Irish Post First Win Of Season, 35-28; Kinder’s 52-Yard TD Run Foils Late Purdue Comeback
By TIM SEYMOUR
Associate Sports Editor
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Perhaps at the end of the season, Irish fans will be able to point to Saturday’s 35-28 victory over Purdue as a turning point, a time when the team finally convinced itself it could win.
Until then, it will be remembered for barely averted disaster and unexpected heart palpitations.
“The kids played their hearts out and gave the fans a hell of a show, which you’d like to see all the time,” stated Purdue coach Jim Colletto.
Not if you are an Irish fan.
Notre Dame’s victory over the once-hapless Boilermakers was not secured until Ivory Covington and Bobby Howard combined on fourth down to stop Purdue’s Edwin Watson on the Irish 6-yard line, just short of a first down, with under a minute left.
Such last second dramatics have been far from the norm in the Notre Dame-Purdue series, which Notre Dame has swept handily since 1985. For a team desperately groping for confidence, though, the Irish won’t complain.
“It may not have been pretty, in fact it may have been ugly, but never underestimate a win,” stated Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Davie.
That win looked secure midway through the third quarter after Irish quarterback Ron Powlus lofted a touchdown pass, his fourth of the day, to wideout Emmett Mosley off a fake reverse, putting Notre Dame up by a seemingly comfortable 28-13 margin.
Powlus finished the game 17-of-25 for 252 yards, and his four touchdowns tied a Notre Dame mark that he also set last season against Northwestern.
“Powlus did a great job,” praised Colletto. “I have a great deal of admiration for him because that’s a tough job to do. Everything at that school is put in the spotlight so much.”
However, his final touchdown pass, rather than put Purdue away, served to spark a dizzying procession of big plays that only ended with the final gun.
After the teams traded punts, Purdue marched down the field aided by costly penalties to Irish defenders Allen Rossum and Kory Minor. The drive was capped by Watson’s 13-yard run up the middle to bring the Boilermakers within striking distance.
Very few expected the strike to come so quickly.
On Notre Dame’s fourth play on the next possession, Powlus was intercepted by Derrick Brown, who raced 54 yards for a touchdown. The ensuing two-point conversion knotted the game and brought back visions of last week’s debacle against Northwestern.
Momentum did not remain with Purdue for long though. Rather than staggering under the unexpected pressure of the moment, the Irish offense collected itself and returned the favor as tailback Randy Kinder broke right on the first play from scrimmage and sprinted 52 yards to put Notre Dame back in the lead.
“At that point we just came back and answered,” said Mosley. “That showed we were together. Randy broke a lot of big runs.”
“I told the guys in the huddle, ‘OK, I made it interesting,'” said Powlus. “Then I said, ‘Let’s make a big play.'”
While Kinder delivered in that instance, big plays became almost routine as the two squads tallied a combined 980 yards in total offense.
However, it was the last 13 yards of offense that stymied the Boilermakers. After Heisman hopeful fullback Mike Alstott rumbled 34 yards down the right sideline to place Purdue in prime scoring position, the Boilermakers were unable to push the ball across the goal line in four chances.
They did come close, though.
On second down, a wide-open Craig Allen bobbled a sure touchdown in the back corner of the end zone. The Irish were again the beneficiaries of Purdue miscues when Boiler quarterback Rick Trefzger missed Alstott in the flat on third down.
“On that third down play, I went to the flat and was wide open,” said Alstott. “He should have thrown it to me, but you can’t dwell on that.”
Be sure that the Irish will not dwell on it either. Certainly there were areas needing improvement, but for a team facing the prospect of an 0-2 start, senior Ryan Leahy’s synopsis that “a win is a win is a win” held true.
“We did not play particularly well on defense, but we did make some plays,” said Irish coach Lou Holtz. “We’re glad to win.”
At Ross-Ade StadiumSeptember 9, 1995Attendance: 70,569Notre Dame (25) 0 14 14 7 - 35Purdue 7 3 3 15 - 28PUR--Rogers 42 run (Bobich kick) ND--Kinder 30 pass from Powlus (Kopka kick) ND--Mayes 12 pass from Powlus (Kopka kick) PUR--FG Bobich 25 ND--Sollman 15 pass from Powlus (Kopka kick) PUR--FG Bobich 21 ND--Mosley 51 pass from Powlus (Kopka kick) PUR--Watson 13 run (Bobich kick) PUR--D Brown 54 interception return (Rogers pass from Trefzger)ND--Kinder 52 run (Kopka kick) ND PURDFirst downs 26 27Rushes-yards 43-250 43-275Passing yards 252 203Sacked-yards lost 1-7 0-0Return yards 46 54Comp.-Att.-Int. 17-25-2 18-35-3Punts 1-21.0 3-36.7Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0Penalties-yards 6-64 5-51Time of possession 28:32 31:28 RUSHING:Notre Dame-Kinder 14-142, A. Denson 7-69, Edwards 8-30, R. Farmer 3-5, Mayes 1-5, B. Gibbs 2-3, Spencer 1-2, Powlus 6-minus 1, C. Stokes 1-minus 5.Purdue-Alstott 21-115, Rogers 5-68, Watson 10-60, Trefzger 5-15, Reeves 1-14, Allen 1-3. PASSING:Notre Dame-Powlus 17-25-2-252.Purdue-Trefzger 15-27-2-181, Reeves 3-8-1-22. RECEIVING:Notre Dame-Mayes 7-85, Mosley 2-61, Kinder 2-38, R. Farmer 1-17, Edwards 1-17, Sollman 1-15, A. Denson 1-9, Wallace 1-6, Chryplewicz 1-4.Purdue-Alford 7-91, Alstott 4-45, Allen 2-26, Watson 2-20, I. Jones 1-12, Stephens 1-6, Olivadotti 1-3.