Oct. 2, 2004
By TOM COYNE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Kyle Orton found a way to win at Notre Dame, ending a 30-year drought for Purdue.
Orton threw four touchdown passes, including a 97 yarder to Taylor Stubblefield, and Jerome Brooks returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give the 15th-ranked Boilermakers a 41-16 victory Saturday.
Orton was 21 of 31 for 385 yards, third most in his career, to help the Boilermakers (4-0) end a 13-game losing streak at Notre Dame Stadium dating back to Ara Parseghian's final season as coach in 1974, when the Boilermakers beat the second-ranked Irish 31-20.
The Purdue defense held Notre Dame (3-2) to 76 yards rushing.
The victory also marked the first time the Boilermakers have won a road game at a traditional powerhouse under coach Joe Tiller, who is in his eighth season. The Boilermakers have lost six straight at Ohio State, they are 0-3-1 at Penn State and haven't won at Michigan since 1966.
They had no problems on Saturday, though, as Orton hurt the Irish with precise passing and timely running. Stubblefield helped, too, with seven catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
The Boilermakers, who squandered chances to win their last three games at Notre Dame because of key defensive and special teams plays by Notre Dame, turned the table on Saturday.
Brooks' kickoff return gave the Boilermakers a 10-3 lead, and Purdue's defense came up with a big play when Notre Dame had the ball second-and-goal from the 2 midway through the second quarter. Defensive end Anthony Spencer stripped the ball at the 1 and defensive tackle Brent Grover recovered.
But it was Orton who really hurt the Irish. After the defensive stand by Purdue, Orton drove the Boilermakers 97 yards for a touchdown, taking a 20-3 halftime lead.
The Boilermakers ran a pair of gimmick plays to score the touchdown. Running back Brandon Jones threw a 28-yard pass to Ray Williams, who was wide open, at the 2. Orton then threw a 2-yard TD pass to defensive end Rob Ninkovich.
The Boilermakers went ahead 27-3 on their first possession of the second half. On third-and-10 from their own 3, Orton lofted a pass up the right sideline, just beyond the reach of cornerback Dwight Ellick. Stubblefield caught the ball in full stride at the 25 and was all alone. He began celebrating at midfield, repeatedly pumping his left arm, and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for excessive celebrating.
The play was the second-longest TD pass in Purdue history. Drew Brees had a 99-yard pass to Vinny Sutherland against Northwestern in 1999. Saturday's 97-yard play was the longest TD pass ever against the Irish.
Orton added a 9-yard TD pass to Kyle Ingraham, becoming the 10th quarterback to throw four TD passes against the Irish. Orton, who had never thrown four TDs in a game before this season, has accomplished the feat four straight games, including the five he had against Syracuse.
He has 17 TD passes with no interceptions and the Boilermakers still have not lost a fumble. The Irish, who had been giving up 314 yards a game, gave up 512.
Brady Quinn was 26 of 46 for a career-high 432 yards, the most yards ever at Notre Dame Stadium and the second most in school history. Joe Theismann passed for 576 yards at Southern California in 1970.
Quinn threw a 40-yard TD pass to Rhema McKnight in the third quarter. Rashon Powers-Neal added a 1-yard TD run for the Irish. Anthony Fasano caught eight passes for 155 yards, the most yards ever by a Notre Dame tight end.