Oct. 25, 2008
SEATTLE (AP) - Junior James Aldridge ran for 84 yards and a career-high two touchdowns and the Notre Dame defense handled Washington in a 33-7 victory on Saturday night.
Washington's score with 2:56 left prevented its first shutout loss at home since 1976.
Notre Dame (5-2) led 24-0 late in the third quarter and faced fourth-and-13 at its own 37.
Harrison Smith took a direct snap on a fake punt and ran 35 yards to set up the second field goal of the game by Brandon Walker.
The Huskies' offense, with redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch making his third career start, did not cross midfield until 6 minutes remained. It had just 51 total yards on 35 plays entering the fourth quarter.
Washington (0-7) finished with 124 total yards against a defense that was allowing an average of 368 yards, 75th nationally.
The Irish looked rusty on offense following its bye, with quarterback Jimmy Clausen frustrated and often misfiring. He did complete 14 of 26 passes for 201 yards, with a 51-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd on the game's first series, and an interception.
Notre Dame improved to 7-0 against Washington. The Irish have won both times they've met a former non-interim head coach. The other time was in 2005, another rout of Willingham and the Huskies in Seattle.
The Irish took a 17-0 lead 4 minutes into the second quarter, on Walker's third field goal in nine tries this season.
The Huskies were outgained 238-38 and had just 5 yards passing in the first half.
Quarterback Jake Locker again watched helplessly on the sideline, wearing a sweatshirt and a knit cap. The sophomore is out indefinitely with a broken thumb.
Notre Dame needed just five plays after halftime to make it 24-0, after a 33-yard pass from Clausen to Golden Tate and a 4-yard touchdown run by Aldridge.
Clausen missed on 10 of his first 16 passes against a team ranked last in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Two potential touchdown passes landed in front of the feet of his receivers in the end zone. When he threw wide of an open Robby Parris on fourth-and-18 late in the first half, Clausen stomped to the sideline, slammed himself down on a bench and angrily fired a towel away.
Clausen had another interception, by Nate Williams deep in Huskies territory, erased because officials called cornerback Vonzell McDowell for pass interference. The Irish scored three plays later on a 21-yard run by wide receiver Tate on an end-around. The sophomore's first career rushing score made it 14-0.