Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner will likely miss the rest of the season.
Irish head coach Marcus Freeman announced Monday that Buchner suffered a significant sprain to the AC joint of his left shoulder in Saturday’s ugly home loss to Marshall. The injury will require surgery and Buchner’s recovery timetable is around four months, Freeman told reporters.
Buchner landed hard on the shoulder late in the fourth quarter and was unable to return. With Buchner out, the Irish turned to Drew Pyne. Pyne, who will take over as the starter, completed 3-of-6 passes for 20 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception. Buchner struggled in the loss too. He was 18-of-32 for 201 yards and two INTs, including a back-breaking pick-six with 4:35 to play.
Buchner saw time as a true freshman last year, but mainly as a runner to complement starter Jack Coan. Entering 2022, Buchner beat out Pyne for the starting job entering Freeman’s first season as head coach. Buchner threw for 177 yards in the season-opening loss at Ohio State and completed only 56% of his passes through two games.
Buchner hasn’t gotten much help from his supporting cast. Notre Dame running backs are averaging just 2.9 yards per rush behind an offensive line that was supposed to be a major strength but has underwhelmed thus far. Additionally, the Irish seem to have only two reliable pass-catchers — tight end Michael Mayer and receiver Lorenzo Styles. Those two have combined for 21 catches for 258 yards. The rest of the team has 10 catches for 140 yards.
With Cal visiting South Bend next weekend, the Irish will turn to Pyne, who is in his third season with the program. Like Buchner, the 5-foot-11 Pyne is mobile but has often thrown balls into traffic whenever he’s seen playing time. For his career, Pyne has completed 20 of 39 passes for 256 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Behind Pyne on the depth chart is true freshman Steve Angeli, a three-star recruit from New Jersey.
After the Cal game, Notre Dame goes to North Carolina and then faces No. 12 BYU in Las Vegas.
The Freeman era in South Bend is off to a rocky start.