WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue and Notre Dame traded field goals in the second quarter as the Boilermakers took a 10-3 lead into halftime.
Purdue controlled most of the action in the first half, but No. 21 Notre Dame started to show signs of life on its last drive thanks to a long completion and running back Cam McDaniels.
The Boilermakers gained 147 yards as Rob Henry completed 12 of 19 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in the opening half. Running back Akeem Hunt had six catches for 64 yards with a touchdown catch.
The Irish finished with 123 yards with 80 of those yards coming on their final drive of the first half. Tommy Rees is 8-for-17 passing for 94 yards, and McDaniels has been the main offensive weapon running for 15 yards on four carries and catching two passes for 37 yards.
Paul Griggs added to Purdue's lead in the opening five minutes of the second quarter when he capped a 10-play, 31-yard drive with a career-long 47-yard field goal with 10:44 in the opening half.
Notre Dame finally got something going on offense picking two first downs on the ensuing drive after only have one first down in the first quarter. But the offensive spurt was short lived as the drive died on Purdue's 39 when Rees' pass to tight end Troy Niklas on fourth-and-4 fell incomplete with Joe Gilliam provided good coverage on the attempt.
Notre Dame's defense got the ball right back for the Irish, forcing Purdue to go three-and-out and put to Notre Dame's 17 with 5:58 left in the half.
Rees jump started the drive by hitting Chris Brown for a 40-yard gain down the left sidle line to put the ball on Purdue's 40.
After a 15-yard pass interference penalty put Notre Dame on the 22, McDaniel went to work making gains of 3, 5, 6 and 1 yard to put the ball on Purdue's 3.
McDaniel's 1-yard gain knocked his helmet off, and the Irish called timeout with 52 seconds to play in the half to keep him on the field. But on third-and-goal, Rees tried to find DaVaris Daniels in the end zone, but Daniels fell and the pass was nearly intercepted by Purdue.
Notre Dame settled for a 20-yard field goal from Kyle Brindza with 44 seconds left in the half, and Purdue ran one play before going into the break with a seven-point lead.