Irish Get Profitable Return : Midwest: Notre Dame scores off fumble recovery en route to 17-0 victory over Purdue.

From Associated Press

Defensive end Brian Hamilton returned a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown to break a scoreless tie in the third quarter as No. 4 Notre Dame beat Purdue, 17-0, Saturday in a rain-soaked game.

Notre Dame (4-0) wore down the Boilermakers (1-2) in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the final four minutes on a 34-yard field goal by Kevin Pendergast and a one-yard run by freshman Marc Edwards.

It was Notre Dame's eighth consecutive win in the 97-year-old series, and its second consecutive shutout of Purdue.

Hamilton's touchdown came after safety Jeff Burris jarred the ball from Matt Pike with his second sack of the day. Burris hit Pike from behind and the ball floated into the air to Hamilton. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior ran untouched for the score.

The Irish, who came into the game with only one turnover in their first three games, lost two fumbles. Notre Dame quarterback Kevin McDougal had two passes intercepted. But Purdue turned the ball over five times, all on fumbles.

The Boilermakers have not beaten Notre Dame since a 35-17 win in 1985, Gerry Faust's last year in South Bend.

Purdue, which was off last weekend after a 28-13 victory over Western Michigan on Sept. 11, repeatedly stopped the Irish offense as a steady rain fell for nearly three quarters.

Notre Dame's worst field position in the first half was its 35, and four Irish drives started in Purdue territory. But Notre Dame threatened only once, a three-play, three-yard drive after a fumble that ended in Pendergast's missed 36-yard field-goal attempt.

McDougal, a senior making his fourth career start, completed three of nine passes for 34 yards. Notre Dame, which rushed for 458 yards and had 580 total yards in last year's 48-0 victory over Purdue, had only 233 yards. But the Irish held Purdue to 235.

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