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No. 23 Notre Dame 31, Purdue 30

September 26, 1998

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Notre Dame pulled out another amazing comeback under the Golden Dome.

Tony Driver, who left school briefly two weeks ago, made two key interceptions in the closing minutes and Jim Sanson kicked a 17-yard field goal with 57 seconds left to give the No. 23 Fighting Irish a 31-30 victory over Purdue.

Driver, who left school for two days because he was reportedly upset about being switched from running back to safety, intercepted a pass from Mike Brees with 1:39 remaining and returned it to the Purdue 5 to set up Sanson’s field goal.

Purdue (2-2) had a final chance to win after reaching its 44, but Driver picked off another pass by Brees with 37 seconds left to seal the victory for the Irish (2-1), who trailed by nine points with just under eight minutes remaining.

Notre Dame seemed on the verge of collapse after taking over at its 20 with 7:52 left. But quarterback Jarious Jackson marched the Irish 80 yards in 12 plays, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jabrai Holloway that cut Purdue’s lead to 30-28 with 3:25 left.

After Purdue took over on its 22, J. Crabtree was stopped for no gain on two straight plays. On third-and-10, Brees was flushed out of the pocket and rifled the ball down the middle into Driver’s arms. Getting several key blocks, Driver ran to the 5 before he was tripped up.

Autry Denson, who became Notre Dame’s No. 2 career rusher after gaining 143 yards on 31 carries, was stopped short of the end zone on three runs up the middle before Sanson came in to give Notre Dame its first lead of the game.

Brees was 24-of-36 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 45 yards, including a 2-yard TD run.

Purdue scored on its first two possessions to lead 14-0.

The first score came on a 13-yard pass from Brees to Randall Lane, who grabbed the ball away from Brock Williams in the end zone.

After forcing Notre Dame to punt, the Boilermakers drove 70 yards in 10 plays, capped by Brees’ touchdown run.

The Irish came back and scored on Denson’s 14-yard run after converting two fourth-down plays _ Jackson’s dive on fourth-and-inches from the Notre Dame 38 and Jackson’s 13-yard pass to Malcolm Johnson on fourth-and-3 from the Purdue 27.

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