"Travis got hurt on the last play of the game against Michigan State," head coach Charlie Weis said. "He was laying on the field at the end of the game last week, so it wouldn't have been something that would be noticeable because there wasn't another play. We held him out for cautionary because he took a mean shot to the ribs. The MRI came back negative on his ribs but he's been really sore all week long so we felt the safest thing to do we went right up to game time with him. But he just didn't feel right. So we held him."
After Brandon Hoyte left last season, it figured that Brockington would get a shot to fill his void or the one left by Corey Mays at the middle spot. But the coaches decided to move Thomas over to defense and shifted Maurice Crum, Jr. to the middle. Brockington, after three-plus years in the program, finally got the chance to start vs. Purdue. He found out earlier in the week that there was a chance and only told his mom and sister about the opportunity.
"It was good," Brockington said about his game on Saturday. "I played alright. I dropped two balls. That was kind of rough. But it was alright. I adjusted pretty well. The first series was real fast because they went three-and-out. The second series, I got a little faster and settled down."
*The Notre Dame pass defense, who once again were without starter Ambrose Wooden, left something to be desired. Purdue piled up 398 yards passing on Saturday. Yes, the Boilermakers got behind early and had to throw the ball to get back into the contest. But the holes in the secondary were every where.
Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter had a solid outing, going 23-of-46 with 398 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Besting him was the outing by Selwyn Lymon, who set the single game wide receiver mark with 238 yards, the most ever by a Notre Dame opponent in the long and storied history of Irish football. Ever. The killer: a 88-yard touchdown from Painter at the end of the first half, beating freshman Darrin Walls deep and escaping a missed tackle by Tommy Zbikowski to cut the lead to 28-14.
"You're in cover three and they throw a post route into double coverage and I let them know that I wasn't real happy with that one," Weis said. "Because it's a minute to go in the half, you used a gadget to go up by three scores, you're feeling pretty good about going into half time up by 21 and now all of a sudden in one play it's now a two score game.
"That team is going to score a lot of points on a lot of teams. They got a good quarterback and they got good receivers and have a good running back and a good tight end. And they have a veteran offensive line. So this team, this team's got a lot of fire power on offense. You haven't heard the last of this team that we just played today."
And what did Weis think of Lymon's record setting performance?
"That's a hell of a day," Weis said. "Just think about it. That's a hell of a day no matter who you're playing any time. I'm sure he's a little disappointed going home, because he personally had a good day and the team didn't end up winning.
"He can stay home next time we play them."
*For the second time this season, Notre Dame hit big on a special teams gimmick play. After Brady Quinn fired an incomplete pass to Rhema McKnight on third down, the Irish field goal unit came trotting onto the field. Holder Jeff Samardzjia took the snap and went running untouched into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. The fake field goal score put Notre Dame up 28-7 in the second quarter. Against Penn State earlier in the season, Travis Thomas took a direct snap on a punt and rumbled inside the Nittany Lion 10-yard line, scoring himself four plays later. This time, it was a little film study that helped the Irish originate this winner.
"We went out there," Samardzija said. "It was the look they were showing from on film. We went with it. You look and see how they're playing. There is a pattern. That's why you watch film, whether it's on offense, defense or special teams. We saw something we could take advantage and we went with it."
*Freshman kicker Ryan Burkhart saw his first action of the season. The Wakarusa, IN native kicked off five times vs. Purdue but did not record a touchback. Burkhart was filling in for Bobby Renkes, who strained a muscle last week at Michigan State. Weis decided before the game that Renkes was not at 100 percent and decided to go with Burkhart. Carl Gioia also kicked off once.
*Victor Abaimiri's sack in the third quarter, the 14th of his career, moved him into ninth all-time on the Notre Dame career list. The senior defensive end passed Wally Kleine (1983-86).