Oct. 7, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns and Darius Walker ran for a season-high 153 yards and a touchdown, leading No. 12 Notre Dame to a 31-10 victory over winless Stanford on Saturday.
Quinn was 27-of-37 passing for 232 yards, completing TD passes Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight and John Carlson. It was the second straight 100-yard game for Walker and his second best game rushing. Walker, who also had six catches for 45 yards, rushed for 186 yards on 35 carries against Stanford last season.
The Irish, who won their first eight games in 2002, are off to their second best start since also starting the 1998 season 5-1. Stanford (0-6) is off to its worst start since losing its first six games in 1983 en route to a 1-10 season.
The Irish defense, which entered the game ranked 92nd in the nation, held Stanford to a field goal through three quarters before finally getting beat on a 57-yard halfback pass from Anthony Kimble to Kelton Lynn 33 seconds into the fourth quarter - the longest play of the season for the Cardinal.
But the Irish defense played solidly, holding the Cardinal to 72 yards rushing and 226 yards total offense - the fewest yards allowed by the Irish this season. They held the Cardinal to three-and-out on three straight possessions in the first half and sacked Trent Edwards five times - three by defensive end Victor Abiamiri. The Irish entered the game with eight sacks.
The Irish, who needed a last-minute touchdown a year ago to beat Stanford, took control late in the second quarter. They drove 68 yards in 2:26 to go ahead 14-3 on a 15-yard pass from Quinn to McKnight with 29 seconds left in the first half. Quinn was 5-of-6 passing on the drive for 32 yards, completing a 15-yard TD pass to McKnight. McKnight caught the ball at the 7, cut inside cornerback Brandon Harrison and ran untouched to the end zone. It was his fifth straight game with a touchdown.
The Irish then went ahead 21-3 by scoring on their first possession of the second half. Walker scored on a 32-yard run, his longest run of the season. Walker accounted for 65 yards on the 76-yard drive, with a 14-yard catch on a swing pass and 51 yards on three runs.
The Irish added a 35-yard field goal by Carl Gioia and a one-handed TD catch by Carlson. It was the fourth time this season Quinn has thrown at least three TD passes and the 12th time in his career.
The Irish finished with a season-high 204 yards rushing against the Cardinal defense, which entered the game last in the nation in rushing defense at 282.8 yards a game.
The Irish opened the game with an impressive 17-play, 91-yard touchdown drive, capped by an 8-yard pass to Samardzija.
But Stanford, which had been shutout a week earlier by UCLA, came back with a 14-play, 71-yard drive of its own. It stalled, though, when Stanford had the ball first-and-goal from the 4 and could only gain a yard on its next three plays. The Cardinal settled for a 19-yard field goal by Aaron Zagory.