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(Saturday, September 4th)
Final Score: Notre Dame 23, Purdue 12
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Dayne Crist passed for 205 yards and a touchdown, as Notre Dame topped the Purdue Boilermakers, 23-12, in Brian Kelly's Fighting Irish debut.
Kelly, a proven winner that resurrected both the Central Michigan and Cincinnati programs, came to Notre Dame (1-0) after leading the Bearcats to a 12-0 regular season in 2009. Crist, making his first collegiate start, completed 19-of-26 passes in the victory, while Armando Allen Jr. paced the ground attack with 93 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
"I took on the challenge at Notre Dame, because I want to see this program back to where I believe it should be, and that's amongst the elite of college football," Kelly said. "We've got some work to do. We are not there yet, believe me. Trust me. But we took a step today and we are going to keep pounding at it and working at it. Our kids are committed and our coaches had a great plan today and I think we are just going to continue to do what we have been doing. If we get our guys to believe in themselves and have that confidence, I think it will bode well as we continue to move through the season."
Purdue (0-1) quarterback Robert Marve, a junior who sat out last season after transferring from Miami, hit on 31-of-42 tosses with 220 yards and two picks. He did have a rushing touchdown for the Boilermakers, who finished 5-7 a year ago. Keith Smith was his main outlet, as he pulled in 12 passes for 80 yards.
"I think we grew up some today as a football team," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "I don't know what the official count is, I believe we probably played as many as 20 new guys in a game today and that's a lot of new people that's never played in a college football game or a new position. So I figure we did some good things. We were not as consistent as we needed to be."
The Irish kicked off the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run by Allen with just over two minutes left in the opening quarter. The run capped a seven- play, 84-yard drive.
Early in the second quarter, Notre Dame's David Ruffer made a 22-yard field goal.
Purdue countered behind a Carson Wiggs 25-yard field goal with just under four minutes remaining before the half. The Boilermakers settled for the field goal after a 15-play, 79-drive stalled in Notre Dame territory.
Ruffer gave the Irish a 13-3 halftime advantage on a 46-yard field goal with 43 second left.
The Irish extended their lead early in the third quarter, as Crist tossed a five-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Jones.
The Boilermakers, though, made things interesting early in the fourth quarter. After the defense came up with a safety, Purdue took the ensuing possession 55 yards, capping the seven-play drive with a 23-yard touchdown run by Marve on a fourth-and-one situation.
The Irish, however, would respond with a 37-yard field goal by Ruffer that capped a 10-play, 39-yard drive with four-plus minutes to go.
Notre Dame is now 54-26-2 all-time versus Purdue, including wins in five of the last six meetings.
09/04 21:55:05 ET