(Wednesday, December 24th)
Final Score: Notre Dame 49, Hawaii 21
Honolulu, HI (Sports Network) - Jimmy Clausen threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns, three of them going to Golden Tate, and Notre Dame snapped an NCAA-record nine-game bowl losing streak with a 49-21 rout of the Warriors in the Hawaii Bowl.
Clausen and Tate each set Notre Dame bowl records, and Armando Allen Jr. returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown as the Fighting Irish (7-6), with Charlie Weis working from the coaches box, blew out Hawaii on its home field.
Clausen connected on 22-of-26 passes as the Irish won their first bowl game since beating Texas A&M at the 1994 Cotton Bowl. He had three touchdowns and 300 of his yards in the first half. That alone was enough to eclipse the old mark for most passing yards in a bowl game for Notre Dame, breaking the record held by Brady Quinn (286) in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.
The five TDs is also a bowl record, and Tate also set a mark with 177 receiving yards on six catches.
In the final minutes, celebratory Notre Dame players dumped a bucket of drinking liquid on offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, who on Tuesday was named head coach at Miami-Ohio.
Weis wasn't on the sidelines most of the game due to upcoming knee surgeries, but the head coach made his way to the field on crutches late in the fourth quarter. He is under contract through the 2015 season, but has the worst two- year run of any head coach in the storied history of the program. Weis was given a vote of confidence by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick earlier this month, and on Wednesday the Irish set a team record for most points in a bowl game.
The defense was just as strong, registering eight sacks.
"I think it will be a happy time for our players," said Weis. "It's been a long time since we've won a bowl game. Our players came here knowing that coming to Hawaii can be a real distraction. It's easy to see how people can roll in here on a Thursday and Friday during the regular season and very often come out here a loser. But I think that our players came here on a mission to mix business with pleasure and I think they did a heck of a job."
Greg Alexander connected on 23-of-39 passes for 261 yards with two TDs and an interception for Hawaii (7-7), which has been outscored 90-31 in its last two bowl games. The Warriors were pounded by Georgia last season at the Sugar Bowl, ending hopes of an undefeated season.
Hawaii, playing in its home bowl game for the fifth time in the seven-year history of the contest, was limited to 32 yards rushing. Aaron Bain had eight catches for 119 yards and two scores in defeat.
"I really admire Notre Dame," said Hawaii coach Greg McMackin. "They were down losing the last four of five games. I thought tonight's game was going to come out different, but they jumped on us."
Robert Hughes scored on a two-yard run off left guard with 3:07 left in the opening quarter. Clausen threw 28 yards to tight end Kyle Rudolph and 27 to Tate during the 87-yard drive.
Notre Dame then came up with a blocked punt as Sergio Brown deflected the kick, giving the Irish the ball near midfield, but they failed to capitalize as the game rolled to the second quarter.
It became 14-0 early in the second when David Grimes caught a wobbly pass from Clausen in the right side of the end zone from 14 yards away, but Hawaii came right back with a 10-yard scoring connection from Alexander to Bain with 8:12 remaining in the half.
It was at that point when Clausen started to heat up. Less than two minutes after Hawaii's TD, Clausen threw 69 yards to Tate, who was alone in stride for a huge touchdown and a 21-7 Notre Dame lead.
Alexander was picked off by David Bruton, and the Irish embarked on a huge momentum-boosting march in the final minutes of the half. On 4th-and-1 from the Hawaii 34, Clausen escaped a tackler, scrambled and lofted the ball to a leaping Rudolph at the Warriors' five.
The next two plays, runs, resulted in losses, leaving the Irish at the 18. That didn't stop Notre Dame's sophomore QB from pulling off another spectacular pass, this one into double-coverage in the left rear corner of the end zone, where Tate barely got his left foot on the turf for the touchdown with one second left in the half.
Clausen threw 18 yards to Allen on a screen play for a score early in the third. Bain then fumbled the ball away, and it became 42-7 after Tate caught a deep ball on the right side and surged to the end zone from 40 yards out with 7:22 remaining in the same quarter.
Bain caught a 21-yard TD pass from Alexander nearly three minutes later, but Allen returned the kickoff to the end zone, surging up the right seam before cutting to the sideline.
Tate scored on a punt return with 2:25 remaining in the third quarter, but the play was wiped out by a roughing-the-punter penalty.
Hawaii capped the scoring on Inoke Funaki's 27-yard TD pass to Michael Washington with 1:45 remaining in the game.
Maurice Stovall had the old Notre Dame record for most receiving yards in a bowl game with 126 against Ohio State in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl...Hughes had 55 yards on 17 carries...Funaki completed all five of his passes for 65 yards...Rudolph had four catches for 78 yards...Tate and Clausen were named co-MVPs for Notre Dame, while Bain earned the honors for Hawaii...The Irish wore names on the back of their jerseys for the first time since the 1987 season Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M.
12/25 03:00:39 ET