The Stat Line:
Jimmy Clausen: 22 of 26 for 401 passing yards, 5 TD, 0 INT
Golden Tate: 6 catches for 177 receiving yards, 3 TD
The Final Score:
Notre Dame 49 - Hawai'i 21
Coming into the 2008 Hawai'i Bowl, many Irish fans were disappointed in the team's 6-6 record, but coming off of the disastrous 3-9 2007 campaign, many were hopeful this bowl game would be a chance for the Irish to show they were truly on the way back with real improvement.
In addition to validating improvement within the team, the Irish program itself came into the game with 9 straight bowl losses. The last bowl win for the Irish came in the 1994 Cotton Bowl versus Texas A&M, and Weis & Co. were certainly looking to get that monkey off their back as well coming into this game against Hawai'i (who, incidentally were looking for their 4th straight Hawai'i Bowl win).
Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate were poised for a big game against a lackluster Hawai'i defense. Along with a month to prepare a decided schematical advantage, and Weis calling plays from the box; these factors added up to Clausen racking up 300 yards and 3 touchdowns before halftime. Clausen broke Brady Quinn's school record of 286 passing yards set in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl vs. Ohio State. In one half.
Golden Tate was a huge recipient of Clausen's big day, starting with a 69 yard bomb to put the Irish up 21-7 in the second quarter:
On this pass, Golden Tate went over 1000 yards on the 2008 season (as well as broke the souls of the Hawai'i DBs).
On the final play of the 2nd Quarter, Clausen found Tate tight-roping across the back of the end zone to put the Irish up 35-7 and put the game out of reach for the Warriors:
To add insult to injury for the Warriors, Clausen and Tate decided to go just totally ham, adding a 3rd TD to go up 42-7:
Clausen and Tate shared the MVP award (duh) for this Hawai'i bowl, and they gave Irish fans a little glimpse into the offensive explosiveness that we would get to see in 2009 - along with a little (false) hope that Weis had gotten things back on track following 2007.
#6 - Jimmy Clausen & Golden Tate vs. Hawai'i (Hawai'i Bowl, December 24th, 2008)