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Notre Dame rallies over Purdue

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Heavily favored Notre Dame found itself in a battle with Purdue before DaVaris Daniels took over.

The junior caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, including an 82-yarder, to help the 21st-ranked Irish rally for a 31-24 victory over the Boilermakers on Saturday night.

Daniels had career highs of eight catches and 167 yards.

The 82-yarder came against Purdue's most decorated defensive player, Ricardo Allen. It gave Notre Dame a 24-17 lead and shifted the momentum. Tommy Rees, who passed for 309 yards and both touchdowns for the Fighting Irish (2-1), felt that Daniels had an advantage against Allen.

"We had a good matchup outside," Rees said. "He can go and run, and if I just put the ball out there for him, he'll go run and make a play. He had a great run after the catch, stayed in bounds, being strong with it. That's the kind of player he is."

Allen took responsibility for the touchdown. He got burned down the field, missed a chance to tackle Daniels shortly after the catch and took a hard stiff-arm near the goal line.

"I just got lazy on my technique," he said. "It was a perfectly called play. That was on me. That was my fault. I didn't do my job."

Bennett Jackson then returned an interception 34 yards to bump Notre Dame's lead to 31-17 with 11:18 remaining.

The rally was no surprise to Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

"There was this confidence that we were going to be OK," he said. "I was never worried in the sense that there was a panic. I felt really confident that we would win the football game. We just needed to settle down."

The Irish were sluggish early, perhaps still reeling from their loss to Michigan the previous week.

"As a team, we came out flat," Daniels said. "We weren't ready to play. We had to get settled in. In the second half, I think everybody kind of got comfortable."

Rob Henry passed for a career-high 256 yards and three touchdowns for the Boilermakers (1-2), who were trying to get the first signature win for new coach Darrell Hazell. Purdue led 17-10 at the end of the third quarter, but Notre Dame scored three touchdowns in the first four minutes of the fourth to take control.

"There aren't any moral victories," Hazell said. "You get what you are supposed to get."

Notre Dame opened the second half with a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie the score at 10. Cam McDaniel's 1-yard touchdown run followed a 27-yard catch by TJ Jones on the sideline that originally was ruled incomplete but was overturned upon review.

Purdue responded quickly. B.J. Knauf started the possession with a 39-yard kickoff return, then finished it with an 18-yard touchdown reception to give Purdue a 17-10 lead with 6:28 left in the third quarter.

Rees connected with Daniels for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 14:47 remaining to tie the score at 17.

Daniels struck for the long touchdown on the first play of Notre Dame's next possession.

After Jackson's touchdown, Purdue, in desperation mode, hung tough. Henry found Justin Sinz in the middle of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-7 with 8:16 remaining.

Amir Carlisle fumbled on a hit by Taylor Richards and Joe Gilliam recovered, giving the Boilermakers a chance, but Purdue didn't score, and the Irish eventually ran out the clock.

Purdue went right down the field to start the game. Akeem Hunt caught three passes for 39 yards on the opening drive, including a 15-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass from Henry.

Purdue would have had a larger lead, but Paul Griggs missed a 27-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first quarter. He redeemed himself with a 47-yarder to extend Purdue's lead to 10-0 with 10:44 left in the first half.

Notre Dame, hoping to gain some momentum, went for it for fourth-and-4 from the Purdue 39 midway through the second quarter, but Rees' pass fell incomplete.

The Fighting Irish finally got on the board when Kyle Brindza made a 20-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the half. The Boilermakers led 10-3 at the break.

Though the team fell short, Hazell felt the Boilermakers responded well in the second half, especially when they fell behind by two scores.

"They're starting to understand that adversity is part of the football game," Hazell said. "The only way you come out of the adversity is to work through it."

NOTES: Purdue tight end Gabe Holmes missed the game with a wrist injury. He was the team's leader in receptions and yards. Landon Feichter, a starting safety for the Boilermakers, was out with a broken leg. ... Purdue entered the game with the third-most wins by any school against Notre Dame with 26, trailing only USC and Michigan State. ... Purdue entered the game ranked second nationally in net punting. ... Purdue slot receiver Danny Anthrop played in the first quarter. He had not played this season because of an MCL injury to his left knee. ... Carlisle's father, Duane, is Purdue's director of sports performance. Purdue defensive coordinator Greg Hudson played for Notre Dame.
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