Sept 27, 2003
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Purdue never gave Notre Dame’s defense a chance to win it.
After the Irish won the past three years by scoring on turnovers, the Boilermakers held onto the ball and intercepted four passes en route to a 23-10 victory Saturday – just their third win in 18 years against Notre Dame.
“Their defense made more plays than we did,” Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham said. “This was a major disappointment for us.”
After three straight years of losing to Notre Dame despite outgaining them by an average of 149 yards, the Boilermakers (3-1) finally won even though the Irish (1-3) had 346 yards total offense to just 223 for Purdue.
“To get over that hump feels great,” Purdue receiver John Standeford said. “I could not be any happier at this moment.”
Purdue’s Kyle Orton threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Ray Williams in the first quarter and a 2-yard score to defensive end Shaun Phillips, in at tight end, in the fourth quarter. Orton was 12-of-24 passing for 127 yards.
“I’d say it’s the best win we’ve ever had against a 1-2 football team,” Orton said.
Stuart Schweigert had two interceptions and Gilbert Gardner and Niko Koutouvides had one each to spoil freshman Brady Quinn’s first career start.
Quinn, the eighth freshman to start at quarterback for the Irish since 1951, moved the offense better than Carlyle Holiday did in Notre Dame’s first three games, but it wasn’t enough.
“I was pleased with what he showed me,” he said.
The Irish couldn’t get their running game going, though, gaining just 49 yards on 25 carries.
“To account for his little yardage is unacceptable,” Willingham said. “Their ability to shut us down in the running game made us a one-dimensional team.”
Quinn was the leading rusher for the Irish, with 25 yards on eight carries. He was 29-of-59 passing for 297 yards with four interceptions. The 59 passes were the second most in school history, second to the 63 Terry Hanratty threw in a 28-21 loss to Purdue in 1967. Hanratty also completed 29 passes.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Quinn said. “I’m just disappointed in myself because I felt like I let the team down and I personally could have been a lot better.”
Tiller looked at the stat sheet and smiled.
“Which one is Purdue and which one is Notre Dame?” Tiller asked. “Fifty-nine passes, that’s a credit to our run defense because they did such a great job.”
It appeared early that the Boilermakers might blow the game open. After holding the Irish to three-and-out, Purdue needed just four plays to drive 56 yards for a touchdown on its opening drive. Orton completed three passes for 51 yards, including a 36-yard strike to Ray Williams.
Purdue went ahead 10-0 after a pass by Quinn was deflected by Gardner and intercepted by Koutouvides, who returned it 8 yards to the Notre Dame 20. The Boilermakers settled for Jones’ 46-yard field goal after losing 8 yards.
The Irish scored 10 points in the second quarter, but it was all the offense they could muster. They cut the lead to 13-10 just before halftime on an 85-yard TD pass from Quinn to Maurice Stovall.
The pass was only 15 yards, but the Boilermakers were blitzing and cornerback Antaun Rogers couldn’t pull Stovall down and he beat cornerback Jacques Reeves to the end zone. It was the third longest TD pass in Notre Dame history.
The Irish defense kept the game close for a while.
“As a team, and especially as a defense, we have to step up and make more plays,” linebacker Courtney Watson said. “We played pretty well as a defense, but we didn’t make enough plays and we gave them two touchdowns.”
The Irish lost to three Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time since 1999. Notre Dame is 3-6 since starting 8-0 in Willingham’s first season last year.
Standeford had six catches for 63 yards, becoming Purdue’s all-time career receptions leader with 209 catches, breaking the mark of 204 by Tim Stratton 1998-00.
“I was particularly pleased our seniors to finally beat Notre Dame after being so close,” Tiller said. “It’s not like they haven’t had chances, but for one reason or another we came up short – usually because of a great play by a Notre Dame player.”