Well, my prediction was not correct. OK, it was not even close. But a win is still a win, even if it is a last-second kick that brings it home.
Notre Dame starting quarterback Everett Golson struggled all day against an overpowering Purdue defense. When Purdue forced the Irish to cough up the ball late in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly resumed his merry-go-round of quarterbacks and called in backup Tommy Rees to run a two-minute drill and save the 22nd-ranked Irish from suffering a loss in Week 2.
Golson, in his first start at home, finished the day completing 21-of-31 passes for 289 yards. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another, but was sacked five times and presided over a game that was riddled with errors and penalties (eight Irish penalties). He seemed to have a difficult time settling himself and never really seemed comfortable leading Notre Dame down the field. He did, however, manage to connect several long passes with such receivers as Tyler Eifert (caught passes for 22 and 25 yards) and DaVaris Daniels (a 41-yarder), to give the Irish faithful a glimpse into what could be a bright future.
In his postgame interview with Alex Flanagan, Kelly said Golson is still the starting quarterback. “Everett Golson is our starter,” Kelly said. “I’ll get that out of the way right now.”
With less than four minutes left in the game, Golson fumbled the ball on the 15- yard line to give the Boilermakers a short field and an opportunity to tie the game, which they seized. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush connected on a short pass to Antavian Edison for the tying touchdown and sent the Irish scrambling.
With Golson having problems gripping the ball, Kelly called upon former starting quarterback Tommy Rees looking to make something happen.
Rees came in and efficiently executed a 12-play, 55-yard scoring drive that ended in a Kyle Brindza field goal with seven seconds left to nail down a Notre Dame victory. On the drive, Rees connected with John Goodman for a 10-yard pass and Robby Toma for a 21-yard grab. Brindza, who missed a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter, connected on a 27-yard kick to secure the win.
For a game that some felt was not supposed to be much of a test for Notre Dame, Purdue proved to be quite a challenge. The Irish also suffered injuries in defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (calf) and safety Jamoris Slaughter (shoulder). Tyler Eifert also left the game in the fourth quarter due to a concussion.
The Irish have some work to do this week before traveling to East Lansing, MIch., to face the Michigan State Spartans.
Brian Kelly on the Notre Dame-Purdue game: