2001 Fiesta Bowl
Offensive Player of the Game: Jonathan Smith, Oregon State
Defensive Player of the Game: Darnell Robinson, Oregon State
Sportsmanship Award: Julius Jones, Notre Dame
Head Coaches: Dennis Erickson, Oregon State - Bob Davie, Notre Dame
Weather: Clear, warm
Payout Per Team: $10,000,000
Oregon State put a serious exclamation point on its sudden emergence on the national college football scene.
The Beavers took control in the third quarter to post a convincing 41-9 victory over Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl in front of 75,428, the third largest crowd in Fiesta Bowl history and the largest for a non-national championship game.
Oregon State finished the season with an 11-1 record and ranked fourth in the final Associated Press poll, both marks being the best in school history. The win was the first bowl victory for the Beavers in 39 years and arguably their biggest win of all time.
The Fighting Irish, who entered the game on a seven-game winning streak, were never able to get their offense going. They finished with 17 yards rushing and three turnovers, after setting a NCAA record with only eight turnovers during the regular season.
After jumping out to a 12-3 halftime lead, the Beavers exploded in the third quarter, scoring four touchdowns in just over seven minutes. Quarterback Jonathan Smith, who was named the offensive player of the game, connected with T.J. Houshmandzadeh on a 23-yard touchdown to begin the onslaught.
Notre Dame was unable to move the football on its next possession and was forced to punt. Houshmandzadeh had a good return but fumbled when he was hit from behind, but OSU’s Terrell Roberts picked up the ball and went 45 yards for a touchdown. The Beavers added a 4-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Chad Johnson and a 4-yard run by Ken Simonton to put the game out of reach.
The Oregon State defense used its quickness to harass freshman quarterback Matt LoVecchio throughout the game and throttle the Irish running attack. The Beavers finished with five sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a Fiesta Bowl record 15 tackles for loss.
Smith and Johnson hooked up for a 74-yard touchdown pass and Ryan Cesca nailed two field goals to account for the Beavers scoring in the first half. Notre Dame scored its lone touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Tony Fisher.