- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 25, 2008

HONOLULU | Jimmy Clausen set a Notre Dame bowl record with 406 yards passing and five touchdowns to help the Irish win a postseason game for the first time in 15 years with a 49-21 victory over Hawaii on Wednesday night in the Hawaii Bowl.

Golden Tate had six catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns, also Notre Dame bowl records, including a 69-yarder that sparked a 28-point outburst for the Fighting Irish (7-6), who ended their NCAA-record nine-game bowl losing streak in dramatic fashion.

With coach Charlie Weis calling the plays from the coaches box for the first time because of knee problems that require him to walk with crutches, the Irish were unstoppable.

The offense scored at will. The blitzing defense shut down Hawaii’s run-and-shoot. And the special teams wasn’t too shabby, either.

After the Warriors (7-7) scored to end Notre Dame’s 28-point run, Armando Allen returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score. Allen also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass on the Irish’s opening drive of the second half.

Notre Dame’s victory was its first in the postseason since it beat Texas A&M; in the Cotton Bowl to end the 1993 season. The Irish also avoided consecutive losing seasons.

Clausen was confident and sharp, completing 22 of 26 passes. He racked up 300 yards passing and three touchdowns by halftime alone, sending the crowd home early.

The sophomore broke Brady Quinn’s postseason school record of 286 yards passing set against Ohio State in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.

With Notre Dame up 14-7, Clausen broke open the game by connecting with Tate on a 69-yard touchdown, the Irish’s longest play from scrimmage of the season.

Clausen faked a handoff, turned and heaved it to Tate, who had blown past cornerback Calvin Roberts along the left sideline. With the catch, Tate became the fifth Irish receiver to break 1,000 yards receiving in a season.

The Irish made it 28-7 with a second left in the first half on an 18-yard hookup between Clausen and Tate on third-and-goal. Hawaii challenged the play, but replays showed Tate got his left foot down before stepping out.

Tate followed it up in the third quarter with a 40-yard touchdown reception that pushed the lead to 42-7 and gave the Warriors flashbacks of the pounding they received from Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to end last season.

Clausen and Tate shared the MVP award.

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