Gator Bowl is a 2nd Chance for Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner

On Friday, we learned that Notre Dame’s starting quarterback for the last ten games of the 2022 season, Drew Pyne, would be entering the transfer portal. On Sunday, we learned that Notre Dame would face South Carolina in the Gator Bowl. We have not yet learned who will start at quarterback for the Irish in Jacksonville, but all signs seem to point to sophomore Tyler Buchner, who has been sidelined since the September loss to Marshall. If Bucher does get the start, it’ll offer him a chance at redemption after a rough start to the season.

“He is full go,” Marcus Freeman said on Sunday. “He has practiced the past two days in practice.”

The beginning of Tyler Buchner’s reign as QB1 for Notre Dame did not go how anyone had hoped it would. After a respectable performance against Ohio State, completing 10 of 17 passes for 177 yards without a touchdown or interception; Buchner’s second start was about as disastrous as it could have been.

Buchner completed 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, including the game sealing pick-6 for Marshall as Notre Dame lost as a three-touchdown favorite. Then, to add injury to insult, Buchner suffered a shoulder injury that cost him the rest of the regular season in defeat. Then, another significant injury shut him down less than two games into his tenure as the starting quarterback at Notre Dame. Before the injury, Buchner was running for his life behind an offensive line that hadn’t found its footing yet and wasn’t looking like the future for Notre Dame.

The good news for Buchner is that he should get a second chance in the Gator Bowl. Even before the news of Drew Pyne transferring, Marcus Freeman had let the door open for a Buchner return in the bowl game. Based on Freeman stating that Buchner is full-go and practicing, it’s hard to imagine the staff going to freshman Steve Angeli or sophomore Ronnie Powlus. For a team looking to reshape its quarterback room, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Buchner will get a month of bowl prep to make up for lost time and then get a chance to remind the staff and show Notre Dame fans why he won the job in the first place. While the Marshall game went about as bad as it could have for Buchner, the offensive line was a turnstile that afternoon. Buchner rarely had a chance to get comfortable in the pocket and go through his reads. However, after that game, the offensive line came into its own and played much, much better. Whether or not the entire line is available for the bowl game – we’re still waiting to learn who will or won’t opt out – the line he plays behind at the end of the month should be a lot better than the one he played behind in September.

Everyone knows Buchner can run the ball – we already saw that last year. However, no one knows for sure whether Buchner can sling it in a game well enough to still be the future of the position for Notre Dame. The Irish staff has made it clear that they will be bringing in a transfer. Freeman admitted that on Sunday.

“I always want to be upfront and honest, and I was with Drew and told him that we would possibly look at taking a transfer quarterback,” Freeman said on Sunday.

For Buchner to be the QB1 for Notre Dame again in 2023, he will have to earn it again. The Gator Bowl gives him a huge leg up on whoever that transfer is. Whether or not he takes advantage of that opportunity will be up to him, but the opportunity will be there for the taking. A lot of fans have been quick to write off Buchner completely, but there was a reason he was a top-100 recruit out of high school. There was a reason he won the summer quarterback competition over Pyne. We’ve yet to fully see proof to back up either that recruiting ranking or the staff’s decision to hand him the ball to start the season, but the sample size is also very small.

Buchner’s performance on the road in Columbus also shouldn’t be discounted entirely just because the follow-up a week later was as bad as it was. After Notre Dame’s narrow loss to the Buckeyes, Freeman liked what he saw from Buchner. “I mean, we got ourselves a quarterback,” he said after the loss.

“I was pleased, for a second-year guy in his first collegiate start in that type of environment and in that type of game, I was really pleased,” Freeman said.

The wide receiver situation that Buchner found when he returned to practice was quite a bit different than the one he played with in September as well. Jayden Thomas hadn’t yet made a mark at that point in the season. Deion Colzie was still coming back from injury. Freshman Tobias Merriweather was still adjusting to college football. Since then, Thomas became a steady target, Colzie emerged at the end of the season, and Merriweather flashed before missing the season’s final two games with a concussion.

Will playing behind a better offensive line and having more established receivers to throw to alone make Buchner better than what we saw against Marshall? No, but he will have a chance to show that he’s a lot better than the quarterback that we saw struggle that afternoon.

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  1. Buchner is all we have at this time so let’s just hope for the best. Let’s pray for a successful transfer portal season.

  2. 1. PYNE did not “fail” anyone. He took over a two loss team with a poorly performing offensive line and some questionable receivers and went 8-2 with a win over both teams in the ACC Championship game.

    2.As for Angelli, you’ll be seeing him soon after Buchner gets hurt, which happens a lot with quarterbacks nowadays. A five star QB isn’t always enough. You need a good, solid backup for that game or two your starter misses…from Coley O’Brian replacing Terry Hanratty right up to Ian Book replacing Wimbush for a game, followed by Wimbush replacing Book when Book was injured a couple years later.
    All three posted wins. PYNE was such a backup…practiced hard, and was ready to go when he got the call, as was Tommy Rees who showed up when Golson pooped on us.
    You all seem totally convinced that we have a great starter now, some saying Buchner; others Angeli. I hope so, but I’m not even sure we have an adequate backup on this team, based on having seen Buchner, and never having seen Angeli.

