Brees blows Boilermakers past Irish
By BRIAN KESSLER
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.
If you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it.
Notre Dame (1-2) learned that the hard way in Saturday's 28-23 loss to Purdue (2-0), as it watched the clock run out for the second-straight week.
"It's disappointing because, once again, we beat ourselves," tailback Tony Fisher said. "We're right there ready to put the ball in and we didn't capitalize on it."
Trailing late in the game, the Irish pinned the Boilermakers deep and freshman Julius Jones returned a punt to the Purdue 41. Six plays later, the Irish were knocking on the door, faced with first-and-goal from the 9-yard line with one minute to play.
After a reception and a rush, senior fullback Joey Goodspeed took the Irish to the 1-yard line with 16 seconds to go. Following a timeout, the Irish set up in the wishbone and planned to run an isolation play to Fisher.
The backfield, however, heard an audible to the option, and Jarious Jackson was tackled for a nine-yard loss. As Notre Dame frantically set up for a final play, the clock ran out, and Boilermaker fans poured onto the field.
"It's just miscommunication," Fisher said. "We thought Jarious called one play, and it was related to us as another play. Unfortunately, we didn't get the right play in the backfield."
Communication was not a problem for Purdue head coach Joe Tiller.
"I figured the last play of the game we were going to roll the dice, and I said let's blitz them," said Tiller, whose team has now won eight straight. "We're going to take a shot. We're going to give our players a chance to make a play."
Head coach Bob Davie's team never had a chance.
"I thought we did a tremendous job coming down at the end and giving ourselves a chance with two plays left, where they wouldn't have any time to get the ball back," Davie said. "I take responsibility that we didn't have the backs going the right way."
Everything went Notre Dame's way early on. The Boilermakers turned over the ball over twice on its first three plays from scrimmage, and the Irish quickly capitalized. Jim Sanson connected on a 20-yard field goal, and Jackson scored on a 15-yard run to give the Irish a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Purdue answered with a 74-yard drive capped off by a Drew Brees touchdown run, but another Jackson score pushed the Irish lead to 16-7.
Late in the second quarter, Brees completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Randall Lane to cut the Irish lead to 16-14 at the half.
"Defensively, I think we hung in there and played hard," Davie said. "That's an excellent offensive football team, and I have great respect for their quarterback."
Purdue and Notre Dame swapped touchdowns in the third quarter.
Purdue's Jay Crabtree scored on a 1-yard run and Brees leaped into the end zone on the two-point play. With the Boilermakers ahead 22-16, Jackson found Bobby Brown in the corner of the end zone.
Purdue took the lead for good in the fourth quarter with 28- and 38-yard field goals from Travis Dorsch.
Purdue's Chris Daniels (13 catches for 123 yards) and Lane (5 catches for 121) were the game's leading receivers.
Fisher was the game's leading rusher, as he picked up 63 yards on 14 carries.
The quarterback battle broke down pretty evenly. Heisman-hopeful Brees finished 24-for-40 for 317 yards, while Jackson was 22-for-34 for 267 yards.
Each threw and rushed for a touchdown, but both were intercepted.
Brees, however, was the only quarterback to lead his team to victory.
"We have to digest what happened and move forward," Davie said. "The positive is that we have a lot of heart and a lot of resilience on this team, and we'll bounce back against Michigan State next weekend."
All Sports Stories for Monday, September 13, 1999