Notre Dame offensive lineman Jim Molinaro understood when his coach Tyrone Willingham visited with his former players before the game.
"He recruited those guys," Molinaro said. "But he's here now. Sorry, guys."
Julius Jones made sure Willingham's return to Stanford was triumphant, running for 106 yards in the first quarter of Notre Dame's 57-7 victory over the Cardinal on Saturday night.
Jones finished with 218 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Fighting Irish player to go over 200 yards three times in the same season. Ryan Grant ran for three touchdowns in Notre Dame's highest scoring output in nine years.
"It's incredible. I never thought I'd have a 200-yard game let alone a 1,000-yard season," said Jones, who was academically ineligible last season.
Brady Quinn threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Matt Shelton and a 45-yard strike to Maurice Stovall -- and Willingham enjoyed his first trip back to The Farm since leaving to coach Notre Dame after the 2001 season.
The Irish (5-6) won their third in a row and were impressive coming off their open date. Notre Dame has not lost the week after an open date since Nov. 12, 1994, at Florida State.
Stanford (4-7) lost its last three games, but still improved over Coach Buddy Teevens' 2-9 record in his first season.