Michigan defensive back Jourdan Lewis, right, interferes with Notre Dame wide receiver Corey Robinson in as he attempts a catch in the end zone during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/
Michael Conroy
September 09, 2014

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Another week, another Notre Dame rivalry fading away.

This week, it's in-state rival Purdue, a team the Fighting Irish have faced more than twice as often as Michigan. But the ending of the game played every year since 1946 likely will receive less attention than last week's game against the Wolverines, in part because they still have plans to play again. It just won't be annually.

Coach Brian Kelly is doing his best to sell the Boilermakers as a team capable of pulling the upset despite Notre Dame's dominating 31-0 victory over the Wolverines last week and Purdue's embarrassing 38-17 loss to Central Michigan.

''It's an in-state rival. Just throw out all that's happened before. They just play very well and with great enthusiasm,'' Kelly said.

Sure, it sounds like typical coachspeak. But Kelly has history on his side. The Boilermakers (1-1) have given the 11th-ranked Irish (2-0) scares the past two seasons. In 2012, backup quarterback Tommy Rees needed to drive the Irish 55 yards to set up a 27-yard field goal by Kyle Brindza with seven seconds left for a 20-17 win. Last season, the Irish didn't take the lead until early in fourth quarter in a 31-24 victory.

Purdue also has some big upsets over the Irish. It earned the nickname of ''Spoilermakers'' by beating top-ranked Notre Dame teams four times between 1950 and 1967. The first upset, in 1950, was a true shocker at the time because the Irish hadn't lost since 1945, hadn't lost at home since 1942, had won three of the previous four national championships and had a 39-game unbeaten streak.

The Boilermakers cost the Irish a shot at a national championship in 1954 when Len Dawson threw for four touchdowns in a 27-14 victory that ended a 13-game winning streak. It was the only loss for that season for the Irish (9-1), who finished the season ranked No. 4.

The golden age in the rivalry from Purdue's perspective occurred from 1958-1969, winning nine times in 12 seasons. Despite being just 6-5 against the Boilermakers, Irish coaching great Ara Parseghian is disappointed the series is ending.

''I hate to see both Purdue and Michigan going off the schedule at the same time, but it's the nature of the game I guess. The circumstances necessitate that,'' the 91-year-old coach said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The circumstances are that the Irish agreed to play five games a season against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference, which Notre Dame is a member of in most sports other than football. That means that after facing the Boilermakers, the Irish won't face a Big Ten opponent until they play Michigan State in 2016.

The common theme in Purdue's upsets of Notre Dame has been strong quarterback play.

''One year after another they came up with great quarterbacks,'' Parseghian said. ''There are days where a quarterback can be hot and days when he can be cold. It seemed like we caught the Purdue quarterbacks on the days they were good.''

In 1965, Bob Griese completed 19 of 22 passes for 283 yards to beat No. 1 Notre Dame 25-21. Then in 1967, Mike Phipps completed 14-of-34 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 victory over the top-ranked Irish. In 1968 Purdue was ranked No. 1 and the Irish No. 2, yet Notre Dame still was favored. Running back LeRoy Keyes led Purdue to a 37-22 victory, running for two touchdowns and throwing for another.

The Irish have had some memorable victories as well. They beat the Boilermakers 8-7 in the final three minutes in 1971 when Fred Swendsen recovered a fumble in the end zone and the Irish added a two-point conversion. In 1977, with the Irish trailing 24-14 after three quarters, third-string quarterback Joe Montana rallied the Irish to victory by completing 9 of 14 passes for 154 yards.

Some Notre Dame fans might argue the game with Purdue isn't a rivalry, especially because the Irish have won eight of the last nine games. The game Saturday in Indianapolis will be Purdue's last chance for a win until 2020, the first in a series of five games over seven years.

From Parseghian's perspective, the Boilermakers are rivals.

''It's a big in-state rivalry,'' he said. ''We had some close nip-and-tuck games.''

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