Sept. 30, 2006
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Brady Quinn threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns and Darius Walker ran for 146 yards as Notre Dame played its best offensive game of the season and beat Purdue 35-21 on Saturday.
The 12th-ranked Fighting Irish withstood a big day by Curtis Painter and the Boilermakers' offense. Painter was 23-for-46 for 398 yards and Selwyn Lymon had eight catches for 238 yards - the second most by a Purdue receiver and the most ever by an Irish opponent.
The Irish improved to 4-1 for the second straight season - the first time they have had one loss or fewer after five games in consecutive seasons since the 1993-94 seasons. The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for Purdue (4-1).
The Irish offense, which had played inconsistently in its first four games, finally looked like last season's record-setting group. They opened a 28-7 lead late in the first half, when they had 19 first downs - matching the season-high they had for an entire game in a 41-17 win over Penn State.
Rhema McKnight added a career-high 10 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns as the Fighting Irish, who scored on four of their first five possessions, had a season-high 454 total yards.
Purdue, which had 490 total yards, had several big plays, including an 88-yard touchdown pass from Painter to Lymon late in the first half. But the Irish defense came up with big plays when it had to, including Terrail Lambert forcing Dustin Keller to fumble on the Notre Dame 37 when the Boilermakers were threatening to cut into a 21-7 lead.
It was another big passing day for Quinn against the Boilermakers. He was 29-for-39 and in four career games against Purdue, he has 1,497 yards of total offense.
The NCAA record for yards against one team was set by Hawaii's Timmy Chang, who played five times against Rice because of a medical redshirt year. He had 1,719 yards against the Owls. In his final four seasons, Chang had 1,498 yards of total offense versus Rice.
The Irish, who entered the game with ranked 108th in rushing offense, averaging 74.8 yards a game, matched the season-high 138 yards rushing they had against Georgia Tech. Walker had 103 yards on 20 carries in the first quarter alone.
George West opened the scoring for the Irish on an 11-yard end around, marking the first time the Irish scored a touchdown on their first possession this season. Walker added a 14-yard run giving the Irish 14 points in the first quarter, surpassing the 10 first-quarter points they had scored combined in their first four games.
The Irish opened a 28-7 lead late in the second quarter with a faked field goal when Jeff Samardzija, the holder, picked up the ball and ran untouched for a 5-yard TD.
The Boilermakers cut the score to 28-14 just 32 seconds later, on the long hook up between Painter and Lymon. Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski and cornerback Darrin Walls both had a shot at Lymon at the Notre Dame 38, but Lymon broke free for the score.
But the Irish scored on their first possession of the second half, a 12-yard pass from Quinn to McKnight, and the Boilermakers never got any closer than two touchdowns.