SEATTLE (AP) -A swarming, rejuvenated defense. Five wide receivers with empty backfields while leading big in the second half.
Then, a fake punt that led to more points and more angst for a coach who needs no more.
Notre Dame humbled Tyrone Willingham yet again, this time with its defense and some second-half trickery.
ran for 84 yards and a career-high two touchdowns and Notre Dame's previously shaky defenders easily handled Washington in
a 33-7 victory on Saturday night.
(5-2) looked rusty on offense following its bye, with quarterback
frustrated and often misfiring. But against woeful Washington, rusty was good enough.
Clausen completed 14 of 26 passes for 201 yards, with a 51-yard touchdown pass to
on the game's first series, and an interception.
''I feel like we could have scored more, but we never want to embarrass a team,'' said Irish wide receiver
, who ran 21 yards for his first career touchdown on an end around in the opening quarter. ''I think we let up once we had
Washington's score with 2:56 left prevented its first shutout loss at home since 1976.
The Huskies (0-7), with redshirt freshman quarterback
making his third career start, did not cross midfield until 6 minutes remained. The Huskies had just 51 total yards on 35
plays entering the fourth quarter. They had 5 yards passing at halftime, when the game was essentially over with Notre Dame
''That was almost unbelievable that we would be in that position,'' said Willingham, who dropped to 11-32 in three-plus seasons
Notre Dame fired him at the end of 2004 for going 21-15 in three seasons. Another dismissal from Washington seems inevitable
The Irish led 24-0 late in the third quarter and faced fourth-and-13 at its own 37.
took a direct snap on a fake punt and ran 35 yards to set up the second field goal of the game by
As the crowd booed, Willingham remained stoic on the sideline.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who exchanged a handshake and appeared cordial with Willingham on the field after the game,
said he wanted to run that play late in the first half but the clock ran out on him. His team had practiced against a certain
look he planned to exploit on Washington's punt-return unit. It was heavy on defenders outside, setting up for a return. That
left Smith free and ''excited,'' the linebacker said, in the middle.
Asked if he thought about what the perception of such a play would be coming with a 24-point lead on an obviously overmatched
opponent, Weis said: ''No. It's the third quarter. ... It's not 50-0. I'm not that type of guy. ... We yanked guys at the
start of the fourth quarter. Their only touchdown at the end was against guys who never play.
''No, that's not our deal.''
Washington (0-7) finished with 124 total yards against a defense that was allowing an average of 368 yards, 75th nationally.
The Huskies remain one of only two winless teams in major college football, with North Texas.
''There was nothing that we did well tonight,'' a solemn Willingham said.
Notre Dame improved to 7-0 against Washington, which is off to its worst start since beginning 0-9 in 1969. The Irish have
beaten Willingham's Huskies twice, the last time in 2005.
Saturday night, in the first row of the students' section behind Washington's bench, ''Fire Willingham!'' was painted on the
bare chests of young men and stomachs of a few young women.
That group joined the rest of the 70,000-plus in becoming apathetic - or cold - by the time the Irish took a 17-0 lead four
minutes into the second quarter, on Walker's third successful field goal in nine tries this season. All students but the ''M''
put on their shirts as sun set on a crisp fall evening.
The Huskies were outgained 238-38 in the first half.
again watched helplessly on the sideline, wearing a sweatshirt and a knit cap. The dynamic sophomore is out indefinitely with
a broken thumb.
Clausen missed on 10 of his first 16 passes against a team ranked last in the nation in pass efficiency defense. He had a
second interception erased by a penalty for defensive pass interference. Two potential touchdown passes landed in front of
the feet of his receivers in the end zone.
When he threw wide of an open
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.
''Yeah, I got out of rhythm in the second quarter,'' said Clausen, who had been completing 61.6 percent of his throws coming
in. ''We just need to push the pedal down.''