Sept. 16, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind.-(AP)Nick Setta kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 21 Notre Dame a 23-21 victory over mistake-prone Purdue on Saturday.
Shane Walton returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown as the Irish (2-1) scored 17 points off Purdue mistakes to send the Boilermakers to their 12th straight loss at Notre Dame.
The Boilermakers (2-1) also were hurt by a blocked punt that set up a Notre Dame touchdown and a failed fake punt that led to an Irish field goal. Purdue also had a bad snap on a third-and-10 play that led to a 17-yard loss.
Gary Godsey, making his first start in place of injured Arnaz Battle, was 14-of-25 for 158 yards, including 3-of-5 for 22 yards as Notre Dame converted three third-down plays during the game-winning drive. He threw one interception.
Purdue’s Drew Brees, fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting last season, was 13-of-22 for 221 yards with one interception. He also was sacked twice.
It marked the third straight time in the once lopsided rivalry that the game was decided in the final minute. Before that, Notre Dame won 11 straight against Purdue with none of the games decided by less than a touchdown.
The Irish won even though Purdue had 398 yards total offense compared to just 236 yards for Notre Dame.
Purdue attempted only 24 passes while running the ball 43 times. Purdue ran the ball more than it passed only twice last season. The most lopsided was against Indiana, when the Boilermakers ran the ball 41 times and passed only 24.
The game had a strange start as Notre Dame jumped to a 14-0 lead without making a single first down. Godsey scored on a 9-yard run following a blocked punt, and Walton scored on a 60-yard interception return. The Boilermakers outgained the Irish 93-17 in the quarter.
The usually pass-happy Boilermakers gained 76 of those yards on the ground as Brees missed on his first four passes and was 2-of-7 for 17 yards.
The Boilermakers cut the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter. Brees connected with Vinny Sutherland on a 54-yard pass to set up Montrell Lowe’s 6-yard TD run. Lowe ran for 82 yards on 20 carries.
The Irish finally got a first down on the first play after the kickoff, a 12-yard run by Julius Jones. The run was a yard more than Notre Dame had the entire first quarter. Godsey then connected with Jones on a screen pass for a 29-yard gain that helped set up a 47-yard field goal by Setta.
The Boilermakers cut the lead to 17-14 on Brees’ 19-yard TD pass to Sutherland. A 25-yard pass from Brees to Sedrick Brown helped set up that. Sutherland also caught a 22-yard scoring pass with 3:39 left in the game, but it proved to be too much.
Setta gave the Irish a 20-14 lead after Purdue punter Travis Dorsch called a fake at the line of scrimmage and Sutherland never heard the audible and never turned for the pass.
The winning field goal continues the trend of last minute decisions in the game. Trailing 28-23 last year, the Irish had the ball first-and-goal at the Purdue 9 with 61 seconds left and gained 7 yards on the first play but failed to score. A year earlier, Brees was intercepted with less than two minutes to go to set up a touchdown that gave Notre Dame a 31-30 lead. Brees was intercepted again in the final minute.
Following Saturday’s victory many of the students ran onto the field to celebrate. That game a week after Nebraska fans invaded Notre Dame Stadium and bought up nearly a third of the tickets, Irish fans again made up the majority of the sellout crowd of 80,232. One fan carried a sign reading: “Welcome back sellouts.”