Early, often, and all afternoon. That's the way the Notre Dame offense approached its season opener against Nevada on Saturday in South Bend and they walked away with an impressive 35-0 victory in the process.
Jimmy Clausen and Michael Floyd connected for three Irish scores on the afternoon while Kyle Rudolph and Armando Allen each also found the end zone. Nevada put together a decent drive to on their first possession but were held in check by the Notre Dame defense the majority of the afternoon.
Jimmy Clausen got things going early on as he found Kyle Rudolph on a post route midway through the first possession. The touchdown pass capped a 12 play, 67 yard drive that put Notre Dame in front six and a half minutes in.
Nevada started the following possession and began cruising downfield before a sack on Colin Kapernick did the Wolfpack in. Richard Drake in turned missed a 38 yard field goal for Nevada, the Irish responded quickly with a nice drive put together with multiple solid runs by Armando Allen. Michael Floyd made it 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter on a 24 yard touchdown reception from Jimmy Clausen. Floyd split the safeties beautifully and put the Irish up two scores.
Nevada needed to respond their following drive but were instead held to a three and out. Two plays later it was again Clausen finding Floyd, this time for seventy yards and another Irish score.
The teams traded possessions a couple of times before the Irish took control with 5:51 remaining in the first half. Leading by 21 Charlie Weis gave a steady dose of both Armando Allen and Jonas Gray before the drive was capped off with only 1:59 remaining in the first half on a one yard touchdown run by Allen.
28-0 at halftime, things couldn't have gone much better for the Irish.
Charlie Weis called a pretty vanilla second half as the Irish put it on cruise control. The one major highlight of the half was another connection between Clausen and Floyd, this time for 88 yards. Clausen and Floyd each picked up their two longest completions/receptions of the day on the two long touchdown passes.
Nevada threatened the shutout midway through the third quarter but running back Vai Taua fumbled on a pitch that would have scored a touchdown. Instead it was Kapron Lewis-Moore jumping on the loose ball and Notre Dame held the shutout intact.
All in all a successful afternoon for Notre Dame, your tell-all stats:
Jimmy Clausen: 15/18 for 315 yards and 4 TD.
Turnovers: Nevada 3 Notre Dame 0
Rushing Yards: 178 yards on 41 attempts (4.3 ypc) against what was supposed to be a solid rush defense.
So its 1-0 for now and time to get ready for the Michigan Wolverines, a 31-7 winner vs. Western Michigan in the Big House on Saturday.