If the practice technique of Notre Dame quarterback Tony Rice really works, the taverns may be full of the nation’s top passers.
“I spent the whole week throwing darts,” he said after No. 5 Notre Dame beat Stanford, 42-14, Saturday. “I threw 100 darts a night last week, because the coaches told me that it would improve my passing.”
Rice completed 11 of 14 attempts, passing for 129 yards and 1 touchdown, while rushing for 2 more.
“I thought Tony for the first time executed in a ballgame like he does in practice,” Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz said.
Coach Jack Elway said his Stanford team (1-3) was hampered by mistakes--including a fumble the Irish quickly converted to a touchdown--while Notre Dame (4-0) played a near-perfect game. “They took it to us both offensively and defensively tonight,” he said.
Elway substituted quarterback Jason Palumbis in the second half for starter Brian Johnson, who rushed for 1 touchdown but completed only 7 of 18 passes. Palumbis passed for 158 yards and 1 touchdown in the second half.
The Irish gained 170 yards rushing and had 4 touchdowns in the first half on runs by Rice, Mark Green, Tony Brooks and Anthony Johnson.
Johnson and Palumbis engineered the two longest scoring drives--68 and 73 yards--this season against Notre Dame. But the Cardinal offense was stymied early, gaining 111 yards in the first half, and trailing, 28-7, at halftime.
The Irish scored on their first possession when Rice ran for 30 yards, aided by a key Ricky Watters’ block at the Stanford 20. Kicker Reggie Ho missed the conversion attempt.
Green scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and Rice ran for a 2-point conversion after Stanford’s Johnson fumbled on his 1-yard line following a successful Cardinal goal line stand.
The Irish added a touchdown on a 5-yard run by Brooks, capping a 5-play, 45-yard drive.
The Cardinal scored first 4:35 into the contest when an 11-yard run by Jon Volpe set up a 1-yard dive by Johnson.
Notre Dame’s Johnson ran for a 1-yard score on the Irish’s next possession.
The Irish added second-half touchdowns on a 3-yard pass from Rice to Derek Brown and a 6-yard run by Rice. Brown has caught only two passes this season, both for touchdowns.
Palumbis led a 73-yard drive that gave Stanford its second touchdown on a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Henry Green.
A goal-line stand by the Stanford defense stopped Notre Dame in the first quarter with the score 6-0. Defensive end Flash Gordon grabbed his first career interception, a Johnson pass intended for Pinckney, but Lester Archambeau turned back Rice at the goal line on fourth down, only to have the effort wasted on the next play when Ned Bolcar recovered Johnson’s fumble.
Rice completed 6 straight passes in the first half, running to 10 his string of consecutive completions begun in last week’s game against Purdue and tying a school record held by several quarterbacks.
Ho, who had been perfect this season on point-after attempts and deadly on field goals under 40 yards, missed his first two efforts, a PAT and a 21-yard field goal attempt.
A weak Stanford punting game--the longest was 31 yards--aided the Irish in the first half.