Notre Dame puts away Purdue, 30-14, improves to 3-0
Mike Monaco | Sunday, September 14, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS — The glitz and glamour of the new uniforms and new venue for Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series matchup with Purdue changed little about the recent history from the long-standing series between the two teams.The Boilermakers kept things close and interesting into the fourth quarter before No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0) packed away Purdue (1-2), winning 30-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“They played with great passion. They were physical,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said of the Boilermakers. “They always play us in that fashion.”
Before Saturday, the previous two meetings between Notre Dame and Purdue were decided by a total of 10 points. On Saturday, the Irish led just 17-14 after a relatively uninspiring first half, and Purdue trailed 24-14 entering the fourth quarter. But the Irish latched the clamps on the Boilermakers and posted 20 unanswered points en route to the victory.
“We’re pretty excited about the win,” Kelly said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys in there that like to play and enjoy the victory as well.”
The already-young Irish were forced to dip deeper into the reserves Saturday. Irish freshman defensive end Andrew Trumbetti (head, neck, chest) did not dress. Graduate student offensive lineman Christian Lombard (high-ankle sprain) dressed but did not play. Senior receiver Amir Carlisle (right MCL sprain) and junior safety Nicky Baratti (shoulder) exited the game in the first half. Sophomore cornerback Cole Luke (neck) left in the second half. Sophomore safety Max Redfield was ejected for targeting early in the second quarter.
“I was proud of the way our team responded to adversity for the first time,” Kelly said. “We’re playing a lot of young guys. We had some injuries today. Guys stepped up and responded to that first sign of adversity that a team has to handle and respond to.”
Irish senior quarterback Everett Golson completed 25 of 40 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns while also leading the ground attack with 56 yards and a score on 14 carries. Senior kicker Kyle Brindza connected on three consecutive field goals after missing a 50-yarder in the first quarter. Irish junior defensive end Romeo Okwara, who saw a bump in snaps with Trumbetti out, amassed a career-high 11 tackles.
Notre Dame found itself trailing for the first time in the 2014 season when Purdue scored on a 19-yard strike from sophomore quarterback Danny Etling to sophomore receiver DeAngelo Yancey in the back of the end zone with three minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Irish quickly responded as Golson sprinted in from 15 yards out with 13 seconds left in the first half, and Notre Dame never looked back.
According to Irish sophomore receiver Will Fuller, Golson pulled the offense together before halftime.
“We weren’t executing as we wish that we should, so [Golson] brought us together right before halftime and told us, ‘We’ve got to get going, we’ve got to execute,’ things like that,” Fuller said.The Irish composed a lackluster first half and only led 17-14 at the intermission. Notre Dame committed five first-half penalties, misfired on a field goal, missed tackles and committed its first turnover of the season. In a span of two second-quarter drives, the Irish tallied negative yardage on six plays, punted and fumbled.
“There was no energy — the “D-boys” spirit, a lot of enthusiasm, things like that, so it was about bringing that to the table,” Irish sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith said of what needed to change at halftime. “Somebody had to make a play and once that happened, we got going.”
The Irish defense made its share of plays in the second half. Purdue only tallied 121 yards of total offense in the second half. The Boilermakers ended their second-half drives with a punt, punt, turnover-on-downs, punt, interception and interception. Irish sophomore cornerback Devin Butler and senior linebacker Joe Schmidt both recorded their first-career interceptions in the fourth quarter to knot the victory.
Butler and freshman safety Drue Tranquill were forced into extended action in a depleted secondary. By the final whistle, the list of sidelined and withheld Irish defensive backs included junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell, graduate student safety Austin Collinsworth, senior safety Eilar Hardy, Luke, Redfield and Baratti.
“There’s no waiver wire, there’s no trading in college football,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to get young guys ready. That’s what we’re trying to do in the locker room.”
Early in the second half, the Notre Dame offense started to click. Golson converted four of five third downs on the first two second-half drives, fitting in passes to Fuller, junior receiver C.J. Prosise, Robinson and sophomore running back Greg Bryant. After a 17-yard off dump-off to Bryant, Golson grooved a 15-yard strike to Robinson in the corner of the end zone to lift the Irish lead to 24-14 with 4:05 to play in the third quarter.
“I knew that Everett was coming to me, I knew that the guys really needed me to make that play, so I just rose up, and I caught it, got smacked a couple times, and I woke up on the ground and had a touchdown,” Robinson said simply of his first touchdown of the season.
The Boilermakers slogged through their next two drives, and Notre Dame entered the fourth quarter ahead by 10. Brindza buried a 48-yard field goal with 9:31 remaining, and the Irish picked off Boilermakers sophomore quarterback Danny Etling on Purdue’s two successive possessions to finalize the victory.
“There’s no easy wins in college football,” Irish graduate student cornerback Cody Riggs said.
On the opening drive of the game, Notre Dame stormed down the field quickly to lead 7-0 just 2:37 in after Golson connected with Fuller on a slant.
A few possessions later, the Boilermakers drove 67 yards down the field, capitalizing on some missed tackles by the Irish defense. Purdue tied the game, 7-7, with 1:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Following Irish senior tight end Ben Koyack’s fumble, the Boilermakers rumbled 26 yards into the end zone, highlighted by the nifty 19-yard touchdown snatch by Yancey to put Purdue up 14-10.
But Notre Dame responded in the final minutes of the first half. Golson connected with Robinson over the top of the Purdue defense for 32 yards to get the Irish to the 12-yard line. Two plays later, Golson motored behind a strong block from junior receiver Chris Brown and notched his fourth rushing score of the season to lift the Irish back ahead, 17-14, heading to the halftime break.
Redfield was ejected for targeting when he hit Etling in the neck/head area after Etling scrambled and tried to slide. Redfield will be eligible to play in Notre Dame’s next game against Syracuse.
The Irish are off next week and return to the field Sept. 27 when they square off with Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.