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Observer Staff Report | Saturday, October 16, 2010

It took 12 seconds for Notre Dame to establish the tone of its 44-20 win over Western Michigan Saturday.

In the first play of the game, junior quarterback Dayne Crist lobbed a pass to junior receiver Michael Floyd, who evaded a tackle and turned the play into an 80-yard touchdown.

It was the first of three touchdowns between Crist and Floyd, who finished the game with 157 yards on nine receptions. Crist, who gave way to backup Nate Montana midway through the fourth quarter, was 18-for-28 for 255 yards.

The win gives Notre Dame (4-3) a winning record after a disappointing start.

It was “absolutely progress,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “This team was 1-3. You can go in one of two directions at 1-3. You can fall off the cliff, or you can work towards 9-3.”

The Broncos fought back and tied the game at seven at the end of the first quarter. After Floyd’s second touchdown and a touchdown reception by sophomore tight end Tyler Eifert, the score was 20-10 in favor of Notre Dame at halftime.

However, Kelly said, the team wasn’t playing how he wanted them to — so he “had a little chat” with them at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Irish put the game away with a 39-yard touchdown run by sophomore Cierre Wood and Floyd’s third touchdown, a two-yard pass from Crist.

“They get 14 points and all of a sudden it’s kind of over,” Broncos coach Bill Cubit said.

The teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter. Senior kicker David Ruffer connected on a 33-yard field goal for his 17th straight made field goal, the longest such streak in the country.