Notre Dame dominates Washington

Published 2:58 am Monday, September 27, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -The numbers may not show it, but Notre Dame dominated Washington Saturday, en rout to its third straight victory.
What the stats didn't show, the scoreboard did. The Irish's offense got ahead early and its defense shut down the Huskies in a 38-3 victory.
Notre Dame (3-1) used a 21-point first quarter to grab control of the game, but it was the way the Irish scored that was surprising.
Washington brought the 111th-ranked rushing defense (out of 117 Division I teams) into Notre Dame Stadium.
With the way freshman running back Darius Walker sliced through defenses in the previous two contests, the Irish figured to run over the Huskies.
It was especially likely that Notre Dame would stay on the ground because Washington had the fourth-ranked passing defense.
But Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn proved the Irish can pass too. Quinn passed for four touchdowns to tie a Notre Dame record - all before the midway point of the second quarter. He completed three of his first five passes for scores.
All told, Quinn was 17-of-32 for 266 yards and an interception. It was the most yards he's passed for this season.
After completing 15-of-21 to start the game, however, Quinn cooled down considerably in the second half, connecting on just 2-of-11.
While the Huskies gained 335 total yards in the game, the Irish kept them out of the endzone, the first time Notre Dame has done that to an opponent all year.
The Irish's stingy defense also forced five fumbles, four of which they recovered, and intercepted a pass. The effort may not seem that impressive because it came against a winless Washington team, but the Huskies had averaged 23.5 points per game before they were limited to a field goal on Saturday.
Washington also averaged nearly 200 rushing yards per game, but was limited to little over half that by Notre Dame.
Although the Huskies did gain 112 yards on the ground, none of Washington's running backs rushed for more than 33 yards individually.
Quinn's performance was the ninth time an Irish quarterback has passed for four touchdowns. The last time it happen was when Carlyle Holiday did it in 2002 against Rutgers. Former Irish quarterback Ron Powlus has three of the four-touchdown games.
Quinn's first two scoring strikes came to this season's surprise success story Matt Shelton. Shelton finished the game with four grabs worth 74 yards and the two touchdowns.
It was Shelton's 47-yard touchdown catch against Michigan that got Notre Dame's offense rolling in the third quarter in a 28-20 upset of the then-No. 3 Wolverines on Sept. 11.
Then last week, at Michigan State, Shelton caught three balls for 123 yards and a touchdown.
While Notre Dame got it done through the air in the first half, its rushing game was successful in the second. Despite a slow start, Walker again led the Irish in rushing.
He carried the ball 23 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, Notre Dame's only touchdown in the second half. He has four touchdowns in thre games this season.
Notre Dame's defense kept Washington's quarterback Cory Paus in check. Paus completed just 10-of-26 passes for 130 yards in the first half. He was benched in the second half in favor of backup Carl Bonnell.
Bonnell didn't fare much better, connecting on 7-of-18 passes for 93 yards and an interception in the second half.
Dwight Ellick had the interception for Notre Dame.
The Irish hope their stifling defense will hold up next week when they welcome 15th-ranked Purdue to Notre Dame Stadium.
The Boilermakers tout a high-powered offense that averages 46 points per game.
Purdue is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Kyle Orton. Orton has 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions in three games this season.