Sept. 11, 1999
By JR ROSS
Associated Press Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Communication breakdown.
Notre Dame’s backfield botched a second-and-goal call from the 1-yard line as time ran out and the 16th-ranked Irish lost to No. 20 Purdue 26-22 on Saturday, only the second time in 14 tries that the Boilermakers have beaten Notre Dame.
“Once again, we may have squandered away some opportunities,” said Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, whose squad lost 26-22 last week to Michigan when a last-minute drive came up short.
After Travis Dorsch kicked two fourth-quarter field goals to give Purdue (2-0) its first lead of the game, Jarious Jackson drove the Irish (1-2) to the 2-yard line with time running out.
Tony Driver was stopped on first-and-goal on the 1, and Notre Dame called a timeout to regroup. The Irish then lined up in a modified wishbone formation, with Jackson lined up in front of fullback Joey Goodspeed and running backs Driver and Tony Fisher.
Davie said an isolation running play was called, and Jackson stepped to the line with a planned false check to throw off the defense. Instead, it confused the Notre Dame backs.
Jackson went left, and Purdue’s penetration forced him backward, where he was dropped by Mike Rose for a 9-yard loss. Time expired before Jackson could get another play off, and Purdue players and fans spilled onto the field.
“Going into it, they were going to have two different plays,” Rose said. “They were going to try to run it down our throats like they were all game or try to fake and have a boot play.
“I just tried to run him down.”
Davie said the confusion was a breakdown in coaching.
“We had the backs going the wrong way. Some thought it was a check and some thought it wasn’t a check,” Davie said. “I think we’ve all learned that we shouldn’t be in a situation like that where we have to check at all.”
Purdue’s last stand was one of the few stellar defensive showings as the teams combined for 826 yards, and the quarterbacks controlled the tempo.
Jackson was 22-of-34 for 267 yards, a touchdown and an interception. But he was ineffective running the ball, usually one of his strengths, and had 1 yard rushing on 13 attempts. He was most impressive on third down, going 9-for-12 with 118 yards and eight first downs.
Drew Brees continued his assault on the Purdue record book, throwing for 317 yards and completing 24-of-40 with a touchdown and an interception.
He moved into third place in career touchdown passes at Purdue with 44 and fourth on the school’s completions list with 430. He has 5,047 yards total offense for his career, and is sixth on the school list for passing attempts for 695.
He also made up for the two fourth-quarter interceptions he threw last year against Notre Dame to hand the Irish a 31-30 victory.
“Last week, I was making decisions but second-guessing myself. I just didn’t want to make bad decisions,” Brees said, referring to the interceptions. “I cut back on those types of things, not throwing interceptions in the red zone, being a little bit smarter with the football.”
The last-minute fireworks made up for a comedy of errors on both sides in the first half.
Two of Purdue’s first three plays resulted in turnovers and led to a 10-0 Notre Dame lead.
The Boilermakers followed that up by jumping offsides twice – one on fourth-and-inches – from inside their 15 before Jackson scored on a 1-yard run. Then Jim Sanson’s extra-point kick glanced off the left upright.
The Irish had a chance to score again at the end of the half, but stalled after being flagged for holding and illegal motion on successive plays. Jackson hit Javin Hunter for 17 yards to the 23 with time running out, and Jackson went to down the ball.
Instead, he lined up under the wrong lineman – as the kicking team lined up behind him – and time ran out.
“I figured the last play of the game we were going to roll the dice, and I said let’s blitz them,” Tiller said. “We’re going to take a shot. We’re going to give our players a chance to make a play.”