Yesterday I posted the game preview for the Notre Dame game against the Purdue Boilermakers. When I did that I thought that it would be a blowout in favor of the Irish, but I hoped that it would be a close game. I had no idea that I would see one of the better games in the matchup in my brief history with it. When we walked into the stadium we knew right away what a big game that we were going to see. Purdue had designated the game a ‘blackout’ game. That is where they sell special black shirts to the fans to try and get a sea of black in the crowd. The team did its own part as well wearing the usual black home jersey with the black away pants. They have not had much luck with this look, but it really looks great especially at night. The Boilers struck early when Aaron Valentin drug Irish defenders into the end zone for a 36 yard score to put Purdue up 7-0. Both teams traded futile drives until the Irish kicked a field goal to bring the score to within four. In the second quarter Golden Tate took the helm of the Wildcat offense and led the Irish to two straight touchdown drives to give the Irish a 17-7 lead. With about eight minutes left in the third quarter the Irish got the ball with good field position. I knew that a score would break the backs of the Purdue faithful as well as the team. The Irish went three and out again to keep the Boilers in the game. With the third quarter winding down the Boilers were threatening to score. I was very nervous because I had a feeling that Joe Tiller would pump up the crowd and lead them in Shout just before the fourth quarter. A score right after that would send the crowd into a frenzy. The Boilers did score just after Coach Joe pumped up the crowd and the stadium went into a frenzy. Keith Smith capped a great night by catching a 3 yard touchdown pass to bring Purdue to within three. Joey Elliot found a wide open Jaycen Taylor for a 38 yard touchdown with 3:41 left in the game to give the Boilers the 31-17 lead. For some reason there was not an Irish player on the side of the field with Taylor. The closest player was the safety in the middle who fell as soon as Taylor caught the ball. Jaycen walked into the end zone, and gave the crowd hope. The crowd also gained hope when Jimmy Clausen walked onto the field to quarterback the Irish. To that point in the game I don’t think that the Irish gained a first down with him at quarterback. With help from a couple of penalties he took the Irish into Purdue territory with time running out. After a run play the Irish had 26 seconds on the clock with the ball carrier being held down when for some reason the Boilers called time out. The Irish had no timeouts left, and would have to clock the ball or get a quick play off to have a chance. Visions of 1999 were flashing through my head when the Irish lost because of poor clock management. Ten years later Danny Hope bailed the Irish out by giving them another shot with the timeout. After the timeout it was third and goal for the Irish. Clausen missed on a pass to Robby Parris to bring the game down to one fourth down play. Under pressure Clausen found tight end Kyle Rudolph right on the goal line to put the Irish up 24-21 with just 25 seconds on the clock. That was the end of the scoring on the night. My two favorite teams duking it out for 60 minutes with the game coming down to the last seconds. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Next week I will be back to rooting on the Boilers with everything I have as they take on Northwestern for homecoming. For now though I am still basking in the glow of a great game.
The real star of this game was Golden Tate. He is aptly named. He is shown to the right jumping over Purdue safety Tori Williams to gain extra yards. He was the offense on the two touchdown drives that the Irish had back to back. He lined up as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation, and gave the Boilers all that they could handle. He finished the game with nine carries for 57 yards and one touchdown. He also had five catches for 57 yards. His presence really helped ease the loss of Michael Floyd. The starting outfielder for the baseball team used all of his athletic ability to give the Irish a spark. Since I have nothing better to do right now I will post some more pictures from this great night. This has to rank right up there with some of the best games I have ever been to.
The Boilers storm the field in all black
The student section looks great for the ‘Blackout’
Aaron Valentin carries Irish defenders into the end zone for a 36 yard touchdown on the first drive of the game to put the Boilers up 7-0
Jimmy Clausen passes to Golden Tate
Clausen throws on the run
Elliot throws under pressure
Elliot throwing on the run. He was most effective while on the move. In the pocket he looked terrible
Tate finds a big hole
Robert Hughes breaking a tackle on the sidelines
Ralph Bolden getting stuffed on the goal line just at the start of the fourth quarter
Keith Smith pulling in a TD pass to bring the Boilers to within 3 early in the fourth quarter
Jimmy Clausen on the toss
Robert Hughes getting taken down by Mike Neal. No horse collar called on this play