CHICAGO – Notre Dame’s quarterback quandary was solved as quickly as it became more complicated Saturday night at Soldier Field.
Irish quarterback Tommy Rees lasted all of three pass attempts as a starter as No. 9 Notre Dame defeated Miami 41-3 with Everett Golson coming off the bench.
Golson, who started the first four games this season, didn’t start for the Irish (5-0) against the Hurricanes (4-2) because of a violation of team rules. But when Rees’ first three pass attempts landed incomplete, Golson was back behind center.
Golson, who was replaced by Rees in wins over Purdue and Michigan, completed 17 of 22 passes for 186 yards. He also ran for 51 yards.
Notre Dame kept the ball from Miami for most of the game as the Irish finished with a 39:08-20:52 advantage in time of possession.
The Irish ran for 376 yards. Cierre Wood had 18 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and George Atkinson III ran for 123 yards and a TD, giving the Irish two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2002.
Notre Dame finished with a season-high 587 total yards, while holding Miami to 285 yards. The Irish went a third straight game without giving up a touchdown.
Golson entered the game when Notre Dame caught a break on its first series when Miami was called for roughing the passer.
He got the ball on the Irish’s 31 and led Notre Dame 69 yards for a touchdown.
It appeared that Golson scored the TD on a 10-yard run, but after the ball popped out of his hand and was originally ruled a fumble, the Irish got the ball on the Hurricanes’ 1.
Theo Riddick ran it in on the next play to give the Irish a 7-0 lead 5 1/2 minutes into the game.
Miami answered with nine-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal from Jake Wieclaw with 5:32 to play in the first quarter, but Notre Dame got the three points back when Kyle Brindza converted a 22-yard field goal 50 seconds into the second quarter.
Notre Dame settled for another field goal on its next drive, a 32-yarder from Brindza, but it was another clock-eating drive.
The Irish’s back-to-back field goal drives chewed up 13:39 combined.
Both teams missed scoring chances to close the first half. Wieclaw couldn’t connect on a 47-yard field goal attempt with just more than a minute to play, and Brindza missed a 34-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the half after Golson moved Notre Dame 53 yards in 61 seconds to Miami’s 17.
The third quarter went just the way Notre Dame wanted it to go. Wood scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 3 yards, and Atkinson sprinted 55 yards for a score with 23 seconds to play in the quarter for a 34-3.
Cam McDaniel added a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:06 to play as the Irish shut the door on the Hurricanes and the quarterback debate for at least a week.