Notre Dame's victory marked its first in the postseason since the Irish defeated Texas A&M in the 1994 Cotton Bowl Classic to end the 1993 season, and ended a NCAA record 9-game bowl game losing streak.. Notre Dame quarterbackJimmy Clausen broke school bowl game records after passing for 401 yards and five touchdowns, and his 84.6% completion rate was the second-best completion percentage for any player in any bowl game in NCAA history.Wide receiverGolden Tate also set Irish bowl records upon catching for 177 yards and three touchdowns.
The game set the record for the Hawaiʻi Bowl's largest attendance, in both tickets sold and turnstile count, breaking the previous record set at the 2006 edition.
The Irish scored first on a Robert Hughes 2-yard touchdown run, capping a 9 play 87-yard drive. After the Irish defense forced a Hawaiʻi 3-and-out, Irish safety Sergio Brown blocked a Hawaiʻi punt. Notre Dame could not capitalize on the block, in part due to an excessive celebration penalty incurred by Notre Dame after the play that pushed them out of field goal range. After forcing another Hawaiʻi 3-and-out, Clausen connected with senior wide receiver David Grimes for a 14-yard touchdown. The Warriors answered right back, however, driving 56 yards in 6 plays and scoring on a 10-yard Aaron Bain touchdown from Hawaiʻi quarterback Greg Alexander.
With the score at 14-7, Notre Dame proceeded to score 28 unanswered points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. In the 2nd quarter, Clausen connected with Golden Tate on 69-yard play action pass for a touchdown. After senior safety David Bruton intercepted Greg Alexander, Clausen again connected with Tate for an 18-yard touchdown in the corner of the endzone on a 3rd down and 18 play with :01 second left before the half. In the third quarter, Notre Dame continued to score, on Clausen touchdowns to running back Armando Allen on an 18-yard screen play and to Golden Tate on a 40-yard deep out pass. With the score at 42-7, Hawaiʻi finally scored on another Alexander to Bain touchdown of 18 yards. On the ensuing kickoff, Armando Allen put any Hawaiʻi rally to rest, scoring on a 96-yard touchdown return. Hawaiʻi scored the final touchdown of the game with 2 minutes remaining against Notre Dame reserves.