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Boilermakers hope to break streak at ND

Justin Schuver | Friday, October 1, 2004

Four years ago, Purdue came into Notre Dame Stadium ranked higher than the Irish. They had a Heisman Trophy candidate under center. The Boilermakers were undefeated.And it ultimately didn’t matter once Nicholas Setta booted a 38-yard field goal to defeat Purdue 23-21, sending quarterback Drew Brees and the rest of the Boilermakers back to West Lafayette with their first loss of the year.Purdue coach Joe Tiller has probably replayed Setta’s kick numerous times in his dreams, a memory of a rivalry that has been one-sided when played in Notre Dame Stadium – the Irish haven’t lost to Purdue there since 1974, a period of 14 straight victories.”We’ve worked hard at trying to be competitive each time we play Notre Dame,” Tiller said at a press conference Tuesday. “We try to not emphasize this great rivalry to the players. It seems like Purdue and Notre Dame have been playing forever, and they should continue playing forever.”Notre Dame lost on the road to Purdue by the score of 23-10 last season, as Irish quarterback Brady Quinn made his first start under center and threw 59 passes, the second-most in school history. The Boilermakers come into Saturday’s game ranked No. 15 in both polls, coming off a 38-30 victory on the road against Big Ten-rival Illinois last Saturday. Purdue also defeated Ball State and Syracuse earlier in the season, outscoring those two opponents 110-7 combined in those games.That potent offense begins and ends with quarterback Kyle Orton, who is considered one of the best at his position and has put up impressive stats so far this season, albeit against poor defenses – all three Purdue opponents so far have averaged allowing more than 380 yards a game on defense this season.Orton is 74-for-106 and has thrown for 982 yards. Perhaps the most impressive statistic, however, is Orton’s touchdown-to-interception ratio – the senior has tossed 13 touchdowns and has yet to throw a single interception.”Quite a bit of the success [we have on offense] can be directly traced back to the quarterback, and we have great confidence in our system,” Tiller said of his signal-caller Monday. “In a quarterback, we look for competitiveness, intelligence and a guy with a good demeanor, someone who understands the team concept. Kyle [Orton] is that guy.”Orton is aided by a bevy of talented receivers, highlighted by senior Taylor Stubblefield. Stubblefield has already scored eight touchdowns this season, making 21 catches for 324 yards and averaging 108 yards receiving per game.The Purdue passing attack is complemented by a rushing offense that is currently ranked third in the Big Ten with 205.7 rushing yards per game. Jerod Void is the team’s starter, but backup Brandon Jones has done his share of damage on offense as well – primarily through the receiving game where he is third on the team with nine catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Irish coach Tyrone Willingham is well aware of the potential that Jones has when he gets the football.”He is that added dimension that they need in that system,” he said at a press conference Monday. “Because you hear so much and see so much about their passing attack, you kind of become deceived. What he does is add that aggressive dimension to their running attack. “So he has the real teeth to their offensive attack, when you add that factor of being able to run the ball and then complement it as well as they throw it.”