SOUTH BEND | The glory can wait.
It was a return to basics for Notre Dame.
With the college football world watching Brian Kelly's debut with the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame unveiled a new spread offense punctuated by a fast two-headed running game and a defense not seen around these parts in years.
But like Kelly joked following the Irish's 23-12 win over Purdue on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium, he's not the white knight who rode in to save the program.
Well, not yet at least.
Kelly wasn't shy about admitting there's work to do, despite four sacks by his defense, and 205 yards and a touchdown thrown by first-year starter Dayne Crist, who completed 19-of-26 passes.
Senior Armando Allen had 93 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown run, on 18 carries, while sophomore Cierre Wood, who also made his Notre Dame debut Saturday, had 58 electric yards on seven carries.
"We believe both of those are outstanding backs, and we had some good looks today to run the football," Kelly said. "I thought they manufactured some runs and obviously utilized their athletic ability. They are both very gifted, and we just have to give them a lane."
The Irish supported its 153 yards on the ground, a higher total than all but four games in 2009, by putting Purdue junior quarterback Robert Marve on the run in his first game since transferring from Miami (Fla.) after the 2008 season.
Notre Dame (1-0) sacked Marve four times in the second half even as he managed to put the Boilermakers (0-1) in position to come back from a 20-3 deficit. They scored on a safety on the play after Marve was intercepted for the second time, on the first play of the fourth quarter. Marve gave credence to his reputation coming out of Florida as one of its most prolific high school passers, throwing for 134 of his 220 yards in the final two quarters to finish 31-for-42.
He ran untouched for a 23-yard touchdown to bring Purdue within 20-12 with 11:55 left but negated the impact of the ensuing kickoff by tumbling into the end zone to draw a newly-added celebration penalty.
"There were some times in the second half where we were out there moving the football, and I thought we were in command," Hope said. "There were some times in the second half we started off with our backs to the wall, and we moved the football.
"There was some time today it was fourth and short, and we went for it, and other clubs, or teams, would punt, and we went for a field goal. We came here to win. Our keys or objectives today were that we weren't going to be afraid to lose. There's no way you come down being in this environment being afraid to lose."