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Notre Dame Football

Drum, rolled: Kelly ties Rockne, Notre Dame downs Purdue

September 18, 2021

Perhaps, for now at least, no win is going to be easy this season for Notre Dame.

Nonetheless, bang the drum for another Fighting Irish victory. Especially one that further cements Brian Kelly's placement in the storied program's annals.

Notre Dame built a 17-6 third-quarter lead when Jack Coan hit Avery Davis in stride for a 62-yard touchdown, and the Irish eventually pulled away, 27-13, against their in-state rival Purdue.

The 59th win for Notre Dame in the series also improved it to 3-0 on the young season.

Kelly matched Rockne's program wins benchmark with his 105th triumph atop the Notre Dame program.

“I think it takes a lot of things to be in place for that to happen,” Kelly said. “Father John (Jenkins) has been with me me on this journey. Jack (Swarbrick) has been with me. It's consistency, leadership, alignment, all those things have to come together to get to this point.

“We're going to play our rival (Southern Cal, next month) and they've had a number of different head coaches at their university. I'm talking about our rival on the West Coast. I'm not smearing them. It requires consistency.”

The Irish defense cut down on its big plays, tightened up on third- and fourth-down conversions after Purdue opened 3-for-4 and took a 3-0 lead and then utilized a pair of late interceptions to preserve the win. Purdue did not score across the game’s final 22 minutes.

Notre Dame's smallest offensive output of the season, just 343 yards, nonetheless was punctuated by Jack Coan's downfield-passing and perhaps the Irish's most effective ground attack this season, with Kyren Williams amassing a season-best 91 yards on a dozen carries.

The Fighting Irish also featured their third different starting combination along the offensive line; with Michael Carmody unable to go at left tackle, redshirt-freshman Tosh Baker filled in capably at left tackle.

Coan delivered scoring strikes to Williams, first, on a fourth-and-3 play from 39 yards and later to Avery Davis on a post route that hit Davis in stride as he outraced the Boilermakers (2-1) into the end zone from 62 yards.

Williams polished off his two-touchdown day with a 51-yard burst through the snare of the Purdue defense, a play that unfolded with scarcely six minutes left and one that finally provided the Irish a measure of breathing room.

Defensively, Kyle Hamilton once again was a flat-out star. The junior preseason All-America safety tallied 10 tackles, picked off a deflected pass in the Irish end zone to thwart Purdue's late rally attempt and also broke up two other passes. Hamilton, now with three picks in three games, nearly had another two-interception game.

He just missed a deflected Boilermakers pass early in the contest.

“You saw the structure of our defense today, we added some things in there that I think will be part of what we do. Thought we executed better. Tackled better. Not great but better. This was an improvement there was going to be some growing pains, there were. We did it through some wins. Got an acc win, big ten win and a win against a really good mac tea,

Purdue's defense oftentimes mirrored Notre Dame's through its first two games; the Boilermakers sacked Coan four times and had seven tackles for losses.

Yet the unit also allowed the Irish offense to uncork plays of 20, 39, 51 and 62 yards.

“I thought Avery Davis was outstanding,” Kelly said of the senior wideout, who led the team with five receptions for 120 yards and the score. “And as a captain, he led by example this week.”

Up next for the Irish is the Shamrock Series against Wisconsin next Saturday at Chicago's Soldier Field. Kick is noon (Fox).

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