Excellent play clock management by Notre Dame in the game’s final 4 minutes delivers the Fighting Irish their 2nd win.
BY:Jeff Schneberk @Game7overtime
It did not look good through most of it, and it looked just brutal at certain parts, but thanks to some excellent time clock management by the Irish, they kept the surging Boilermakers under control in the last 4 minutes as the Irish held on for a 31-24 win at Ross-Ade Stadium at West Lafayette.
The win improves the Notre Dame record to 2-1 while the Boilers drop to 1-2.
This game took the Irish just under 30 minutes to score a field goal.
Irish QB Tommy Rees went 20/33 for 309 yards and threw 2 huge touchdowns for the win. It was not nearly as pretty as it probably sounds.
Purdue played like the cockroach that refused to die.
On a 4th-down-and-8 deep in Irish territory, Purdue pivot Rob Henry just barely found Justin Sinz on a 9-yard touchdown pass at 8:16 left in the game and that brought the Boilers to within 7 of Notre Dame. With 8:16, there was plenty of time remaining in which to complete the comeback.
That is when Irish coach Brian Kelly’s time clock management really came in handy. Notre Dame QB Rees controlled the ball from his own 30 and got the ball to the Purdue 10 yard line and then for the first time this season, it was victory formation.
“We just kept playing,” said coach Kelly after the clock finally ran out. “We ran the ball when we need to close the game out.”
Kelly even acknowledged that he may already be thinking about the Michigan State Spartans.
“Next week, it’s Michigan State.”
Kelly said he wasn’t surprised that his team was able to put an absolutely atrocious start behind them, and buckle down to win the 4th quarter.
“Our kids found a way to come up with a win on the road.”
When questioned about the play of 4th year QB Rees, who did a swell job keeping control of the ball on a drive where one bad play could have been a nightmare.
“He is a 4th year senior. He really did a great job in the 4th quarter for us.”
In terms of rushing the ball, Cam McDaniel carried the ball 16 times for 56 yards, had the lone rushing TD and his largest gain was 10 yards. George Atkinson III carried five times for 27 yards, Amir Carlisle carried 11 times, picked up 16 yards.
Davaris Daniels was the star in the receiving game for Notre Dame, with 167 yards, averaging over 20 yards per catch, had a pair of TDs and his largest gain was 82 yards. TJ Jones was another bright spot, catching 4 passes for 57 yards, averaged 14.3 yards and Amir Carlisle caught 3 passes for 16 yards, averaged 5.3 yards per catch.
Bennett Jackson gave everyone watching at home a breathe of a sigh of relief when he picked off a Henry pass late in the game, returning the interception 34 yards to the house. This was one of the few games where the opponent had no interceptions against Notre Dame.
Purdue’s majors were all scored through the air. Akeem Hunt had one for 15 yards in the first quarter, which opened the scoring. BJ Knauf had an 18 yard reception with 6:26 left in the third quarter before Justin Sinz brought the Boilers as close as they would get with 8:16 remaining.