Coming off a heartbreaking loss in overtime to No. 1 Nebraska, the Irish had to turn to converted tight end Gary Godsey to play quarterback against Drew Brees and unbeaten Purdue with Arnaz Battle injured.
Notre Dame grabbed a quick 14-0 lead behind a Godsey run and an interception return by Shane Walton. Purdue found the end zone twice in the second quarter, sandwiched around a Nick Setta field goal, and the Irish took a 17-14 lead into halftime.
Setta stretched the lead to 20-14 in the third quarter, and the score held until late in the fourth quarter. Brees took over deep in his own territory with under nine minutes to play and marched the Boilermakers down the field in 12 plays, finding Vinny Sutherland with under four minutes to play to give Purdue its first lead, 21-20.
In his first career start, Godsey was steady under pressure, guiding the Irish to the Purdue 21-yard line with time for a final field goal attempt. Setta’s 38-yard kick just snuck inside the left upright to give the Irish a 23-21 win, their 12th straight over Purdue in South Bend.
Both teams would go on to qualify for BCS bowls.