Golson sharp in return as Notre Dame pounds Rice

South Bend, IN ( - Everett Golson did not look the least bit rusty in his first collegiate game in 600 days.

Golson ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more as No. 17 Notre Dame handed Rice a 48-17 loss in the season opener at Notre Dame Stadium.

The last time Golson donned a Fighting Irish uniform was in the BCS title game against Alabama two seasons ago. He missed his entire sophomore campaign after the university suspended him the next fall for academic reasons and spent his hiatus practicing with a quarterback guru.

The early results were promising, as Golson completed 14-of-22 attempts for 295 yards while accounting for 41 of the Irish's 281 rushing yards.

Notre Dame (1-0), which is in the middle of another academic scandal, went 9-4 last season without Golson and was playing a Rice (0-1) program coming off a Conference USA title.

The Owls lost most of their offensive threats from last season, however, and the untested Driphus Jackson was shaky in his first road start under center. Hampered by conservative play calling, Jackson passed for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception and gained a team-high 61 yards on the ground.

Golson unleashed his talents near the end of the first half as he quickly turned a four-point Irish lead into a 28-10 cushion at the break.

On 3rd-and-8 from the Rice 14, the fleet-footed QB found an opening in the middle of the field, left his feet at the 4 and withstood a big hit while stretching the ball over the goal line.

Following a Jackson interception with 21 seconds to go, C.J. Prosise, who earlier dropped a sure touchdown, somehow got behind the secondary and Golson hit him in stride for a 53-yard scoring strike.

Heavy rains affected a promising Rice drive that ended with a missed 47-yard field goal by James Hairston five minutes into the third quarter.

Kyle Brindza made it 31-10 with a 36-yard field goal, and Golson capped his big day with a hard-fought 4-yard TD run in the final minute of the third.

Brindza tacked on a 29-yard field goal midway through the fourth, Rice's backup quarterback, Tyler Stehling, tossed a 53-yard TD to James Mayden, and Notre Dame's Greg Bryant accounted for the final score with a 17-yard TD.

Golson scored the game's first touchdown as he waited for his blockers and went in on a delayed QB draw with 6:02 remaining in the opening quarter.

Rice answered with an 8-play, 65-yard drive, finishing it with Jackson and Zach Wright hooking up for a 26-yard score.

On the next snap, however, Golson threw a deep bomb to William Fuller, who caught the underthrown ball at the 20, shook off a tackle and waltzed in for a 75-yard TD.

Hairston's 33-yard field goal with under six minutes to go in the opening half cut Rice's deficit to 14-10.

Game Notes

Notre Dame held out wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams, linebacker Kendall Moore and safety Eilar Hardy as it undergoes an internal investigation into academic misconduct ... New artificial turf replaced the natural grass field at Notre Dame Stadium for the first time ... Rice is 0-8-1 when opening the season on the road against a ranked opponent ... Rice's last road win over a ranked foe came in 1991 ... Notre Dame redshirt freshman quarterback Malik Zaire ran for a 56- yard gain on his first collegiate play ... Bryant and Tarean Folston each ran for 71 yards for the Irish.