After 30 years, Notre Dame and Purdue meet again in Indianapolis

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Notre Dame and Purdue meet for the first time in Indianapolis since 1984-the dedication game for the Hoosier Dome (Courtesy: University of Indianapolis)

INDIANAPOLIS – This one’s for you nostalgia fans.

During what game was the old Hoosier Dome dedicated in 1984? Nope, it wasn’t a Colts game.

It was actually during a college football game just before the new tenants from Baltimore played their first regular season game in the building. Notre Dame traveled down on US 31 and Purdue on I-65 to face off in the official Dedication Game for the news 60-thousand plus seat domed stadium that help the continued rise of Indianapolis’ sports profile in America.

On that day’s Gerry Faust’s heavily favored, seventh-ranked Irish ran into some problems against an underdog but upstart Boilermakers’ team. Future Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown fumbled the opening kickoff which led to a Boilermakers field goal. Even after Notre Dame scored a pair of touchdowns on runs by Allen Pinkett and Mark Brooks, Boilermakers quarterback Jim Everett rallied his team to 20-unanswered points over the final three quarters.

Notre Dame was driving for a chance to win the game but Steve Beuerlein’s pass was intercepted by Purdue’s Donnie Baldwin, wrapping up a stunning 23-21 win by the Boilermakers who lost 52-6 to the Irish a year earlier.

Fast forward 30 years later. Yes, 30 years later.

Not once since that day or in the first six years of Lucas Oil Stadium’s existence had the two schools met in Indianapolis despite a consistently facing off the last three decades. But now that they finally will on Saturday night at 7:30 P.M. at the Circle City’s newest stadium, the circumstances are strikingly familiar.

Notre Dame enters once again as a 20-point plus favorite after two dominating wins over Rice and Michigan at home. Purdue meanwhile stumbles into the game after a humbling 21-point loss to Central Michigan at home last week as the team continues a long rebuild under head coach Darrell Hazell.

Brian Kelly knows better than to take the Boilermakers lightly.

“They’ll have a lot of enthusiasm and emotion on their side, so we know what’s going to happen Saturday night from Purdue’s end,” said the Notre Dame head coach. “Now it’s about what we do and how we respond to that.”

History proves that Kelly isn’t being overly paranoid when it comes to facing the Boilermakers. In the second game of Notre Dame’s run to the 2012 BCS National Championship game Purdue went to South Bend and had the Irish tied till the final seconds when a field goal gave the home team a 20-17 win.

An even more fitting example comes from the 2013 match-up of the teams in West Lafayette. With a team that would go onto win just one game all season, Hazell’s Boilermakers raced out to a 10-0 lead and led 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter. The 21st-ranked Irish got three straight fourth quarter touchdown but still had to hold off a late Purdue rally to pull out a 31-24 win under the lights at Ross Ade Stadium. we know about Purdue and what they can bring.

“We know about the enthusiasm that they’re going to bring to the game,” said Kelly of Purdue. “It’s really about our preparation and how we practice this week. I know our guys are excited about their performance on Saturday, but it has no bearing on this game.

“It’s really about our preparation.”

For Purdue that has to be the focus after a forgettable effort last Saturday at home-emphasis on forgettable. After generation some positive vibes in an opening week win over Western Michigan the Boilermakers made those disappear with three turnovers and seven penalties that hindered any hope of a comeback after falling behind by 14 in the first half.

Hazell, who many acknowledge is in the early stages of returning Purdue back to respectability in the Big Ten, says his team must prevent hurting itself before worrying how the Irish might come after them.

“You can’t self inflict wounds where we are at this stage of the program,” said Hazell. “So we’ve got to make sure we do things right at every position across the board and things will get a whole lot better.”

He hopes they will this week-just like they did the last time they headed south to face the Irish.