(Photo credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
Sam Hartman threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another to propel No. 9 Notre Dame to a 41-17 victory over visiting Central Michigan on Saturday in South Bend, Ind.
Hartman completed 16 of 26 passes for 330 yards and has now thrown for 13 TDs without a single interception through his first four games with the Fighting Irish (4-0). Hartman spent the past five seasons at Wake Forest.
Audric Estime rushed for a career-high 176 yards and a score on 20 carries for Notre Dame, which has opened the season with four consecutive wins for the third time in the last four years.
Two of Hartman's passing touchdowns came on deep balls, as he hit Tobias Merriweather for a 75-yard score just 4:08 into the game before connecting with Chris Tyree for a 76-yard strike early in the second quarter.
Holden Staes caught the other touchdown, a 4-yarder with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter.
Jase Bauer had 137 yards on 10-of-20 passing to go along with a rushing touchdown for the Chippewas (1-2), who have yet to beat an FBS opponent this season.
Myles Bailey had 12 rushes for 59 yards and a TD, and Jesse Prewitt III hauled in two catches for 59 yards for CMU.
After Merriweather found the end zone, the Chippewas responded with a six-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Bailey scoring on the ground from 6 yards out.
Estime rushed for a 17-yard TD to wrap up the Fighting Irish's ensuing drive, and Hartman made it 21-7 when he found Tyree streaking down the middle of the field with 14:17 left in the first half.
Notre Dame failed to extend its lead when Spencer Shrader came up short on a 59-yard field-goal attempt later in the quarter. Tristan Mattson missed a 36-yarder, but the Chippewas pulled within 21-14 just 17 seconds before the break when Bauer punched in a 1-yard TD.
Hartman matched that with a 1-yard score of his own to open the third quarter to put the Irish back up by 14.
Mattson made a 23-yard field goal with 1:59 left in the third, but Shrader hit from 50 and 31 yards ahead of Staes' score to put the game out of reach.
Notre Dame outgained the visitors 578-268.
--Field Level Media