Notre Dame plans to start QB Tyler Buchner in Gator Bowl

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All reports of Notre Dame Gator Bowl preparations on campus indicated sophomores Tyler Buchner was in line to return to the starting lineup for Friday’s game.

When the team arrived Monday in Jacksonville, Florida, coach Marcus Freeman confirmed that will be the plan for the Irish (8-4).

“As we get here and approach game time, on the depth chart, Tyler will be with those and Steve Angeli will be with both Ron Powlus (III) with the three,” Freeman told reporters Monday ahead of the team’s first practice.

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Due to nationwide travel delays, not all No. 21 Notre Dame, who were allowed to travel home for Christmas weekend, arrived in Jacksonville in time for Monday afternoon practice, but Buchner was there to greet first-team representatives. 🇧🇷 Both Buchner and rookie Angeli were doing first-team reprises a few times earlier this month.

Buchner, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, missed Notre Dame’s final 10 regular season games with a left shoulder injury that required surgery. Buchner was injured against Marshall in their second straight loss to start the season. Buchner was Notre Dame’s leading pitcher and passer in their first two losses of the season at Ohio State, 21-10, and at home to Marshall, 26-21.

Buchner completed 28 of his 50 passes (56%) for 378 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in his first two career games. He also rushed 24 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

Buchner’s return to training was so successful that the offensive coordinator tommy rees said the December 4 Notre Dame workout was one of Buchner’s strongest workouts in his two years with the program.

“He’s been great,” Freeman said of Buchner on Monday. “He is making progress after not playing football for so many weeks. Every day he gets better and better at his decision making – just going back out there and having live replays.

“Obviously he’s not getting hit. He’s in the red (shirt). Our quarterbacks are all in the red. Having him out there getting replays live has been really nice.”

Junior Drew Pyne started the last 10 games for Notre Dame, but opted to enter the transfer portal after being told by the coaching staff that he would be looking to bring a transfer quarterback into the program to challenge for the starting job next season. Pyne has since signed with Arizona State.

The 6-2, 211-pound Angeli played seven snaps in two games: UNLV and Syracuse. All seven plays were played by someone other than Angeli.

Angeli signed with Notre Dame as a three-star recruit from Oradell (NJ) Bergen Catholic. Rivals excluded him from their ranking of the top 30 professional quarterbacks in the class of 2022. He was ranked the 14th best prospect in New Jersey in his class.

The No. 19 South Carolina (8-4) arrived in Jacksonville on Sunday ahead of his first practice on Monday morning. The two teams will face off on Friday at TIAA Bank Field at 3:30 pm EST (ESPN).

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