SOUTH BEND, Ind. (BVM) – It’s been a tough start to the season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they opened the 2022 campaign with a 21-10 loss at No. 2 Ohio State, followed by a shocking defeat at the hands of unranked Marshall this past Saturday in South Bend.
On Monday, news got even worse for the Irish as it was revealed that starting quarterback Tyler Buchner will be sidelined for four months with a Grade 5 AC sprain in his non-throwing shoulder, meaning he will likely miss the remainder of the 2022 season. As a result, Notre Dame will now turn to sophomore quarterback Drew Pyne, with freshman Steve Angeli moving into the backup role.
Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman has announced that Tyler Buchner will likely be out for the rest of the season with a high-grade AC sprain, per multiple sources
Drew Pyne will start in Week 3 vs Cal pic.twitter.com/I8oj8u48q9
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 12, 2022
“Drew Pyne will be our starter,” Freeman said in a press conference on Monday. “As I said when we addressed the quarterback position in fall camp, I have the utmost confidence in both of those guys being able to lead our offense and lead this football team, so we are still very positive and optimistic about our future moving forward … I’m excited for his opportunity and what he’s going to bring to our football team.”
Pyne came in following Buchner’s departure towards the end of the Marshall game, and did lead a scoring drive capped with a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Mayer. Overall, Pyne went 3-for-6 with 20 yards, the score and an interception.
Now, the young quarterback is set to take over full time, but what can Irish fans expect from their new signal-caller?
Pyne was a star at New Canaan High School in Connecticut where he was a two-time state champion and set program records for passing yards and touchdowns. In his final high school season in 2019, Pyne threw for 2,107 yards and 24 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. He also ran for 259 yards and an additional eight scores.
The four-star quarterback made the transition to Notre Dame in 2020 where he saw the field very sparingly with Ian Book at the helm, though Pyne did complete a pass in the Fighting Irish’s College Football Playoff contest against Alabama.
In 2021, it was more of the same for Pyne who played in just two games. One was in relief of a banged up Jack Coan early in the season against Wisconsin where Pyne had a strong showing, going 6-for-8 for 81 yards and a touchdown.
The other came the following week as Pyne went 9-for-22 for 143 yards and a score in Notre Dame’s home loss to Cincinnati. Of course, it had been Buchner mixing in more frequently under center last year, mainly due to his rushing ability.
With Pyne in the lineup, Notre Dame will lose some of dual-threat ability that Buchner gave its offense. Pyne profiles as more of a pocket passer, but has shown solid accuracy and throwing-ability throughout his football career. He is still mobile, however, and Freeman does not see the offense changing much with Pyne in the lineup.
“I don’t see the offense changing extreme amounts,” Freeman said. “We’re still going to be able to do some of the QB runs we did with Tyler. Obviously, the passing game, we’ll continue to enhance it and figure out ways to be more consistent in it.”
Buchner’s season likely ends with 378 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, also adding 62 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. It’s the latest injury to hit a Notre Dame offense that also saw veteran receiver Avery Davis tear his ACL prior to the season.
Despite the injuries and an 0-2 start to the year, Notre Dame still has time to turn its season around. A matchup with Cal awaits on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT, while a road contest at North Carolina follows. Matchups against ranked opponents in BYU, Clemson and USC also await on the rest of the 2022 schedule.
There is no doubt that Pyne will be tested early and often as he takes over the starting role. However, he has proved capable in limited action in the past, and now will have his chance to prove his talent and leadership in South Bend.
“You’re thrust into a leadership position when you’re a quarterback, you want people to be able to follow you,” Freeman said on Monday. “He’s a natural leader, has a lot of the natural QB traits that you’re looking for.”