Series History: Notre Dame vs. Purdue

A look at the long history between Notre Dame and Purdue, who face off for the 85th time on Saturday
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Notre Dame hosts long-time rival Purdue on Saturday, September 18th in what will be the 85th meeting between the two programs. The winner of this game has walked away with the Shillelagh Trophy since 1957.


Notre Dame has played Purdue more than any other opponent other than Navy and USC and currently leads the all-time series 56-26-2. However, this will be the first meeting between the two Indiana universities since the 2014 Shamrock Series game in Indianapolis. 

The history of the Notre Dame rivalry with Purdue stretches back to 1896, and the two programs played every season from 1946-2014. Unfortunately, this battle for Hoosier state bragging rights was one of the casualties of Notre Dame’s scheduling alliance with the ACC. 

The Irish currently hold a 7-game winning streak over the Boilermakers, who have not won in the series since 2007 when they were led by former head coach Joe Tiller.


2014 – Notre Dame 30 Purdue 14 (Neutral – Shamrock Series)
2013 – Notre Dame 31 Purdue 24 (Away)
2012 – Notre Dame 20 Purdue 17 (Home)
2011 – Notre Dame 39 Purdue 10 (Away)
2010 – Notre Dame 23 Purdue 12 (Home)
2009 – Notre Dame 24 Purdue 21 (Away)
2008 – Notre Dame 38 Purdue 21 (Home)
2007 – Purdue 33 Notre Dame 19 (Away)
2006 – Notre Dame 35 Purdue 21 (Home)
2005 – Notre Dame 49 Purdue 28 (Away)
2004 – Purdue 41 Notre Dame 16 (Home)
2003 – Purdue 23 Notre Dame 10 (Away)
2002 – Notre Dame 24 Purdue 17 (Home)
2001 – Notre Dame 24 Purdue 18 (Away)
2000 – Notre Dame 23 Purdue 21 (Home)


2012 – Current Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, who started all 12 games for Notre Dame as a sophomore in 2011, was suspended for the 2012 season opener and subsequently lost his job to redshirt freshman Everett Golson. However, in the second game of the season against Purdue, Golson was shaken up in the second half and was relieved by Rees, who led a game-winning drive in the last 2:12 that culminated in a Kyle Brindza field goal. Rees would prove effective in relief for the remainder of the season, stepping in for Golson at critical moments to lead victories over Michigan, Stanford, and BYU. The Irish would finish the 2012 regular season undefeated but lose to Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Championship game.

2010 – Brian Kelly got his first career win at Notre Dame in a 23-12 victory over Purdue in the 2010 season opener. QB Dayne Crist was efficient and RB Armando Allen ran for a touchdown in a game in which the Irish defense forced two crucial turnovers. Now, in his 12th season at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly will tie legendary coach Knute Rockne for the most wins in Notre Dame history (105) if the Irish knock off Purdue on Saturday.

2009 – Notre Dame led 17-7 going into the 4th quarter, but like so many other games in the Charlie Weis era, the Irish defense could not hold the lead and surrendered back-to-back touchdowns. However, despite suffering from turf toe, QB Jimmy Clausen engineered a 12 play, 72-yard drive in the final 3 minutes of the game, finding TE Kyle Rudolph for the game winning touchdown pass on 4th and goal. Unfortunately, the Irish were not able to build on that momentum, as after moving to 4-1 with an overtime win over Washington the following week, they went 2-5 in the final 7 games of the season, leading to the firing of Charlie Weis and hiring of Brian Kelly as head coach.

2000 – One week after a heartbreaking overtime loss to #1 ranked Nebraska and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, Notre Dame was forced to turn to converted TE Gary Godsey at QB due to an injury to Arnaz Battle. Unbelievably, Godsey went throw-for-throw with Purdue QB Drew Brees, who despite finishing 4th in Heisman balloting the previous season, passed for only 221 yards and an interception. Though the Irish scored a defensive touchdown and blocked a punt, they trailed 21-20 until Godsey led them down the field to set up Nick Setta’s game-winning field goal for the dramatic 23-21 win.

1977 – The Dan Devine-coached Notre Dame team entered the 1977 season ranked #3 in the country but suffered a surprise 20-13 loss to Ole Miss in the second game of the season. Notre Dame traveled to Purdue the following week and after starting QB Rusty Lisch was ineffective and backup Gary Forystek was injured, Devine inserted little-used Joe Montana with the Irish trailing 24-14 in the third quarter. Montana, who had been injured the entire 1976 season, rallied the Irish to 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win 31-24, and the rest is history. Montana would never relinquish the starting QB job again that season, and the Irish would win out and claim the 1977 national championship after beating Earl Campbell-led Texas in the Cotton Bowl, 38-10.

1968 – #2 Notre Dame welcomed #1 Purdue to South Bend in the only #1 vs. #2 meeting in the history of the rivalry. Purdue got the better of Notre Dame that day, cruising to a 37-22 victory. Though Purdue QB Mike Phipps became the first quarterback to beat Notre Dame three times, the hero of the game was RB Leroy Keyes, who scored three touchdowns and sparked the Boilermakers to an early lead that put the game out of reach.

1966 – After going 9-1 in 1964 and 7-2 in 1965 (with a loss against Purdue), Ara Parseghian’s Irish opened the 1966 season with national championship aspirations and welcomed the #7 Purdue Boilermakers to South Bend. Purdue had beaten ND 25-21 the previous year, and was again led by All-American quarterback Bob Griese, who would finish second in Heisman Trophy voting while leading the Boilermakers to a Rose Bowl win. However, Notre Dame quarterback Terry Hanratty, in his first game as the starter, outdueled Griese and led the Irish to a 26-14 win while throwing for 304 yards. 276 of those yards went to receiver James Seymour, who set Notre Dame records for catches (13) and receiving yards that day.

1950 – Notre Dame came into the 1950 season ranked #1 in the country, riding a 38-game winning streak, and fresh off national titles in 1946, 1947, and 1949. Though the Irish would stretch that winning streak to 39 games with an opening victory over North Carolina, that streak would come to an end at the hands of Purdue in a 28-14 loss. The Irish would sputter to a 4-4-1 record in the worst season in coach Frank Leahy’s career, as the university’s de-emphasis of football and decision to reduce football scholarships from 33 to 18 in 1948 caught up to the program. Though Leahy would last until the 1953 season at ND before retiring, the 1950 campaign was the beginning of the end for a golden age of Notre Dame football, as the Irish would wander aimlessly throughout most of the 1950s and early 1960s until Ara Parseghian took over in 1964. 

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