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QB Tyler Buchner Enters the Portal

By: Ruben Kelly Ysasi | Writer | Social Media


Tyler Buchner intends to enter  the Transfer Portal, per Pete Thamel. Buchner, after a lackluster performance in the Notre Dame spring game, made the decision to leave the program. He stated, however, that Notre Dame is open to allowing him to return to the team provided the options aren’t to Buchner’s liking.

Photo by Princeton Daily Clarion


Buchner’s career at Notre Dame was highlighted through position battles and injury. As a true freshman, he fought Drew Pyne and Jack Coan for the starting job. While Coan won the job of starting quarterback, Buchner still got playing time as a Run-Option QB. After Marcus Freeman was named Head Coach of the Irish, he battled Drew Pyne for the starting job his sophomore year. His first start as a college quarterback, also his first start since his junior season of High School due to COVID, was in one of the most hostile environments in College Football. Ohio State was the preseason No. 2, and had one of the most lethal offenses in football. Despite that, Notre Dame shocked the world by competing throughout the game with them. In a game where defense was the focus, offensive struggles ended up highlighting the game. Notre Dame only put together 2 drives where they were able to score some points, but only one resulted in a touchdown. A scoreless second half allowed Ohio State to prevail in the end, but it seemed as if Notre Dame had a lot to be excited about. The next game is where it took a turn for the worst.


Marshall was by all means considered a tune up game, with Notre Dame ahead of them in almost every category. Notre Dame was held to a single touchdown in the first half, 3 points less than what they put up against a playoff favorite. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter where the offense finally out it together, but it ended with a Buchner pick 6 that would haunt the program for the rest of the season. In one play, the career of Tyler Buchner and the fate of the 2022 Notre Dame football team was changed. A path to the playoffs was still an option until they lost their starting quarterback and their hopes for the season in a single play. Drew Pyne came in to replace him, but was unable to score their needed points before time expired. The rest of the season, minus Clemson and Boston College, were filled with “what ifs” as the fanbase looked back on that play.

 

Despite a Grade 2 shoulder sprain, Buchner worked through his rehab the rest of the season to prepare for a Bowl Game that seemed out of reach for a time. Had it not been for the performance against Clemson, the Irish would’ve been stuck playing a mid-tier Power 5 team that was nothing less than a fall from grace. It wasn’t until November that Buchner was finally cleared for full practice, and it was just in time. Notre Dame was scheduled to play South Carolina in the Gator Bowl on December 30th.


After hearing the news of Buchner being cleared and Notre Dame would consider seeking a transfer portal quarterback in the spring, Drew Pyne made the decision to enter the portal. The path was clear for Buchner to start in the Gator Bowl, but it did not convince captains Isaiah Foskey and Michael Mayer to stay for the game. The first quarter opened up with South Carolina coming out with a bang. The first drive resulted in a South Carolina touchdown and Notre Dame ending with a 3 and out. Buy the defense made sure to keep ND in the game by recovering a much needed fumble. Buchner converted a 3rd and long by scoring a red zone rushing TD to even the score. South Carolina then scored off of a fake punt and as Notre Dame looked to match that, the Gamecocks converted a Buchner Pick 6 to expand the lead to 14 points. The gamecock defense then held the Irish to a field goal, erasing a Buchner rushing play. South Carolina then matched it with their own field goal, keeping a score of 24-10. Logan Diggs ended the next drive with a short pass play that ended up going for a 75 yard touchdown. Benjamin Morrison shut down any gamecock hopes of extending the lead with an interception at the end of the first half. Buchner then ran for yet another rushing touchdown to tie the game in the 3rd quarter.


South Carolina was not to be outdone by having a “Catch of the Year” worthy touchdown pass the following drive. Notre Dame ended the 3rd quarter with a Brayden Lenzy touchdown pass. With the game tied and South Carolina forcing yet another 3 and out, Brian Mason called a risky fake Punt that would put the lead within reach. Logan Diggs scored yet another touchdown, finally giving the Irish their first lead of the game. The defense, not to be outdone, forced South Carolina to punt the very next drive.


Just as the Irish were about to put the game under locks, Buchner threw a 100 yard Pick 6 at he goal line. The offense was able to drive down the field a final time and score the game winning touchdown, with the defense being able to force South Carolina into submission. The highlight of the game was Buchner’s comeback story and what was considered a “Gator Bowl Classic.” Both the University and fans looked towards next season for hopes on making the College Football playoff with Buchner at the helm.

 

Interestingly enough, Buchner’s problems were not over. It was reported during Bowl season that Sam Hartman would consider transferring to a new school to increase his draft stock. That school ended up being Notre Dame. On January 5th, the rumors were confirmed. Hartman officially committed to the Irish for his final season as a collegiate player.


The following months were both Buchner and Hartman working in the weight room to perfect their skills before practices started. As the team returned to pads and helmets, it was noted by several members of the media that Buchner was outperforming Hartman. The concerns were written off as Hartman being new to the team and still learning the playbook, but the rumors still persisted.


Once the Blue and Gold rosters were announced, it appeared as if the Blue team had been set up to dominate the Gold team, boasting players like Buchner, Fisher, Colzie, Merriwether, Tyree, and a highly experienced defense. On game day, however, the opposite happened. The Gold offense came out with 3 drives that all resulted in touchdowns, with Hartman rushing for one and passing for two. Despite the talent difference, the Gold team did outweigh the Blue with their offensive line. Good protection with Alt, Correll, Spindler, and Schrauth. Good protection combined with sophomore RB Gi’Bran Payne, true freshman Jaden Greathouse, and junior Jayden Thomas allowed the Golf offense to dominate the game. Hartman went 13/16 with 189 yards before being pulled in the late 3rd quarter. Buchner went 8/18 for 44 yards and 1 interception. After the game, it was clear to everyone, including Buchner, that Hartman would be named the starter. Nevertheless, Freeman insisted the QB battle would continue until the fall.


Finally on April 25th, Buchner announced his intentions to enter the portal. The reasoning was clear to every Irish fan: Hartman is Heisman potential. Some options for Buchner include Alabama(to rejoin Tommy Rees), TCU, and Stanford. Wherever Buchner ends up going, even if it is to return to Notre Dame, that team will be gaining a star of a Quarterback.

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