SAN ANTONIO — DeShone Kizer threw for three touchdowns, C.J. Sanders returned the opening kickoff for a score, and Notre Dame beat Army 44-6 on Saturday.
Kizer was 17 for 28 for 209 yards with an interception and had 72 yards on seven carries. The junior was replaced by Malik Zaire for the fourth quarter.
"He is maturing as a quarterback," coach Brian Kelly said. "I liked his leadership today. I like his leadership all week. He was holding players to a higher standard. I liked his toughness."
Kell Walker had a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for Army's only score. Ahmad Bradshaw, Army's starting quarterback, was sidelined by a knee injury.
The Black Knights (5-5) began the day ranked in the top 25 nationally in several defensive categories, but the Irish (4-6) were in complete control right from the start.
Sanders returned the opening kickoff 92 yards, and Kizer tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to freshman Kevin Stepherson with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. Josh Adams had a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:44 remaining, and the rout was on.
Notre Dame finished with 261 yards rushing. Tarean Folston had 84 yards on 13 carries, and Adams finished with 15 carries for 70 yards.
The Irish led 38-6 at halftime. Tight end Durham Smythe had second-quarter touchdown receptions of 10 and 31 yards.
"I really don't know what to say after a tail whipping like that," Army coach Jeff Monken said. "We couldn't stop the ball and couldn't run the ball effectively enough to keep drives going. Credit Notre Dame. They played like a championship team."
THE TAKEAWAYArmy: The Black Knights have only two winning seasons since the mid-1990s — 10-2 in 1996 and 7-6 in 2010. After beginning this year with three straight wins, Army is in jeopardy of falling short of a winning season again. The Black Knights have games left against Morgan State and Navy, which beat Notre Dame last week.
Notre Dame: By improving to 4-6, the Irish stayed in the running for bowl eligibility. They have won 15 straight against Army.
UP NEXTArmy: The Black Knights host Morgan State. They have met once before, with Army winning 28-12 in 2013.
Notre Dame: The Irish host Virginia Tech on Saturday in the first-ever meeting between the schools.