Rees, who lost his starting signal-caller role last year to the now-suspended Everett Golson, racked up a career-best 346 yards on 16-of-23 efficiency, including two 32-yard scoring passes to DaVarris Daniels.
T.J. Jones made six grabs for 138 yards as Notre Dame (1-0) earned a 200th career victory for Coach Brian Kelly.
The Owls (0-1) got a 228-yard passing performance from Connor Reilly, but yielded 532 total yards in their first game for their new head coach, Matt Rhule.
Jordana Brewster on Paul Walker: 'He was an enormous presence in my life'
Gal Gadot cast as Wonder Woman for 'Batman vs. Superman'