SOUTH BEND — Another Notre Dame rivalry game is biting the dust.
Purdue announced on Thursday it has joined Pittsburgh and Michigan on the list of teams that usually play the Fighting Irish on an annual or near-annual basis but won’t be any longer. Notre Dame’s annual game against Michigan State could be the next to fall.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick didn’t respond to a telephone message seeking comment, but he is expected to discuss future schedules today. Senior associate athletic director John Heisler said the university wouldn’t comment until it is ready to release its full schedule, which should come “soon.”
Purdue said the teams, which have played annually since 1946 and 85 times overall, will meet in Indianapolis next season as part of the Shamrock Series home games the Fighting Irish play every season away from South Bend, and then not play again until 2020. Next year’s night game will be played Sept. 13 at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Some Irish fans scoff at the notion of this being a rivalry game, since the Irish lead the series 57-26-2. But the Boilermakers have had some stunning upsets against Notre Dame, earning them the title of “Spoilermakers.”
The first occurred in 1950, after the Irish had won 14 of the previous 15 games between 1906 and 1949 and had won two national championships in three years. They were unbeaten in 39 games dating back to 1945 when Purdue upset the top-ranked Irish coached by Frank Leahy 28-14 in South Bend.
The Boilermakers have beaten the Irish three other times when they were ranked No. 1, including handing the Irish their only loss in 1954 when Len Dawson, then a sophomore, threw four touchdown passes. Purdue also beat top-ranked Irish teams coached by Ara Parseghian in 1965 and 1967. In 1968, top-ranked Purdue beat No. 2 Notre Dame 37-22.