Notre Dame opens with 35-0 over NevadaPublished 9:27pm Saturday, September 5, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Dowagiac Daily News
By SCOTT NOVAK
Dowagiac Daily News
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Jimmy Clausen and Michael Floyd put on a clinic Saturday afternoon against Nevada as Notre Dame opened up its 2009 season with an impressive 35-0 win over the Wolf Pack.
Clausen threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Floyd.
Floyd finished with four receptions for 189 yards.
Clausen opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 19-yard scoring strike to tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The Fighting Irish (1-0) exploded for 21 points in the second quarter to turn the game into a route.
Floyd’s first touchdown reception covered 24 yards, while his second was good for 70 yards, which was the longest touchdown pass of Clausen’s career – for the time being.
Notre Dame ended the half with a 1-yard run by Armando Allen.
Freshman Nick Tausch was perfect on all four extra points and the Irish headed to the locker room up 28-0.
“He’s a really good player because he knows how to use his body,” Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said of Floyd. “He knows how to use his body to make plays, you know. He’s not as fast as Golden, but he’s deceptive, you know. He’s got a lot of (Jeff) Samardzija in him. Everyone thinks because he’s a tall guy he can’t run fast, but he can. What he really does, besides having excellent hands, he really knows how to use his body to get open.”
The Fighting Irish rolled up 300 yards in total offense in the first half alone.
Weis was pleased with the way his offensive line played.
“We told them we were going to mix up the run and pass, but at the end of the day we wanted to make sure that they controlled the line of scrimmage and controlled those ends,” he said. “Now we were really concerned about their defensive ends, but that’s why we had an extensive thought methodology to try to take those ends out of play. They were the guys we were concerned with the most, those two guys. And because any time you have a defense with those two ends, it makes it a little bit more difficult, because then you can’t just chip on one and go and release on the other side. But I think it was a combination of the offensive line and the tight ends and the running backs, for that matter, that are all kind of in this together. I think that that bodes well for success today.”
Notre Dame managed just seven points in the final 30 minutes, but it was a spectacular touchdown.
After taking over on a punt that was downed inside the 1-yard line, Notre Dame was able to get a little breathing room on first down and then Clausen and Floyd hooked up one last time.
Setting a new personal mark, Floyd leaped high to take the ball away from the Wolf Pack defender, stumbled a bit, but then turned and raced to the end zone to complete an 88-yard play.
Tausch completed his perfect afternoon with the extra point and the scoring was complete.
All that was left then was to see if the Fighting Irish could protect the shut out.
The defense rose to the occasion and protected the goose egg, allowing Nevada just 307 yards in total offense and keeping in check quarterback Colin Kaepernick (39 yards rushing, 149 yards passing) and running back Vai Taua (114 yards on 18 carries).
“Obviously, it feels good to put up a shutout on defense,” Senior Irish safety Kyle McCarthy said. “Being a defensive guy, it’s something you shoot for. And it’s nice to see the offense clicking on all cylinders. We’re happy with how we played today. We know that there are improvements to be made, and obviously we have a big test next week.”
Notre Dame finished the game with 510 yards in total offense, including 178 yards on the ground.
Allen finished the game with 78 yards on 15 carries. Jonas Gray added 50 yards on nine carries.
The Fighting Irish will now set their sights on Michigan, a 31-7 winner over Western Michigan on Saturday.
Notre Dame and the Wolverines will play in Ann Arbor at 3:30 p.m.
Nevada 0 0 0 0 – 0
Notre Dame 7 21 7 0 – 35
ND – Kyle Rudolph 19 pass from Jimmy Clausen (Nick Tausch kick)
ND – Michael Floyd 24 pass from Clausen (Tausch kick)
ND – Floyd 70 pass from Clausen (Tausch kick)
ND – Armando Allen 1 run (Tausch kick)
ND – Floyd 88 pass from Clausen (Tausch kick)