55-Year CFB Anniversary: Late TD Lifts Purdue Past No. 1 Notre Dame in Top-10 Matchup

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Purdue and Notre Dame haven’t met with both teams ranked in the AP Poll since 2005. On this day 55 years ago, however, the teams squared off in a top-10 matchup in West Lafayette.

The contest did not disappoint as the teams traded scores throughout the day. Most importantly, Purdue scored last in a 28-21 victory.

Setting the Stage

In its 12th season under head coach Jack Mollenkopf, Purdue was coming off a hard-fought 24-20 win over Texas A&M as it got set to play its home opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 30, 1967. The Boilermakers had finished 9-2 and ranked in the top 10 in 1966. One of those losses came to Notre Dame.

Ranked No. 1 and reigning national champions, Notre Dame was riding a 12-game unbeaten streak. The Fighting Irish had opened the season with a 41-8 throttling of California and were looking to win at Purdue for the first time since 1961.

A Late TD and a Timely Stop

Tied 14-14 entering the fourth quarter, Purdue and Notre Dame did precisely what they did in the first and third quarters — trade touchdowns. Perry Williams had scored the first two Purdue touchdowns on the ground, but the Boilermakers regained the lead through the air as Mike Phipps connected with Leroy Keyes for an 11-yard touchdown.

Down 21-14, Notre Dame had an answer. Like Purdue, the Fighting Irish had scored their first two touchdowns on the ground. Terry Hanratty and Rocky Bleier each scored on 1-yard touchdown runs, but it was a 27-yard scoring toss from Hanratty to Paul Snow that drew Notre Dame even.

The ensuing drive would be the decisive one. A nice kick return from Jim Kirkpatrick and a 15-yard penalty jumpstarted the Boilermakers. The drive ultimately culminated in Phipps’ second touchdown pass of the quarter — a 31-yard strike to Bob Baltzell.

Notre Dame would get two more possessions, but Keyes’ interception of Hanratty ultimately put the contest away. It was the Notre Dame signal caller’s fourth turnover of the day. Keyes did it all that day for the Boilermakers, finishing with nine catches and 187 all-purpose yards.

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In Hindsight

Purdue would ascend to as high as No. 2 in the polls before a loss to Oregon State. The Boilermakers won their first six Big Ten games, but a loss to rival Indiana in the season finale ultimately sent the Hoosiers to the Rose Bowl.

Notre Dame would lose again two weeks later — this time to USC — in another top-10 matchup. The Fighting Irish ultimately bounced back to win their final six games to finish 8-2 and No. 5 in the final AP Poll.

Purdue would also finish in the top 10 at No. 9. The top 10 is where both teams were when they squared off in West Lafayette on this day 55 years ago.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.