Jimmy Clausen must have felt as if he was still in paradise.
Clausen, last seen playing nearly flawless in a Hawaii Bowl victory, completed 15 of 18 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns to lead Notre Dame to a 35-0 victory over Nevada on Saturday.
For Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis, a pivotal season began with Notre Dame's first easy season-opening win since his first game in 2005.
Clausen started the game by completing 10 of 11 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a career-long 70-yard pass for a touchdown to Michael Floyd. He bettered that in the third quarter with an 88-yard scoring pass to Floyd.
It was the third longest pass completion in Notre Dame history. Floyd deserved most of the credit for the score, leaping over cornerback Doyle Miller and keeping his balance when Miller tried to pull him down at the 50-yard line, then racing in for the score.
Floyd also had a 24-yard TD catch and tight end Kyle Rudolph opened the scoring with a 19-yard TD catch. The other touchdown by the Irish (1-0) came on a 1-yard run by Armando Allen Jr., who rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries.
It was the first shutout for Notre Dame during the Weis era. The last shutout for the Irish was a 42-0 win over Rutgers in 2002. It was just the third time in Nevada coach Chris Ault's 25 years as coach that the Wolf Pack was shut out.
The Irish couldn't have gotten off to a much better start. The defense stopped Nevada on its first three third-down attempts and linebacker Toryan Smith stuffed Wolf Pack running back Vai Taua for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1. Even highly touted freshman linebacker Manti Te'o got in on the act for Notre Dame on his first play early in the second quarter. On third-and-15 from the Nevada 26, quarterback Colin Kaepernick took off and had some room but Te'o caught him from behind after an 11-yard gain.
Nevada (0-1) drove to the Notre Dame 18 on its first possession, but Kaepernick was tackled for a 7-yard loss by linebacker Brian Smith and a 38-yard field goal attempt by Ricky Drake missed wide right.
The Irish held the Wolf Pack to 153 yards rushing and 307 total yards.
The play of the defense against a Nevada offense that was third in the country in rushing last year had to inspire Notre Dame fans.
The play of Clausen must of had them giddy _ even if it was more against a pass defense that ranked behind Hawaii's last season.
Clausen was 22 of 26 passing for 401 yards with five touchdowns in Notre Dame's 49-21 victory over Hawaii on Christmas Eve. Nevada, which ranked last in the nation in pass defense, was just as helpless to stop him.
It was the fourth career 300-yard game for Clausen.
Kaepernick was 12 of 23 passing for 149 yards with two interceptions. He also ran for 39 yards on 10 carries. Taua ran for 114 yards on 18 carries.
Notre Dame had struggled in season-openers since Weis' inaugural game, 42-21 win over No. 23 Pittsburgh. A year later the second-ranked Irish narrowly defeated Georgia Tech 14-10. In 2007, Tech handed the Irish the worst season-opening loss in their history with a 33-3 win. Last year, the Irish appeared headed to an embarrassing defeat to San Diego State until David Bruton forced a goal-line fumble as Notre Dame rallied for a 21-13 win.