A 45-minute outage shut off the power to Sun Devil Stadium. Nothing seemed to cut the power to Notre Dame.
The No. 22 Irish shouldered Arizona State aside 28-9 Saturday, using opportunistic defense and a powerful rushing attack to win their third straight.
Autry Denson scored twice on 1-yard runs for the Irish (4-1) and A'Jani Sanders returned one of three interceptions off Arizona State's Ryan Kealy 25 yards for a TD.
Jarious Jackson, who last week became the first Notre Dame quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Tony Rice in 1989, only rarely ran option plays and was held to seven yards. But he threw a 7-yard pass to Malcolm Johnson for the first points of the game and finished 7-of-13 for 69 yards.
"I don't care if I get negative-19 rushing yards as long as we got more points than the opponent," said Jackson, who bruised his right shoulder last week but said he was fine the whole game.
Arizona State (2-4) had only a 22-yard field goal by Stephen Baker to show until J.R. Redmond's 1-yard run with 10:38 left.
The Irish countered immediately, with Joey Goodspeed bolting 60 yards up the middle to set up Denson's second score.
| Notre Dame's Malcolm Johnson (right) catches a touchdown pass as Arizona State's J'Juan Cherry defends the play. Notre Dame won the game 28-9. (AP) |
Goodspeed, a 240-pound fullback who had 109 yards on four carries, stepped out of an arm tackle at the line of scrimmage and shook off cornerback Courtney Jackson near the Arizona State 25 on a play that finished at the 6.
"I just tried to lower my shouldeand keep my feet moving," Goodspeed said. "We know that that's going to be a big play for us, because they've got to respect Jarious Jackson and Autry Denson. When it's our (fullbacks) turn to get the ball, we just hit the hole as hard as we can."
Jamie Spencer, Notre Dame's starting fullback, had 37 yards in 10 carries, and third-stringer Jason Murray added eight in two tries.
"There's an old adage that it's OK to let them take away that quarterback, because then it's hard to stop the fullback," coach Bob Davie said.
The Sun Devils opened with Kealy operating out of a shotgun formation, but it didn't help. He threw two interceptions in the first 17 1/2 minutes, the second returned by Sanders for a 14-0 Irish lead.
"It's a little baffling to me, but it's my job to correct it," said Kealy, who was replaced by Chad Elliott in the fourth quarter after the first three-interception game of his two-year career.
Elliott directed the 65-yard drive that Redmond completed with his run.
"It wasn't any hoopla," Redmond said about the first meeting with Notre Dame, which won for the 19th time in 20 series openers since 1950. "We went out and had a hard week of practice, and the coaches coached us, and we went out there and played the game. We just didn't play it good."
The Irish, who trailed at halftime in their first two games, led this one 14-3 at the half thanks to their defense.
Linebacker Brock Williams, who batted a potential first-down pass away from Lenzie Jackson to shorten Arizona State's first series, picked off a pass the next time the Sun Devils got the ball, hauling it in after Kealy threw behind Brian Forth.
That started an 11-play, 87-yard drive for Notre Dame's first points.
Jarious Jackson loosened up the Sun Devils on the second play with a 20-yard completion to Jabari Holloway, then sent Denson and Spencer into the line on runs that netted three consecutive first downs and put Notre Dame in position for his throw to Johnson.
Kealy's next interception was even more costly. Sanders gathered it in on the fly and stepped past diving tackle Marvel Smith for the TD that sent the Irish to a 14-0 lead with 12:27 remaining in the second quarter.
The Sun Devils chewed up most of the remainder of the period with two time-consuming drives, but netted only three points on Baker's field goal.
Baker missed another from 38 yards as the half ended.
A transformer blew up in the stadium about 2:15 p.m., late in the halftime break. It cut power to the entire stadium, and there was only intermittent power in the press box and at stadium sites the rest of the game.
The Irish had to shower in cold water because of the outage, and occupants of the three-tiered press box who left before power was restored to the elevators had to walk down or climb up the equivalent of a seven-story building.
Facility manager Tom Sadler said it was the first stadium transformer malfunction ihis 15 years with the university.
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