(Saturday, October 31st)
Final Score: (25) Notre Dame 40, Washington State 14
San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) - Golden Tate hauled in a miraculous 50-yard touchdown heave at the end of the first half and also scored on the ground, as No. 25 Notre Dame cruised to a 40-14 victory over lowly Washington State at the Alamodome.
Jimmy Clausen padded his resume with 268 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-27 efficiency for the Fighting Irish (6-2), who have won five of their last six. Clausen appeared to tweak a turf toe injury in the third quarter, and as a precaution was taken out of the game.
Tate hauled in four passes for 80 yards and added 61 yards on the ground, while Robert Hughes carried the ball 24 times for 131 yards and a score in a rare blowout decision.
The previous six games for the Irish were decided by seven points or less.
"Just to get on top of a team and just keep going and keep playing for 60 minutes is something that coach [Charlie] Weis wanted us to do," Clausen said. "It just felt good for us to go out there and execute a game plan and not be down in the last minute trying to win in the fourth quarter."
Jared Karstetter caught two touchdown passes from Jeff Tuel, who finished with 104 yards and two interceptions on 12-of-23 attempts for the Cougars (1-7), losers of five straight.
The Irish sputtered inside the WSU 10-yard line on their opening drive and settled for a 29-yard field goal off the foot of Nick Tausch.
Tate's 33-yard run out of the wildcat formation later in the frame highlighted an 80-yard drive, which ended with Clausen buying time and hitting Duval Kamara in the back of the end zone from seven yards out. The extra point was blocked and nearly returned for two points.
Tate made it 16-0 with 9 1/2 minutes left in the second when he took a direct snap at the WSU 16-yard line, spun off a pair of defenders at the line of scrimmage and broke it to the outside for the score.
Clausen went 4-for-4 for 53 yards on the next ND drive, and Hughes ended it by diving into the end zone from a yard out on 3rd-and-goal.
The Cougars more than doubled their offensive production on their last drive of the half, as Karstetter came down with an 11-yard score to finish off the seven-play, 67-yard drive with 1:16 left before intermission.
Five completions moved the Irish to midfield despite a pair of penalties. Clausen let loose a bomb on the final play of the half that Tate somehow came down with amongst a trio of defenders, ending a dominating first half in memorable fashion.
"I knew they were in deep coverage," Tate said. "I knew once the ball was in the air, people would flock to the ball. So I knew there would be people around me. I just got lucky and made a catch."
After the teams traded punts to start the second half, Notre Dame used a short field to penetrate the red zone. Clausen was sacked on 2nd-and-goal and left the game before Tausch came in and booted a 23-yarder.
Dayne Crist relieved Clausen and connected with John Goodman on a 64-yard touchdown five minutes into the final quarter.
Crist left the game with an ankle injury after fumbling in WSU territory, and Karstetter ended a seven-play, 65-yard drive and the game's scoring with an eight-yard TD grab.
Notre Dame won the only previous meeting with Washington State by a 29-26 final in overtime back in 2003...All of WSU's losses this season have come by no fewer than 13 points...Kyle Rudolph ended with six grabs for 59 yards, while Hughes added four grabs for 51 yards for the Irish, who outgained the Cougars, 592-206, including a 255-yard effort on the ground.
11/01 03:09:20 ET