Notre Dame football remains unbeaten, defeats Purdue with big second half
It wasn’t particularly pretty. It wasn’t perfect. But it wasn’t a Purdue victory, either.
No. 12 Notre Dame hosted the Boilermakers on Saturday in front of a near-capacity crowd of 74,341 at Notre Dame Stadium. If the fans, most clad in Irish green, came to see an offensive outburst from Notre Dame, well, they didn’t get their money’s worth.
But if they came to see the Fighting Irish improve to 3-0 by dominating defensively for large stretches of the game, then the price of admission was most certainly worth it.
Notre Dame beat Purdue 27-13 in the first meeting between the two intra-state rivals since 2014. It was the sixth victory in a row for the Irish over the Boilermakers (2-1), and head coach Brian Kelly tied Knute Rockne‘s program record for all-time wins (105).
It didn’t come easily. Purdue powered to an early 3-0 lead, and that’s where the score sat at the end of the first quarter. Notre Dame only managed 11 yards of offense on its first 10 plays. The offensive line, playing with third-string left tackle Tosh Baker because of injuries, did not hold up well through the first 15 minutes.
Outside of a 10-play, 32-yard field goal drive allowed, the Notre Dame defense did.
Purdue punted and turned the ball over on downs on its next two first-quarter drives. The Boilermakers were forced to punt on their first three drives of the second half. Their fourth ended at halftime. Senior defensive end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and junior linebacker JD Bertrand both had tackles for losses on third down in the second quarter.
For the third time in as many games to start the season, Bertrand led Notre Dame in total tackles. He had 12. Junior safety Kyle Hamilton, who made a key tackle for loss on fourth and short in the first quarter, had 10.
The Notre Dame offense only had a field goal and a 39-yard passing touchdown from graduate senior quarterback Jack Coan to junior running back Kyren Williams on fourth and short to show for its struggles in the first half, but the Irish opened it up a bit in the second.
Coan connected with senior wide receiver on a 62-yard touchdown pass over the middle of the field early in the third quarter. The score gave Notre Dame its largest lead of the day to that point — 17-6 with 9:59 to go in the third.
The Boilermakers responded with a touchdown less than three minutes later. A 31-yard rush from freshman running back King Doerue and a 32-yard reception from junior wide receiver David Bell put Purdue in the red zone, and it capitalized with a two-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jack Plummer to junior wide receiver Milton Wright.
Leading 20-13 with just over six minutes remaining in the game, Notre Dame needed either a long, time-consuming drive that resulted in points or a quick strike to assume a two-touchdown lead. It got the latter.
Williams rumbled 51 yards to the end zone on the first play of the drive, breaking tackles and making defenders miss on the way there. Notre Dame led 27-13 with 6:05 left after his second score of the day.
Backup quarterback Aidan O’Connell and Purdue did its best to make the game interesting down the stretch. The Boilermakers drove 64 yards in 13 plays on the strength of O’Connell, but it was all for naught. Hamilton picked Plummer off in the end zone with 2:34 remaining.
Both quarterbacks ended the day with modest numbers. Coan went 15-of-31 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Plummer was 25-of-366 for 187 yards and one touchdown before he was replaced by O’Connell. Notre Dame gained 343 total yards. Purdue totaled 348.
Purdue 3, Notre Dame 0
• Scoring play: Mitchell Fineran 35-yard field goal
• Drive: 10 plays, 32 yards, 3:41
Notre Dame 7, Purdue 3
• Scoring play: Jack Coan 39-yard pass to Kyren Williams
• Drive: Five plays, 66 yards, 2:14
Notre Dame 10, Purdue 3
• Scoring play: Jonathan Doerer 28-yard field goal
• Drive: 10 plays, 48 yards, 3:13
Notre Dame 10, Purdue 6
• Scoring play: Fineran 34-yard field goal
• Drive: Nine plays, 50 yards, 3:48
Notre Dame 17, Purdue 6
• Scoring play: Coan 62-yard pass to Avery Davis
• Drive: Three plays, 75 yards, 01:07
Notre Dame 17, Purdue 13
• Scoring play: Jack Plummer 2-yard pass to Milton Wright
• Drive: Six plays, 75 yards, 2:51
Notre Dame 20, Purdue 13
• Scoring play: Doerer 30-yard field goal
• Drive: 11 plays, 65 yards, 5:16
Notre Dame 27, Purdue 13
• Scoring play: Williams 51-yard run
• Drive: 1 play, 51 yards, 0:11
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