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September 14, 2013

Not quite enough; instant impressions

Not much was expected of Purdue against No. 21 Notre Dame Saturday night, but the Boilermakers - as they've done a few times in recent seasons - certainly made the Irish sweat.

The Boilermakers led 10-3 at half and 17-10 midway through the third quarter before falling 31-24.

Tommy Rees' 82-yard go-ahead touchdown throw to DaVaris Daniels with 12:40 remaining broke a 17-17 tie and swung the game in Notre Dame's favor.

Notre Dame's Bennett Jackson returned an interception of Rob Henry for a touchdown that turned out to be the game's decisive blow.

Some instant impressions from the Boilermaker loss:

On Henry: The Purdue quarterback has struggled this season, but he gave the Boilermakers a chance against Notre Dame through three quarters, running a game plan that very much put him in positions to succeed. Henry's playmaking on third down, especially, was a game-changer for the Boilermakers. He made one mistake and it cost him dearly.

Henry finished 25-of-40 for 256 yards and three touchdowns - all career-highs - with the one interception.

The Boilermaker defense took a step forward. It played aggressive and physical and hit hard, looking like a defense Purdue can win with from here on out. Much of what the Irish got done offensively in terms of big plays came off its receivers simply making star plays in tight coverage and the one big play was obviously devastating.

Notre Dame made its own bed in the first half by dropping passes and one really bad decision on special teams.

Kudos to both Purdue's lines, which very much competed at the line of scrimmage on both sides.

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