SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tommy Rees came off the bench to lead Notre Dame on a last-minute, winning drive Saturday as the No. 22 Irish got a 27-yard field goal from Kyle Brindza with seven seconds to go and beat Purdue 20-17.
Rees, who was suspended for the opener last week because he was involved in a skirmish with police at a party in May, relieved starter Everett Golson late in the fourth quarter.
Purdue (1-1) had tied the game at 17-17 when Caleb TerBush threw a 15-yard TD pass to Antavian Edison with 2:12 left, the score set up by Josh Johnson’s recovery of a Golson fumble. Golson was shaken up on the play and had trouble gripping the ball, so the Irish turned to Rees, who started 12 games last season.
Rees connected on key third down passes of 10 yards to John Goodman and 21 yards to Robby Toma to get Brindza in position for the game-winning kick. Notre Dame is 2-0 for the first time since 2008.
Golson, in his home debut, completed 21 of 31 for 289 yards with a TD and ran for another but he was sacked five times during a sloppy game that featured 16 penalties — eight on each team. Coach Brian Kelly said Golson would start next week at Michigan State.
The Boilermakers alternated TerBush, who started after being suspended last week for violating team rules, and Robert Marve.
After Johnson recovered Golson’s fumble at the Notre Dame 15, Marve was sacked and shaken up and TerBush re-entered the game and found Edison on a fourth-down pass to tie it.
With the game tied at 7-7 at the half, Golson found 6-foot-6 tight end Tyler Eifert for passes of 22 and 25 yards on the Irish’s first series of the third quarter and that carried them to the 3, where he tossed a TD pass to TJ Jones for a 14-7 lead.
TerBush tried to avoid a rush by Notre Dame’s Sheldon Day on the next series and threw an off-balance pass that was picked off by Bennett Jackson. After Jackson’s 11-yard return put the ball at the Boilers’ 20, Notre Dame had to use a timeout with the play clock running down before settling for Brindza’s 30-yard field goal that made it 17-7.
Marve came back into the game late in the third and Boilermakers responded just as they did at the end of the half when he led them on a scoring drive that tied the game at half. O.J. Ross broke two tackles on a 27-yard gain, and he later hauled in a 13-yarder. Dolapo Macarthy also had a 20-yard reception as the Boilermakers advanced to the 1.
But after a delay penalty, Marve was sacked by Stephon Tuitt on the final play of the third quarter before Sam McCartney’s 33-yard field goal made it 17-10.
Marve led the Boilermakers on a quick 58-yard scoring drive at the end of the first half that started with Raheem Mostert’s 41-yard kickoff return. The key was a fourth-down conversion pass of 11 yards to Crosby Wright.
Marve then hit Ross with a 16-yarder and, on a third-and-goal from the 2, he found Edison in the corner of the end zone with nine seconds to play in the half.
Golson led the Irish on an 88-yard scoring play in the second quarter with three big third-down conversions. He scrambled on the first one, avoided two rushers and then hit Troy Niklas on a 30-yard pass. Three plays later on another third down he found DaVaris Daniels behind the Boilermaker defense for a 41-yard gain to the 9.
After a pass interference call on the Boilermakers in the end zone gave Notre Dame a first-and-goal at the 2, the Irish failed to score on two runs.
On a third-and-3, Golson rolled right and made a dive for the end zone as he was being hit right at the goal line. Officials initially ruled him out of bounds, but after a video review the call on the field was reversed and he was awarded a touchdown because he hit the pylon.
Two of Notre Dame’s key defenders, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore and safety Jamoris Slaughter, were injured. Lewis-Moore went out early in the game and Slaughter, who made a big hit in second quarter, didn’t play in the second half. And Eifert was also shaken up in the final quarter.