Clausen leads Irish past Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - A hobbled Jimmy Clausen completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph with 24.8 seconds to play, and Notre Dame rallied for a 24-21 win over Purdue on Saturday night.

Clausen, slowed by a turf toe injury on his right foot, split time with Dayne Crist but returned to the game when it got tight in the fourth quarter.

The Fighting Irish (3-1) took over trailing 21-17 with 3:41 to go. Clausen completed a 22-yard pass to Rudolph to move the ball to the Purdue 32, but a sack forced Notre Dame into a third-and-14. Clausen completed a 15-yard pass to Robby Parris for a first down. A 17-yarder to Golden Tate set up a first-and-goal at the 4. After three plays netted two yards, Clausen found Rudolph in the end zone for the winner.

Clausen, the nation's No. 2 passer, wasn't himself. He completed 15 of 26 for 171 yards, and he threw his first interception of the season.

He found his rhythm in the final minutes.

"I think I just needed to stay loose," he said. "Coach (Charlie Weis) told me if he needed me to go I was going to go. I'm just so proud of this team for fighting back. Every time we're down we're fighting back. That's what I love about this team."

It was the third straight Notre Dame game decided in the final minute. Kyle McCarthy had an interception at the 4-yard line with 57 seconds to seal Notre Dame's 33-30 win over Michigan State last week. A week earlier, Michigan's Tate Forcier threw a 5-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds to beat the Irish 38-34.

Notre Dame played without its leading rusher and receiver. Running back Armando Allen sat out with an injured right ankle and Michael Floyd was knocked out for the season last week with a broken collarbone.

And, there was Clausen's injury. He felt no pain in the moments after the game.

"I feel great right now," he said. "I feel great. This win is just awesome, a great feeling right now."

Joey Elliott passed for 289 yards and three touchdowns in his best game of the season for Purdue (1-3). Keith Smith caught 11 passes and tied a career high with 136 yards.

Purdue's three losses are by a combined 11 points.

Notre Dame scored touchdowns on both possessions with Crist at quarterback in the first half, and the Irish led 17-7 at the break. Purdue committed eight penalties for 73 yards in the first half.

The Boilermakers (1-3) drove deep into Notre Dame territory late in the third quarter and began the fourth quarter trailing by 10 with the ball at the Notre Dame 15. Elliott completed a slant pass to Smith for a 3-yard touchdown, and the Boilermakers cut Notre Dame's lead to 17-14.

Purdue got another chance with just under six minutes to play. Jaycen Taylor took a play-action fake out of the backfield, caught a pass in the flat from Elliott and raced untouched for a 38-yard touchdown that gave Purdue a 21-17 lead with just under four minutes to play.

Purdue didn't deny the importance of the game, saying all week that the rivalry had special meaning. The Boilermakers wore all-black uniforms for the first time since Oct. 21, 2006 against Wisconsin and the "Purdue" in the end zones were painted black with a gold outline instead of gold with a black outline.

Despite the special efforts, Purdue failed to sell out a home game against Notre Dame for the first time since 1963.


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