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College Football / Week 4

Driver Picks Up the Irish

College football: Converted running back's two interceptions key 31-30 comeback victory over Purdue.

September 27, 1998|From Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tony Driver, who left Notre Dame briefly two weeks ago, made two key interceptions in the closing minutes and Jim Sanson kicked a 17-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining 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 five-yard line 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 less than eight minutes remaining.

"Brees threw the ball high to his receiver, and I was in the right spot to intercept the ball," Driver said.

"Once I got the ball, all I was thinking was get the ball in the end zone.

"I had good blocks all the way to the end zone, but I was stopped just short of where I wanted to end up."

Brees, who completed 24 of 36 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, took the blame for the loss.

"We had the game won. All we had to do was get a first down or punt and let the defense do the rest," Brees said. "We had great confidence in our defense, but I just overthrew the receiver.

"It was a bad decision on my part, but I knew I could make the throw. I just threw it high."

Autry Denson became Notre Dame's No. 2 career rusher by gaining 143 yards in 31 carries.

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