Quinn picked apart Purdue, completing 24 of his first 28 passes
to help the 12th-ranked Irish build a three-touchdown lead on their
way to a 35-21 victory Saturday.
Fame is a funny thing. You all know Brady Quinn. Preseason Heisman favorite, Notre Dame's field general, Tom Cruise good looks (plus about 10 inches). Far fewer of you know Curtis Painter. But if the first five games of this season are any indication, Purdue's sophomore quarterback is on the fast track to becoming a household name. Here's how Painter and Quinn stack up statistically at this point in the 2006 campaign.
Painter -- 23-of-46, 397 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Quinn -- 29-of-38, 316 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Quinn finished 29-for-38 for 316 yards against the Boilermakers,
who entered the game with the fifth-worst pass defense in the
country. The Irish, who entered the game with the nation's
12th-worst rushing offense, got 146 yards on 36 carries by Darius
"Our offense did a great job capitalizing when it came down to
it, especially in the red zone and third downs," Quinn said. "We
did a great job moving the chains."
The 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.
"Sometimes you give up yards, but yards can be misleading,"
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said. "Sometimes yards are garbage
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.
"As we marched down the field, I think we got a little
confidence and the momentum definitely shifted in our favor,"
Purdue simply couldn't slow the Irish.
"They pretty much ran the ball at will the first half and that
really put us in a hole," Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer
The Boilermakers finished with 490 yards offense, but also put
themselves in a hole with a fumble and a missed field goal.
"We moved the ball pretty well all the time, we just kind of
beat ourselves up a few times," Painter said.
Purdue coach Joe Tiller said the Boilermakers can't afford to
squander scoring chances.
"I think that from an offensive point of view, there was no
secret coming into 2006, we felt like we were going to have to
outscore some people. So if they score 35, we need to score 36."
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.
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
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.
Weis was asked whether one of his goals was to make the Irish
offense less predictable, referring to comments made by Michigan
players in their blowout win.
"When you're down by a hundred and you're throwing it on every
down, it's pretty easy to read," he said. "When you can run and
play action and mix and mingle and do all the things you want to
do, it's really tough to read."