Friday, August 15, 2008

Purdue survives against in-state rival Notre Dame

Notre Dame doesn't like Purdue.

The Boilers aren't too fond of the Irish, either, a fact that became glaringly apparent in Purdue's narrow 35-24 road victory in South Bend.

And though head coaches Matt Adams and Brian "Krildog" Krilich put on brave faces, they don't care much for one another.

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Krilich," Adams said, "especially when he's able to get his team pumped up for the home crowd like that."

"What the (expletive) is that supposed to mean? That doesn't even make any (expletive) sense! I mean, I have a lot of respect for Adams, but not for that punch n' judy engineer school he whores for," Krilich replied, hurling a foam 'Boiler Up' hammer about five feet away from himself. "How the hell did that get in here? This is our house! Our house!"

Unfortunately for Krilich, Touchdown Jesus wasn't in a giving mood for the Golden Domers. At least, not early enough. The Irish offense took the field first, managing a 20-yard field goal after an errant throw by Jimmy Clausen on third and goal.

"I thought we'd set a pretty good tone with that drive," Clausen said, "but we couldn't punch it in. All the credit in the world to the defense. They stepped up."

"Clausen said what? Touchdown Jesus Christ, I think it came down to poor execution. Why in God's name was he throwing the ball away on third and goal?" Krilich demanded, enraged.

"What was that play called again?" Adams asked. "If I remember right from the scouting report, Clausen calls that one Red Bull and Vodka. Great throw on his part. Seriously, who throws the ball away on third and goal? And then, you know I love Coach Krilich, but you'd think he'd have the stones to go for it instead of settling for three points."

"G**damn that Adams. Yeah, that's real smart. Pass up the sure three points. What's he think this is, video game football? We don't do that Playstation crap in real life," Krilich explained.

After Notre Dame settled for the field goal, the momentum swung in Purdue's favor. It started with a 65-yard touchdown run from Kory Sheets.

"Yeah, just went right up the gut," Sheets said. "No one seemed particularly interested in tackling me."

Sheets' big run got the Boilers rolling

Sheets' run triggered a 21-point Blitz by Purdue. The Boilers surged out to a 21-3 lead on the strength of its defensive play. The Gold and Black forced an interception from Clausen and a fumble from James Aldridge, his third of the season.

"Just overthrew that one a bit. I was trying to lead the receiver but ending up throwing it up for grabs," Clausen admitted.

"No excuse for that pass at all. I mean, Brandon Erwin's just sitting back there waiting for it. Jimmy's gotta do a better job of protecting the ball. I mean, I hate (Purdue quarterback Curtis) Painter, but he did a hell of a job protecting the ball," Krilich said.

In an impressive play, Purdue's Jason Werner forced a fumble. Just when it looked like Aldridge was about to turn the corner, Werner upended Aldridge, who lost the ball. Werner recovered but apparently became disoriented, running straight out of bounds instead of down the field.

"It was a big hit. My adrenaline got going. I just picked up the ball and started running. Didn't really pay attention to where I was going," Werner explained.

Werner's fumble recovery sparked a Boiler blitz

Just before halftime, the Boilers held a daunting 18-point lead.

Then, Notre Dame's offense came alive. Clausen connected with Kyle Rudolph for a 36-yard completion that put the Irish in scoring position.

"I can't believe they chased Kyle down," Krilich lamented. "I thought he was gone for sure.

Rudolph got his revenage, reeling in a four-yard score from Clausen with ten seconds left in the half. Suddenly, the Boilers led 21-10.

Purdue started the second half with a long drive that culminated in a TD run by Painter on a QB sneak.

"Thought that was kind of cheap," Krilich said. "You'd think they'd have the balls to (expletive) line 'em up and let one of the backs do their dirty work. But then again, I've been told I think too highly of Adams sometimes."

With the score 28-10, Purdue looked to be in control.

But 18 seconds after Painter's TD run, Clausen connected with George West for an 80 yard TD pass that showcased West's impressive speed.

"Ain't nobody catchin' up to me after that one," West boasted. "Burn. Absolute burn."

Purdue went three-and-out on its next possession, setting up the one and only punt of the game.

"Amazing, huh?" Adams said. "One freaking punt the whole game between the two of us. And it almost turned the game completely around."

Adams referred to the 62-yard punt return by Armando Allen. The long play set up a TD pass to Asaph Schwapp as time expired in the third quarter.

With timeouts to burn, the Irish elected for a normal kickoff. The fans in a frenzy and the momentum squarely in their favor, the Irish defense came up big, sacking Painter on second down.

The stands went crazy...after all, the Irish trailed 28-24. The Boilers faced third and fifteen. Another punt would give Notre Dame the chance to take the lead.

Then, the air went out of Notre Dame Stadium.

Under duress, Painter found Sheets for a 25-yard gain that gave Purdue the first down.

"I just saw him underneath and floated it to him. Kory did the rest. Kory always does the rest," Painter said.

The play contributed to a back-breaking drive that ate up almost four minutes of clock and covered 64 yards. A short touchdown pass from Painter to seldom-used fullback Frank Halliburton gave Purdue some much-needed breathing room.

"Just a little play-action pass we run all the time in practice," Halliburton said. "I'm always ready for it."

"Halliburton? (Expletive) Dick Cheney," Krilich said.

The touchdown gave Purdue a 35-24 advantage.

Not even Touchdown Jesus could save Notre Dame after that.

"It broke us. Like Ivan Drago broke Apollo Creed," Krilich said. "That third and 15 play killed us. Absolutely killed us!"

Painter finished the game 23-25 with 216 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he kept the Boilers away from turnovers. Sheets had 12 carries for 88 yards and caught three passes for 40 yards. Brandon Whittington led Purdue's receivers with five catches for 71 yards.

For the Irish, Clausen had an impressive game as well. He threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, connecting on 15 of his 21 throws. The only blemishes were the ill-conceived decision to throw the ball away on third and goal and his interception. West terrorized the Purdue defense with four catches for 119 yards.

The Boilermakers (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) host #12 Penn State next week in their Big Ten season opener.

The Irish (2-2, just pick a conference already!) host Stanford in what should be a therapeutic experience.


Although Frank Halliburton is described as "seldom used," that term does not apply inside the redzone. He has four TD catches in goaline situations...Chris Summers' punt against Notre Dame was not only the first and only punt of the game, it was also his first and only punt of the season; because of the long punt return, his net average stands at -21.0...four games into the season, Painter has already thrown 15 touchdowns, tied for third in the NCAA and tops in the Big Ten...Painter also leads the conference in passing yards...Purdue only has five sacks on the season...a win over Penn State could propel the Boilermakers into the top 25; Purdue received 114 votes in last week's coaches poll and 142 in the media poll...Coach Matt Adams plans to have dinner with linebacker recruit Brian Pressley, the nation's top-ranked middle linebacker prospect

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