Notre Dame got off to the perfect start, stumbled in the middle then scored again to take a 14-0 lead over Purdue after the first quarter.
Cornerback Gary Gray intercepted Purdue quarterback Caleb TarBush on the first play of the game to give the Irish the ball on the Boilermakers' 35.
Then 10 seconds later, quarterback Tommy Rees connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd 24 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.
Notre Dame couldn't keep things going as smoothly on its second drive after forcing Purdue to punt.
The Irish marched 76 yards in 11 plays, but they stalled in the red zone at first-and-goal from the 5. David Ruffer's 28-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Notre Dame was 8 for 15 in the red zone after the missed field goal.
The Irish were able to cash in on their next trip to the red zone thanks to a lot of help from the Boilermakers.
Purdue was nailed for unsportsmanlike conduct after Notre Dame failed to score on third-and-goal from the 10.
With new life from the 5, Notre Dame moved up three more yards when Floyd was held then Jonas Gray powered his way into the end zone for his second career touchdown.
Gray's TD gave the Irish a 14-0 lead.
Notre Dame had 185 yards on offense to Purdue's 39.