Survival. That is the name of the game in college football. Last year, the Fighting Irish survived and advanced several times. This game against the now 1-2 Purdue Boilermakers was no different.
The Irish found themselves behind 10-0 again this week after a Akeem Hunt 19 yard touchdown and a Paul Griggs 47 yard field goal. However, Notre Dame’s Defense stabilized the situation by not allowing another point in the first half. Notre Dame was able to manage a 20 yard Kyle Brindza field goal after the Irish were stopped on a 3rd and goal play.
Notre Dame’s second half scoring explosion could not have been predicted based on their first half Offensive woes.
The key to this resurgence was Quarterback Tommy Rees who threw for 309 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
After trading blows in the 3rd Quarter, Notre Dame landed a series of haymakers early in the 4th. The first came on a 9 yard pass from Tommy Rees to DaVaris Daniels. But, these two were not done. They hooked up 2:07 later when Tommy Rees hit Daniels who made a brilliant run after the catch. The play totaled 82 yards.
These two throws say a lot to the Tommy Rees naysayers. He has indeed developed his arm strength. He is not Tom Brady but he is good enough to make teams thing about getting beat deep.
1:18 after the Rees-Daniels pass, Jackson picked off a Robert Henry pass and took it to the house. This effectively sealed the game for Notre Dame who now had a 14 point lead in the 4th Quarter. Purdue scored with around 8 minutes left to make it a 31-24 score but Cam McDaniel and the Notre Dame Offensive Line sealed the deal as the Irish ran out the clock.
Notre Dame was favored to win by 3 touchdowns and only won by 1. It is hard to look at this as any type of solid win or moral victory. But, as cliche as it is, a win is a win.