    BGC 77 82

    1. After reading your post, I’ve really seen the light.

      Pyne not being on the ballot in New York is a travesty.
      It must be the ineffectiveness of ND’s backroom lobbying for him that has left him so disillusioned with the program as to leave.

      Heads should roll over losing him. ND will never see his like again.

  3. And as always, Rhonda eventually appeared. She posts her petty, chidlish attack….never including word one about college football.
    And after she flings her excrement, she runs back to the chimp cave.

    But we finally got a glimpse of her this time….he post was more earnest, strangely harsh even by her standards… be just glib insults made up on the fly.
    It was most likey a confused cry for help, the projection of real feelings….just like her political hero does ad nauseum.

    If you do decide to pray for the lonely, abandoned, broken troll Rhonda, keep it brief.
    He has BILLIONS of more worthwhile cases to work on.

  4. Pyne much like Book was never supposed to see the field while at Notre Dame. Buchner easily beat Pyne out in the Spring. Injury derailed his season allowing Pyne to step in. IMO Buchner shouldnt lose his starting job to Pyne due to injury. Pyne is no Tom Brady. Buchner would beat Pyne out again and probably already has in practice over the last month. Rumor has it Pyne is set to graduate so transferring to a place where he can step in and start would be smart. Cal Poly and UC Davis are looking for QBs haha.

    1. There are SO many experienced QBs playing the musical chairs game right now…
      Good for those with an empty chair to offer.
      Not so good if you’re just one of the mob looking to sit down.

    2. Jeff, it’s true of PYNE that he was never expected to start for 10 games. In 2015, Kizer was nor expected to see the field. It happens a lot. You often need a guy like that. That was Rees and Book. All took over for a guy with a higher ceiling who couldn’t play…academically ineligible, injured, unable to run the offense smoothly, or whatever.
      Always need that guy.

      PS: I’m happy with the Gator Bowl, and with our opponent, already proven to be a good, solid team. Our 1976 appearance in the Gator Bowl, my senior year, was big win for Dan Devine against Penn State.

      PPS: I f you knew “my dear old dad” you know this is a great year for him in football (God rest his soul). His almamater wS Illinois, his first job, teaching freshman calculus was at TENNESSEE, and his career as a professor was at ND. It’s rare fir all three to be Bowl bound.

      BGC 77 82

  5. It has been over a year since Brian Kelly left for LSU, yet some on here continue to post incessantly about him. I suggest we pray for them. Their wives have left them, friends shunned them, and they have nothing to live for. I call on all our brothers and sisters to pray for these lost souls. May god bless them as he has blessed the greatest country on earth.

    1. While you post what of any value Ronda ? You pompous, smug arsehole.
      You got enough self improvement shit to work on…..
      Critiques and advice? From a trolling putz like you ??
      Bitch, please.

  6. Just watched “Coach Prime’s” first chat with his new team.
    He told them the majority would be outright dropped, driven off or forced to quit. He intends to keep nothing, and most likely no one, from the existing program staff. Outright dismissed it all.
    All punctuated with his preacher chant of “I’m comin’!”

    Makes the 2004 Weis intro look shockingly humble.
    This was more Trump’s 2015 “drug dealers, criminals and rapits” speech by the escalator.

    College football is in the express lane to ruin, with the pedal floored.
    Now as much the anything-goes, money-fixated gong show as the NFL….but with kids.

    “Are you not entertained !?! “

    1. Nothing has changed about college football. It’s just that now all the greed and money is right up front and visible instead of taking place behind closed doors.

      It’s transparency, and I wish we had a coach as confident, motivated, and wish as proven a track record as Coach Prime.

      Don’t be afraid of change, David. Almost every change made to college football in the past 30 years has been good for the sport. It’s growing, it’s improving, and it’s better for everyone

      1. So. Don’t be afraid of change…but woe is us that Kelly left.
        You inconsistent, dimwitted tool.

        And it’s no wonder you miss Kelly over Freeman.
        You obviously prefer the blowhard, self-promoting, huckster type.

  7. College football should go one step further….an “express portal”.
    So that kids could transfer anytime, and effective immediately.

    Teams could go into halftime with one QB, and come out with a new guy. Possibly playing against the same kid who just left!
    A brave new world…..where Alma doesn’t Mater.

  8. Well, here’s the flip-side of that:

    With his commitment to sticking with Pyne all season, Freeman CANNOT be criticised or second-guessed for not having provided Pyne every opportunity a QB could ever ask for to become ND’s QB1.
    Just a stone cold fact.

    And unlike Jurkovec, who felt he deserved the job, Pyne is leaving because he had his shot and flat out failed.
    Jurkovec made a lot of cryptic insinuations about ND after he left. The cost of that kind of bad PR on recruiting is very real.

  9. Frank, after Buckner went down, have you ever questioned Freeman on his lack of use of Angeli? For the season I remember Angeli in two plays, one a hand off the other #88 took a snap under center for GL plunge.

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