After the last six weeks, No. 25 Notre Dame may have earned a little getaway to Texas.

And woeful Washington State is a longshot to spoil it.

Notre Dame booked the Alamodome for Saturday night to recapture their barnstorming roots, but after six consecutive weeks of going down to the wire, the bigger upside for the Fighting Irish (5-2) may be an at-long-last breather against the Cougars.

All signs point to a Notre Dame cakewalk. The 28½-point line. A crowd of about 60,000 that will overwhelmingly be uprooted Irish fans in Texas savoring a rare visit. Washington State (1-6) scraping the statistical bottom in total offense and defense.

This one will be a breeze, right?

"We kind of look at the facts here. We haven't really shown any evidence of being able to steamroll anybody," Notre Dame center Eric Olsen said. "All our games, no matter who we've played, have kind of gone down to the last minute whether we won or lost.

"So judging by that, I guess it would be kind of tough not to expect this game to go into the last minutes."

If Olsen is right and the Cougars give Notre Dame another spectacular finish, it will be a school record: No team in the 119-year history of Notre Dame has ever played seven consecutive games decided by a touchdown or less.

Saturdays for the Irish have been alternating weeks of agony and euphoria. Notre Dame manhandled Nevada 35-0 in the opener, but in the six games since, four came down to four points or fewer for the Irish.

They lost to Michigan on a touchdown with 11 seconds left, thwarted Michigan State in the final minute, sunk Purdue on a touchdown with 24 seconds remaining, outlasted Washington in overtime, lost to USC after three incomplete passes in the end zone, and survived Boston College thanks to a late interception.

"It's one of those situations where we're going have to go down there and be ready to go or else we're going find ourselves in the same game that we've been playing in for the last month and a half," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said.

The Cougars, meanwhile, can't exactly relate to close games: their average margin of defeat is 26 points.

Any mystery of whether Washington State can hang with Notre Dame will likely be solved early, since the Cougars have been outscored 112-3 in the first quarter this season.

His team unlikely bowl-bound, Washington State coach Paul Wulff wants his players to soak up what might be the closest thing to a bowl atmosphere the Cougars will get this season: a neutral site in a warm locale, and nationally televised in prime time.

"There is a bowl feel to it for some people," Wulff said. "There is a great opportunity for our players to feel this."

Notre Dame says the university has more than 4,600 alumni in Texas, where the Irish haven't played since losing 24-3 to Texas A&M in 2003.

The game is Notre Dame's first offsite home game in school history and the start of the school's plan to play a home game at neutral sites in Texas, Florida or New York each year. The Irish are already scheduled to be back in the Lone Star State in 2013 to play Arizona State at Cowboys Stadium.

Recruiting is among the main reasons for the trips. Notre Dame has just four players on its roster from talent-rich Texas, including left guard Chris Stewart from suburban Houston. Stewart said he has 20 tickets to the game for family and friends but was looking for more.

"It is kind of strange to think we're going to be playing in Texas wearing home jerseys," Stewart said, "but from what I hear the stadium is mostly Notre Dame fans."