HONOLULU, HI - Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen completed 22 of his 26 passes, and the four he didn't complete could have been caught as Notre Dame routed Hawai'i 49-21 in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve.
Golden Tate couldn't keep one in bounds, David Grimes let one hit him in the chest, Michael Floyd couldn't come down with a jump ball in the end zone that hit him in the hands and Robert Hughes let one go off his hands.
Charlie Weis said the extra practice time granted by a bowl bid helped Clausen improve his accuracy.
"Some things that in a hectic schedule of a normal week, you don't have time to focus on, you can work on," he said.
Clausen's 401 passing yards, five touchdown passes and 84.6 completion percentage were all Notre Dame bowl records as well as career-highs.
He became the second quarterback, along with Brady Quinn, to throw for five touchdowns in a game and the third quarterback, along with Quinn and Joe Theismann, to throw for 400 yards in a game. His season totals of 3,172 yards and 25 touchdowns are both third-best in single-season school history.
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW: Weis called the plays from the press box rather than on the sideline. He said he took a shot for the pain in his knee, resulting from torn ligaments during the Michigan game when a player was blocked into him. The shot, however, sent pain into his calves and feet and rendered him unable to walk.
The move was not new to him. He coached in the press box as an offensive coordinator with the Patriots until quarterback Drew Bledsoe got injured, and he and Patriots coach Bill Belichick felt his presence on the sideline would benefit an inexperienced Tom Brady.
"We won the Super Bowl, so we decided to keep doing it," he said.
Weis said coaching from the press box was 10 times easier — "Calling the game was pretty sweet up there" — but said as a coach, he wants to be on the sideline.
THE NAME GAME: The Irish sported their names on the back of their jerseys for the first time since the 1987 Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M. The tradition stems from when Ara Parseghian was coach — the jerseys had no names during the regular season but the names were added for the bowl because the players keep the bowl jerseys.
HAWAI'I HIGHS: Notre Dame set new Hawai'i Bowl records in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage, player receiving yards and touchdowns, longest pass, total offense and longest kick return.
"We came here knowing that Hawaii has good offensive firepower," Weis said. "We wanted to mix the run and the pass, and get them out of their Cover-2."
"I really haven't been practicing too much," said Allen, who had been recovering from an ankle injury. "Any way I can help us win, I'm going to come out here and do it."
SACK HAPPY: Notre Dame recorded eight sacks against an offensive line that had allowed 49 so far this season. Linebacker Steve Quinn had two and tackle Ethan Johnson each had two and Darius Fleming, Kerry Neal, Maurice Crum Jr. and Scott Smith all had one.
"I thought I was going to get some more, but that's how the cards played," tackle Patrick Kuntz said. "Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. But our team got after it today. Our defense was flying around and getting a lot of pressure. We were expecting to be as successful as we were."
When asked about Johnson's two sacks, Kuntz scoffed and jokingly blamed them on his own disruptive presence.
"All those double teams I get," he laughed. "He can have my scraps, I've had enough."
TIP DRILL: Notre Dame deflected five of Warriors quarterback Greg Alexander's passes, which is something they practiced for because of the quick release and Alexander's low release point.
"We expected a quick release out of the quarterback today, reminiscent of San Diego State and some of the earlier games we had," Kuntz said. "We emphasized get our hands up because a lot of teams try to get it away quick, before we get there, and that's a way of shutting them down.
"I liked that release point. It was a little lower, and I could see over the lineman so it was kind of nice."
GOLDEN RECEIVER:: Tate became the sixth Irish receiver to finish a season with over 1,000 yards (he had 1,080) and his 10 touchdown catches tied the sixth-best season mark in Notre Dame history.
"I had no clue I was in the record books, I'm not sure why I'm in the record book," he said. "But it's great. It's a great tradition."
Tate also set Notre Dame bowl-records with 177 receiving and three touchdowns. Both of those were career highs as well.
HELPING HAND: Even though Floyd only caught two passes for 17 yards, his presence was enough to ensure the rest of the passing game shined.
"It's great to have Michael Floyd back, he's a great playmaker on offense," Clausen said. "In previous games they could double-team, but they couldn't do that today."
Floyd's presence opened the field for Tate and freshman tight end Kyle Rudolph, who finished with four catches for 78 yards."Floyd's a stud. [Rudolph's] a stud, he's small right now but if he puts on weight," Warriors coach Greg McMackin said.