A few hours after Coach Lou Holtz returned to South Bend on Saturday from the Mayo Clinic, No. 24 Notre Dame defeated Vanderbilt, 41-0, under Bob Davie, defensive coordinator and interim coach.
Running back Randy Kinder led Notre Dame (2-1) with 110 yards rushing in 17 carries, and sophomore quarterback Ron Powlus completed 13 of 18 for 200 yards, but he also fumbled five times.
The Irish dominated from the start, scoring on every possession to take a 27-0 lead at halftime, and fullback Marc Edwards added two one-yard touchdown runs in the second half to finish their scoring.
Vanderbilt (0-2) had only one chance to score in the entire game: a 48-yard field goal attempt by Steve Yenner in the first quarter that went wide left.
Holtz underwent surgery earlier this week to relieve pressure on his spinal cord, which caused weakness in his arms and legs and could have left him paralyzed.
Notre Dame’s defense that had been so porous against Purdue and Northwestern held Vanderbilt to 94 yards, 33 in the second half.
“The defense went out and played hard and came off the field and the offense marched down and scored,” said Irish nose guard Paul Grasmanis, who recovered a fumble to set up one of Edwards’ touchdown runs in the second half. “It’s great to play like a team like that.”
Commodore running back Jermaine Johnson, who rushed for 114 yards in a narrow loss to Alabama two weeks ago, gained 38 Saturday. Vanderbilt stayed with quarterback Damian Allen for most of the game rather than alternating him with Ronnie Gordon, but Allen completed only three of 12 passes for 38 yards.
After Notre Dame kicked off with a 17-0 lead and 6:39 left in the half, Vanderbilt’s Corey Chavous made it to the 20 before he was tackled by Kurt Belisle and fumbled to Notre Dame’s Jarvis Edison, who ran eight yards for a touchdown.
“We’ve become a pretty dominant offensive team, but I don’t think we’re near that on defense,” Davie said.