SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Kyren Williams scored two long touchdowns, the second a 51-yard run with 6:05 remaining, as No. 12 Notre Dame held off Purdue 27-13 Saturday for its 26th straight victory at home.
The victory was the 105th in Brian Kelly’s 12-year career at Notre Dame, tying him with Knute Rockne as the winningest coach in school history. The Fighting Irish won their eighth straight over Purdue and first since 2014.
Williams, who scored on a fourth-and-3 pass play of 39 yards from Jack Coan early in the second quarter to give the Irish their first lead 7-3, finished with 86 yards on 11 carries and two receptions for 47 yards.
Coan, who was sacked four times and struggled with his accuracy, completed 15 of 31 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He connected on a 62-yarder to Avery Davis in the third quarter that put the Irish up 17-6. Davis led the Irish in receptions with five for 120 yards. Notre Dame also had a pair of field goals by Jonathan Doerer.
The Boilermakers (2-1) outgained the Irish 348-343 thanks to a 291-223 edge through the air and got their only touchdown on a 2-yard pass from Jack Plummer to Milton Wright in the third quarter.
That cut the Irish lead to 17-13 in the third quarter. Mitchell Fineran had a pair of 34-yard field goals for Purdue.
Plummer completed 25 of 36 passes for 187 yards but left the game after being sacked by Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. He was replaced by Aidan O’Connell, whose pass with 2:32 remaining into the Irish end zone was picked off by safety Kyle Hamilton, the first of two by Notre Dame in the final minutes to seal the victory.
Purdue: The Boilermakers kept pace with the Irish thanks to Plummer, who entered the game hitting 73.8% of his passes and 13th in the nation in pass efficiency at 183.1. His performance against the Irish didn’t disappoint, but Purdue clearly needed more from its running game which managed just 57 yards on 25 carries.
Notre Dame: While the Irish struggled on offense, their defense, maligned for giving up four plays of 60 yards or more in its first two victories, tightened things somewhat against the Boilermakers. For the third straight game, linebacker JD Bertrand finished with double-digit tackles with 12, two more than Hamilton, and the Irish recorded three sacks.
Notre Dame, which fell four spots to No. 12 in the Associated Press poll after its 32-29 victory over Toledo, probably will stay close to there in the next rankings.
Purdue: Boilermakers open Big Ten play against visiting Illinois.
Notre Dame: Irish visit Chicago’s Soldier Field next Saturday to play Wisconsin.
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