense.
“Those two are really playing well for us,” Hazell said.
Richards finished with team-best nine tackles to go along with a pass breakup and a forced fumble.
The forced fumble gave Purdue the ball in Notre Dame territory with a chance to tie the game with 8:10 left in the fourth quarter.
“Taylor was the guy who was really on fire (against Notre Dame),” Hazell said. “He was all over the field. If he can continue to play the way he is, I like the way we’re going.”
Gilliam tallied six tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and recovered the fumble Richards forced.
“Joe is starting to see the gaps and run through the gaps and make those plays,” Hazell said. “He’s a solid tackler.”
Holmes out for season
Hazell officially declared senior tight end Gabe Holmes out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated wrist.
Justin Sinz caught six passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in his first game as the No. 1 tight end.
Sterling Carter and Patrick Bade saw playing time and each recorded a catch as well.
“All three of those guys stepped up just watching the film,” Hazell said. “Sinz had a great game. Bade chipped in and blocked well. Sterling even had a big catch for us. That was good for their confidence.”