A Summers' Day

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's vaunted offense may have found a new weapon in placekicker and kickoff artist Chris Summers. Summers' career-high four field goals Saturday helped pave the way to a 33-19 Boilermaker victory over Notre Dame.

It marked Purdue's 250th victory in Ross-Ade Stadium and kept the Boilermakers' September record spotless at 5-0.

Summers' four field goals covered from 26 to 34 yards as he pushed his season total to eight on 10 attempts. His 47-yarder at Toledo in the season-opener marks his longest of the year. In addition, Summers converted on three extra point kicks against the Fighting Irish for a career-high 15-point single game effort. He has made all 29 of his PAT attempts this season and is 75 of 76 for his career. Summers currently has a school-record streak of 70 in a row, breaking the previous mark of 69 straight by Ben Jones in 2004 and 2005.

"This game was really exciting," said the sophomore engineering major from Fishers, Ind. "I really wanted to beat Notre Dame. I was just trying to do what I could. I'm really happy with what I am doing."

So are Joe Tiller and his Boilermakers.

"When you come out of the red zone with points - our goal is to always get points in there - it takes pressure off everybody, including myself," Tiller said. "I like the way he is striking the ball. I hope it continues and I expect it to continue."

After a less-than-desirable freshman campaign, Summers worked hard on honing his kicking skills. He received instruction during this past Spring Break and a week this previous summer in Virginia. Last year, he finished 8 of 20 in field goal attempts, with a long of 47 yards against Wisconsin. He was 6 of 17 from beyond 30 yards.

"Obviously, I did not play as well as I should have last year," he said. "I just had to buckle down and really figure out what I was doing. A lot of it was mental. I just had to make a lot of improvements."

Like most things in life, Summers credits improving his confidence as a contributing factor in his 2007 success.

"I've got my confidence up this year and I'm really working on that," Summers said. "This year I had a clean slate and just wanted to kick better. I really honed in on my technique. Kicking is about visualization and confidence. People on the team and the coaches have never lost confidence in me. I really appreciate what they have done for me. That has motivated me to get better. During the game I just get myself relaxed. I don't try to think about what is going on. I just clear my mind and act like it's practice."

Purdue assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Mark Hagen likes what he's seen in Summers in 2007.

"He went out and performed in a big-time atmosphere," said Hagen about Summers' success against Notre Dame. "It may have been a hurdle for him. They were all makeable kicks, but he had to go out and execute. From start to finish, he had his best game."

Hagen has seen a notable change in Summers from 2006.

"He has really developed a routine," Hagen said. "He hasn't allowed himself to overanalyze things. Kicking in football is very important. He worked very hard in the offseason. He developed a rhythm. The bottom line is that he's executing right now. Chris came through (against Notre Dame). Chris' ability to get three points for us is certainly a win situation and helped us against Notre Dame."

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