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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Disappointed?
You'd better believe.
Not even close.
Purdue played Notre Dame to the brink Saturday, and if it wasn't enough, well, it was something to build on, coach Danny Hope said in the aftermath of the 20-17 loss at Notre Dame Stadium.
“I was proud of our effort. We were only a few plays away from knocking off a really good team at their place.
“We have nothing to be discouraged about. Discouragement is a state of mind.”
In the end, Purdue needed one more defensive stop.
It never came.
Notre Dame's Kyle Brindza kicked the game-winning 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left, capping a two-minute drive by veteran quarterback Tommy Rees to boost the Irish to a 2-0 start.
Purdue dropped to 1-1 with a pair of home games against Eastern Michigan and Marshall ahead before it starts Big Ten play.
“I was really encouraged about our effort and the way we came to play,” Hope said. “Our defense rallied several times. Our offense was three and out more times than we'd like in the second half. Our defense continued to show up and give us a chance to win.”
Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush had appeared to give the Boilers a shot to win in overtime when he hit Antavian Edison with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 2:12 left that tied the score at 17-17.
TerBush finished 8-for-19 for 79 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Hope wasn't happy about that third-quarter interception, which led to a Notre Dame field goal.
“We manufactured a stupid interception,” he said. “That was careless. That impacted the game some. They hit a big pass on us. That impacted the game some.
“Even with that, I thought our team rose to the occasion and fought hard. We showed great promise as a team. I think we're going to do very well this season.”
Quarterback Robert Marve was 11-for-18 for 119 yards and a touchdown. But he hurt his left knee while being sacked late in the fourth quarter, giving TerBush his final chance, and he delivered.
Purdue's third quarterback, Rob Henry, didn't play.
Is Hope still set on rotating quarterbacks?
“We're always going to play more than one quarterback. We don't want the No. 1 quarterback to go down and have to wave a white flag in the middle of the game or the middle of the season.”
Purdue and Notre Dame played to a 7-7 first-half tie. Marve threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Edison just before halftime. That countered Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson's 3-yard touchdown run.
The Boilers stuffed the run. Notre Dame had just 18 yards on the ground at halftime. However, Golson was 11-for-15 for 189 yards. Tight end Tyler Eifert had two catches for 51 yards.
Purdue's quarterback rotation was a first-half dead heat. TerBush was 6-for-11 for 52 yards. He also rushed for 26. Marve was 6-for-10 for 53 yards. He ran for eight yards.
Notre Dame opened the third quarter strong. It stopped Purdue, drove for a touchdown behind a couple of big passes to Eifert, then picked off TerBush and added a field goal. In six minutes, it led 17-7.
The Boilers got inside the Notre Dame 5-yard line in position for a touchdown, but a delay of game penalty and a sack for them to settle for Sam McCartney's 33-yard field goal to make it 17-10.
Facing fourth and 10 with 2:12 left, TerBush hit Edison for a 15-yard tying touchdown pass. It came after the defense forced a Notre Dame fumble.
Then Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, never one to tolerate turnovers, turned to Rees. He led the Irish into field goal range and Kyle Brindza hit the game-winner with seven seconds left.