Football: Tommy Rees helps ND come back to beat Purdue
By Lamond Pope 713-2691 or firstname.lastname@example.org September 14, 2013 11:21PM
Notre Dame v Purdue
For more coverage of Notre Dame, go to posttrib.suntimes.com/sports
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:57AM
WEST LAFAYETTE — Tommy Rees had never had a longer completion.
DaVaris Daniels had never had a longer reception.
The two connected for an 82-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. The play gave Notre Dame its first lead Saturday against Purdue. The Irish held on to defeat the scrappy Boilermakers 31-24 in front of 61,127 fans at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Rees threw two touchdown passes, both to Daniels.
Both of those touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter to help Notre Dame avoid a major upset.
Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson intercepted a pass on Purdue’s next possession and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, seemly putting the game out of reach.
But Purdue rallied to get within seven. The Boilermakers had a chance to tie the game after getting good field position following a fumble by Notre Dame running back Amir Carlisle. But Notre Dame’s defense held strong and the No. 21 Irish improved to 2-1.
For much of the first half, the Irish couldn’t get anything going offensively.
Kyle Brindza made a 20-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the second half for the team’s first points. Notre Dame went to halftime trailing 10-3.
Notre Dame started the third quarter strong. TJ Jones made a spectacular 27-yard catch – the play was initially ruled an incomplete pass – at Purdue’s 1. Cam McDaniel scored on a 1-yard run on the next play to tie the game at 10.
Purdue (1-2) answered in its next possession. Quarterback Rob Henry threw a short slant pass to B.J. Knauf. He made Matthias Farley and KeiVarae Russell miss on the way to an 18-yard touchdown.
Notre Dame used an 11-play drive to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. Rees completed a 9-yard pass to Daniels for a touchdown to make it 17-all.
Notre Dame regained possession after a Boilermakers’ punt and took over at its own 18. Rees threw a pass down the right sideline and Daniels caught it in stride. He kept his balance near the sideline and outraced cornerback Ricardo Allen for the 82-yard touchdown.
Henry attempted to rally the Boilermakers, but Jackson intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards to give the Irish a 31-17 lead.
Purdue got within seven thanks to a 9-yard touchdown pass by Henry to Justin Sinz with 8:16 remaining.
Carlisle fumbled on the next possession, but Notre Dame’s defense forced a three-and-out. The Irish ran out the clock for the win.
Purdue had struggled finding the end zone in its first two games. But it didn’t take Purdue long to score Saturday.
Purdue went 75 yards in 12 plays on the game’s opening drive for a touchdown. Akeem Hunt caught a screen pass and raced 15 yards into the end zone for the game’s first points. A 47-yard field goal by Paul Griggs made it 10-0 with 10:44 left in the first half.
The Irish then began its slow, but steady, march for the comeback victory.