SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- On a dark and rainy afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium, the Fighting Irish hit Purdue with 'Thunder and Lightning.'
Reggie Brooks rushed for 205 yards and scored three of Notre Dame's seven rushing touchdowns Saturday, while fullback Jerome Bettis added two others in powering the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish to a 48-0 rout.
'The guy has been an outstanding back,' Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz said of Brooks, a first-year starter as a senior and the younger brother of former Notre Dame tailback Tony Brooks. 'I said before we ever played (this season) that I wasn't really worried about tailback.'
Brooks, who carried only 15 times, scored on runs of 20, 63 and 80 yards, all in the second half. It marked just the eighth 200-yard rushing performance in Notre Dame history. Allen Pinkett accomplished it last, rushing for 217 yards on 36 carries against Penn State in 1983.
'Reggie became an outstanding back -- and I have to give (running backs coach) Earl Mosley all the credit -- because he used to be an east- west runner. Reggie would break three tackles and head to the sidelines, ' Holtz said. 'Once he changed that, Reggie Brooks became a different type back. He's an excellent back. We call he and Jerome 'Thunder and Lightning.''
Bettis picked up 93 yards on 18 carries, including touchdown runs of 5 and 24 yards. Quarterback Rick Mirer added a 6-yard TD run and his backup, Kevin McDougal, added a 15-yard score.
Under a steady downpour much of the afternoon, Notre Dame pounded the ball for 458 rushing yards -- the most by a Holtz team since he came to South Bend in 1986 -- on 60 carries.
The Fighting Irish racked up 580 yards of total offense and controlled the ball for 33:41, caompared to 226 net yards and 26:19 possession time for Purdue.
'We could not throw the ball real well because of the footing and predominantly because of the conditions,' Holtz said. 'This was overall probably the most complete game we've played at Notre Dame in a while.'
The Fighting Irish, 3-0-1, have beaten Purdue seven straight times under Holtz, outscoring the Boilermakers 307-74.
The Notre Dame defense allowed Purdue, 1-2, past midfield only three times in the game. The Boilermakers, trailing 48-0, appeared poised to break the shutout by driving to the 1-yard line with just under six minutes remaining but turned the ball over when quarterback Matt Pike fumbled the snap.
'We got hammered pretty good,' Purdue Coach Jim Colletto said. 'They're good. They're really good.'
Notre Dame led 13-0 at halftime and then scored on five straight possessions to break it open.
Brooks broke loose around left end for his 63-yard TD with 10:23 left in the third quarter to make it 21-0. Bettis' 24-yard run with 7:50 remaining built the margin to 28-0, and Brooks zig-zagged up the middle with 2:50 left in the third for his 20-yard TD and a 34-0 lead.
'Our whole defense broke down in the second half,' Purdue defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina said. 'Notre Dame didn't make any changes. Our guys just weren't doing what they should have been doing.'
After Purdue quarterback Eric Hunter's pass was intercepted in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, Brooks grabbed a handoff on the next play and took off 80 yards for his third touchdown of the afternoon and a 42-0 lead.
'In the beginning, we had a little traction problem,' Brooks said. 'But at the end I was able to evade a couple of tacklers and gain some good yards.'
The loss marked the second straight for Purdue, which opened the season with a surprising upset of then-ranked California.
Purdue failed to pick up a first down until 9:06 left in the second quarter, and then only because of a pass interference penalty. The Boilermakers managed just 13 total yards on their first four possessions. For the game, Purdue started a drive seven times from its own 15-yard line or worse.
Notre Dame's Craig Hentrich snapped a streak of 130 straight extra points when he kicked one wide right off a poor snap. Hentrich also missed a 31-yard field-goal attempt early in the second quarter.