Quinn Efficient As Usual

SOUTH BEND - Brady Quinn just missed having his first monster game of the season. However, in the end it was another efficient day at the office for the Heisman candidate, as he led the 12th-ranked Irish (5-1) to a 31-10 victory over winless Stanford (0-6).

Quinn completed 27-of-37 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns.

Those numbers could have been a lot bigger, but Quinn missed on a couple balls that could have turned into big plays and or scores. Jeff Samardzija laid out but couldn't corral a deep pass over the middle. Then there was the thread-the-needle pass to a streaking John Carlson that was tipped and nearly intercepted.

"There were a couple passes where I had the right read but didn't put the ball in the right place to make use of the wide receivers," Quinn said.

Though Quinn thought he could have played better, head coach Charlie Weis was happy with the senior's performance.

"That type of day, there aren't that many quarterbacks that can play the game the way he plays the game," Weis said. "By play the game, I mean throw it to the open guy. Most quarterbacks want to lay up to a couple good guys they have and throw it over and over and over again. Well this offense doesn't really work that way. This offense is more read the coverage, run through the progression to try to get it to the right guys and we're a couple balls and hands away from having a humongous day."

Quinn still put together a nice first half of the season, completing 138-of-233 (59 percent) passes for 1,634 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He is on pace for some very impressive numbers.

*Weis always said that Carlson shows emotion, we just don't see it. Well after an amazing one-handed catch in the end zone for the final score of the afternoon, Carlson let loose celebrating with Quinn and teammates.

"I couldn't help it," Carlson stated with no emotion, maybe a hint of sarcasm following the game. "I showed a little emotion out there, it happens."

Carlson, who finished with six receptions for 38 yards and that touchdown, lined up in the Irish backfield as a fullback.

"A little wrinkle," Weis said. "I think that sometimes your offense can get a little stagnant if you just use your main formations from different personnel groupings. So remember when you guys were asking me about where's my fullback? There's my fullback, so you've figured it out."

"He's able to do a ton of different things for us," Quinn said. "We keep saying over and over again, he is so versatile, he is able to do so much for us. He's a weapon I feel a lot of teams overlook."

*Darius Walker continues to make moves in the Notre Dame record book, moving up on the career rushing list, all-purpose yards and career total yards. The running back gained 153 yards on 25 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown run, his longest scamper of the season.

Walker has now gained 2,508 yards rushing in his career, passing Phil Carter and moving into sixth place on the career rushing list. Carter had 2,409 yards on the ground. Next up is Jerome Heavens and his 2,682 yards. Autry Denson is the all-time leader with 4,318, a number not out of reach of the junior Walker.

Walker also caught six passes for 45 yards and moved into seventh place on the all-purpose yards list and into ninth on career yards.

For the second straight week, Walker gained over 100 yards after struggling in the first four contests.

"It feels good, a lot of confidence and stuff going now," he said. "I'm feeling comfortable and everything."

Walker always looks comfortable against Stanford. He rushed for a career-high 186 yards in the dramatic 38-31 win a season ago.

"I wouldn't say it's anything against Stanford or nothing like that," Walker said. "I think it was a good team collective effort today. The offensive line of course opened up all the holes so I could run through them."

*Speaking of the offensive line, they played well for the most part against one of the worst defenses in the country. They gave Quinn time to throw and paved the way for 204 yards rushing.

"We still have a long way to go in becoming the top offense we want to be," guard Dan Santucci said.

Maybe offensive coordinator Mike Haywood fired the offensive linemen up. After failing to convert on fourth-and-two from their own 47 in the second quarter, Haywood ripped into his guys on the sideline.

"Coach Haywood just said we had the confidence to go for it on fourth down, he's like you have to get it done," Santucci said. "He said before that we had two third downs where we didn't convert either."

"That is a goal of ours to convert on third down and definitely on fourth down."

The Irish did convert on seven-of-13 third downs, an ever-improving number.

*Reserve tackle Paul Duncan did not play Saturday due to illness. The sophomore had been splitting time with freshman Sam Young.

*Rhema McKnight surpassed Tim Brown and Jim Seymour moving into second place on the ND career receptions list. His five catches gives him 140 for his career. Tom Gatewood leads the way with 157.

Samardzija also made a move on that list, catching seven passes and moving from seventh to fifth on the list, passing Ken MacAfee, Derrick Mayes and Maurice Stovall. The senior now has 135 receptions.

McKnight has caught a touchdown in five consecutive games.

*Notre Dame's game-opening drive was 17 plays, 91 yards with 7:10 elapsing from the clock. Those statistics are all season highs. The Irish hadn't had a 90-yard scoring drive since the first quarter against Tennessee last year, where they marched 94 yards down the field.

*The Irish ran 43 plays compared to Stanford's 23 in the first half, however, they only led 14-3.

*Weis has led the Irish to more than 30 points, 14 times now.

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