WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- If Bob Davie coached his final game for Notre Dame on Saturday, at least he went out a winner.
Vontez Duff returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown and Jason Beckstrom returned an interception 29 yards for a score as Notre Dame closed a disappointing season with a 24-18 victory over Purdue.
With the Fighting Irish (5-6) out of bowl contention, Blue & Gold Illustrated, a magazine devoted to Notre Dame sports, reported earlier in the week that Davie would be fired in the coming days.
Davie, who signed a five-year contract extension last December, denied the report.
After the loss, Purdue (6-5) accepted a bid to the Sun Bowl, where the Boilermakers will face Washington State.
Notre Dame claimed back-to-back victories over Purdue for the first time since winning 11 in a row in the series from 1985-96.
Over the first three quarters, Notre Dame held Purdue to three field goals by Travis Dorsch, the third of which pulled the Boilermakers within 10-9 with 4:24 left in the third. But Duff went all the way on the ensuing kickoff to give the Irish a 17-9 lead.
Beckstrom's interception staked Notre Dame to a 24-9 advantage with 13:49 remaining in the fourth.
Purdue made it close on Kyle Orton's 12-yard TD pass to Tim Stratton and Dorsch's 31-yard goal in the final six minutes.
Despite the win, Notre Dame again struggled to generate a passing attack as Carlyle Holiday completed 7-of-15 passes for just 31 yards.
Notre Dame came into the game ranked 114th out of 115 Division I-A teams in passing. In last week's loss at Stanford, the Irish completed just 2-of-20 passes.
Notre Dame was outgained in total yards, 332-162. Ryan Grant paced the Irish on the ground with 77 yards on 19 carries.
Notre Dame's offense produced just one touchdown, a 14-yard run by Grant that gave it a 7-3 lead with 11:21 left in the first half.
Purdue had a chance to take the lead at the intermission, but Notre Dame's defense held and the Boilermakers had to settle for Dorsch's 19-yard field goal with 42 seconds left.
Orton completed 24-of-52 passes for 258 yards, but threw three interceptions and was sacked five times. Montrell Lowe was limited to 54 yards on 12 carries.