Irish get first win of the season!

Notre Dame fought its way out of one of the worst slumps in school history.

Jimmy Clausen scored on a sneak and Maurice Crum returned a fumble 34 yards for another touchdown during a 50-second span of the third quarter, and the Fighting Irish won for the first time this season, 20-6 over UCLA on Saturday.

"When you're 0-5, everyone in the country is laughing at you," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said. "The only thing you can do is do something about it on the field."

The Irish did.

After a school record 0-5 start, they won to avoid matching their longest losing streak. The victory was their first in eight games dating back to last season, and the only other time the Irish lost eight straight was in 1960, when they won their opener and did not win again until the final game of the season.

Pasadena again proved hospitable to the Irish. In Notre Dame's only other visit, coach Knute Rockne's "Four Horsemen" defeated coach Pop Warner's Stanford team 27-10 in the 1925 Rose Bowl to give the Irish their first undisputed national championship.

This time, Notre Dame (1-5) knocked UCLA quarterback Ben Olson out with a knee injury late in the first quarter, then pressured freshman redshirt McLeod Bethel-Thompson into mistakes the rest of the game.

A walk-on pressed into the backup role for UCLA (4-2, 3-0 Pac-10) because of an injury to Patrick Cowan, Bethel-Thompson had not thrown a pass in a college game.

The Irish picked off four of his throws, with Crum getting two interceptions to go along with his recovery of Bethel-Thompson's fumble that he ran in for a touchdown.

Clausen put the Irish ahead 13-6 when he bulled over from one yard out, with 1:53 left in the third quarter.

David Bruton set up the score when he intercepted a Bethel-Thompson pass at the UCLA 21 and returned it to the 4-yard line.

Crum gave the Irish a 14-point pad when he scooped up the fumble and took off for the end zone.

Notre Dame's Brandon Walker kicked a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 48-yarder that bounced off the cross bar and went over to tie it 6-6 midway through the third quarter.

Kai Forbath kicked a 29-yarder in the first quarter, then gave UCLA a 6-3 lead with a 49-yarder late in the first half.

Bethel-Thompson completed 12-of-28 for 139 yards. Brandon Breazell and Joe Cowan each had five receptions for 69 yards for the punchless Bruins.

Clausen, a freshman who was a high school standout in the Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village, completed 17-of-27 for 84 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

John Carlson had six catches for 38 yards for Notre Dame.

The oft-injured Olson left the game when Tom Zbikowski sacked him, twisting the quarterback's left knee, late in the first quarter. Olson fumbled on the play and Kerry Neal picked up the ball to give Notre Dame the ball at the Bruins' 1-yard line and set up Walker's first field goal.

Last year, Olson went out with a knee injury in the fifth game and Cowan played the rest of the season. Olson missed this year's game against Washington because of concussion-like symptoms.

We will have post-game reaction from Charlie Weis on Newscenter 16 at 6 on Sunday evening.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WNDU - Channel 16 54516 State Road 933 South Bend, IN 46637 Front Desk: 574-284-3000 Newsroom: 574-284-3016 Email: newscenter16@wndu.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 10293452 - wndu.com/a?a=10293452