SOUTH BEND—Robert Hughes scored on a 1-yard run in overtime and Notre Dame broke up a fourth-down pass near the end zone on the final play to help the Fighting Irish to a 37-30 victory Saturday.
Jake Locker threw a pass toward D'Andre Goodwin on fourth-and-19 on the game's final play, but safeties Harrison Smith and Kyle McCarthy sandwiched him and knocked the ball loose. It was the fourth straight game decided in the final minute for the Irish.
Jimmy Clausen floated a 12-yard pass into the end zone that Kyle Rudolph caught over cornerback Quinton Richardson with 80 seconds left and Hughes pushed a pile of defenders into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and a 30-27 lead.
Erik Folk kicked a 37-yard field goal with 6 seconds left to tie the game at 30 and force overtime. Notre Dame (4-1) improved to 8-0 against Washington (2-3).
It was the wildest finish yet in a season of them for the Irish.
Clausen was 23 of 31 passing for a career-high 422 yards, the fifth highest passing yardage in five seasons under coach Charlie Weis. He threw one interception. Golden Tate caught nine passes for a career-high 244 yards and a touchdown. He set up Hughes' TD run with a 22-yard catch on the first play in overtime.
Locker was 22 of 40 passing for 281 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown. Chris Polk ran for a career-high 136 yards.
Tate had a 67-yard touchdown reception, breaking three tackles on his way to the end zone. Tate had another 77-yard catch on the first play of the second half but, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant pushed Tate at the 10 and he went out at the 2-yard line. The Irish ended up settling for a field goal.
Nick Tausch tied a Notre Dame record with five field goals as Washington's defense repeatedly held the Irish out of the end zone. But the Irish defense came up with big plays when it had to, making a pair of goal-line stands in the second half.
The first was late in the third quarter when the Irish held the Huskies for no points on two plays from the 1-yard line on a pair of keepers by Locker. Locker gained a half yard on the first play, but was stopped by Brian Smith and McCarthy. He lost a half yard on the second play as he was stopped by Kerry Neal and Harrison Smith.
Polk appeared to give the Huskies a 30-22 lead with a 6-yard TD run with 7:07 left, but after a review he was ruled down on the half-yard line. The Huskies couldn't advance the ball on three tries, but got a fresh set of downs when Notre Dame nose tackle Ian Williams was called for roughing the snapper on the field goal attempt.
But the Huskies couldn't get it in on the next three plays either, with Locker being stuffed for no gain from the 1. Folk kicked a 24-yard field goal to cap the 19-play drive that ate up 9 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.