<
>

Willingham loses first game against former team

SEATTLE (AP) -- New coaches, same result.

Charlie Weis led Notre Dame to the same kind of lopsided romp
over Washington on Saturday that Tyrone Willingham did a year ago
when he was coaching Fighting Irish.

The 16th-ranked Irish, clicking in the air and on the ground
after a sluggish start, beat the Huskies 36-17 Saturday in a game
that had little to do with coaches matching wits and everything to
do with slick execution by Notre Dame (3-1) and huge blunders by
Washington (1-3).

A year after Notre Dame won 38-3 in South Bend, Ind., against
Washington, they took their show on the road to do virtually the
same thing against their former coach on a brilliant fall afternoon
before 71,473 fans in Husky Stadium.

Quarterback Brady Quinn, who threw four touchdown passes last
year, threw only one this time but compiled 327 yards passing in a
more balanced attack that saw sophomore halfback Darius Walker rush
for a career-high 128 yards on 21 carries. Walker became the first
running back in Notre Dame history to rush for more than 100 yards
in each of his first four games.

Quinn, who also ran for 29 yards, spread the wealth of passes
around to his targets, with wide receiver Jeff Samardzija leading
them all and gaining a career-high 164 yards.

Notre Dame's dominating offense controlled the game, and the
Irish never punted until 11 seconds were left. They held possession
of the ball for 36:56, breaking open the game with 24 points in the
second half. Rashon Powers-Neal had a 2-yard TD run, Samardzija
scored on a 52-yard pass and Travis Thomas scored on an 11-yard
run.

Washington, down 29-3 in the fourth quarter, made the final
score slightly more respectable with two late touchdowns, the first
on a 1-yard run by Mark Palaita, and the second with 2:26 left on a
41-yard pass from reserve quarterback Johnny Durocher.

Starting Husky quarterback Isaiah Stanback finished with 353
yards on 17-of-34 passing.

A fumble near the goal line on Washington's game-opening,
length-of-the-field drive cost the Huskies one touchdown, and an
interception in the end zone, after Stanback's career-high 69-yard
pass to Marion Wood, cost them another in the second quarter. Notre
Dame's only costly turnover came on a botched field goal snap after
driving to the Huskies' 24 on its first possession.

Notre Dame led 12-3 at halftime, scoring on Walker's 17-yard
touchdown run, blowing an extra point, making field goals from the
25 in the first quarter, the 39 in the second quarter and holding
Washington to a 27-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Washington gained all but five of its 243 yards in the first
half on passes, while Notre Dame had the more balanced attack -- 146
yards in the air, 102 on the ground.