SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Sam Hartman threw three touchdown passes to move into seventh place on major college football's career list and No. 9 Notre Dame pulled away from Central Michigan in the second half for a 41-17 victory Saturday.
Notre Dame (4-0) now awaits a top-10 showdown with No. 6 Ohio State next Saturday.
Hartman now has 123 career touchdown passes. He passed Aaron Murray of Georgia and Ty Detmer of BYU and is tied with Oklahoma’s Landry Jones at No. 7 all-time.
Hartman finished with 330 yards passing and powered into the end zone from the 1 in the third quarter.
Audric Estime rushed for 176 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown for the Irish, who outscored Central Michigan 20-3 after leading 21-14 at halftime.
Blending a quick-strike aerial attack and a methodical ground game, Notre Dame outgained Central Michigan 578-268.
Hartman struck early, connecting with Tobias Merriweather for a 75-yard touchdown pass on Notre Dame’s fourth play of the game. He also fired a 76-yard TD pass to Chris Tyree in the second quarter and passed 4 yards to Holden Staes for a score in the fourth quarter.
Jase Bauer, starting at quarterback for Central Michigan (1-2) in place of Bert Emanuel, Jr. (illness), plunged into the end zone from the 1 with 17 seconds left in the second quarter to cap a nine-play, 83-yard drive that trimmed the Notre Dame lead to seven at halftime.
Central Michigan: Emanuel did not travel with the Chippewas to South Bend. He was the Mid-American Conference West Offensive Player of the Week last week after passing for 193 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-42 victory against New Hampshire on Sept. 9. Emanuel also rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Notre Dame: Chris Tyree’s move to wide receiver after three seasons as a running back continues to pay dividends. He has eight catches for 216 yards, averaging 27 per catch, and two touchdowns.
Hartman has 13 TD passes through the first four games. No other quarterback in Notre Dame’s storied history has thrown for that many touchdowns in the first four games of the season. Jimmy Clausen threw for 10 touchdown passes in his first four games of the 2009 season, and Brady Quinn threw for nine TDs in the first four games of the 2006 season. Hartman has thrown for 90 touchdown passes since 2021, the most of any Power Five quarterback. A Wake Forest graduate transfer, Hartman also extended this FBS-leading streak of games responsible for at least one touchdown to 38.
Notre Dame should maintain its top-10 status.
Central Michigan: at South Alabama next Saturday.
Notre Dame: Irish coach Marcus Freeman played linebacker for Ohio State (2004-2008) and was a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes in 2010. His first game as Irish coach was a 21-10 loss at Ohio State last year.