For Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish…and boy, did he finish.
Buchner rallied the Fighting Irish to a 45-38 victory over South Carolina to cap quite a year for the first-year starting quarterback, reports ESPN.
It was his first game back as quarterback since injuring his shoulder in game two of the season. The decision came after Drew Pyne announced at the end of the regular season that he would transfer to Arizona State.
Just as with the season, this game didn’t start well for Buchner. He threw an interception that lead to a touchdown return in the first quarter. It was one of three interceptions he would throw, including a second touchdown return in the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame trailed 21-7 at the end of the first quarter and things looked bleak for Notre Dame. Buchner showed resilience throwing for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two TDs and totaled 61 yards on the ground.
The big play came in the fourth quarter when he threw a 16 yard TD strike to tight end Mitchell Evans with 1:38 remaining in the game to take the lead for good.
Buchner credited his teammates for helping him bounce back.
“Every single person on the sideline supporting me, there for me, and that kind of support goes a long way in a 20-year old’s head. Throws two picks for a touchdown, it wasn’t that fun, but when you have such a great group of guys around you, such a great support staff around you, it makes things a lot easier,” he said according to 24/7 Sports.
About his winning TD, he gave props to offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
“It was a perfect — it was a great call by coach (Tommy) Rees. I know someone talked about it earlier how J.T. (Jayden Thomas) was open. The thought on that was it’s kind of a shot or nothing, so Mitch (Evans) was covered, throw out of bounds, and if not, give him a chance and try to score a touchdown.”
Buchner took home Most Valuable Player honors, the Athletic reported. None of that would have been possible without a strong running game bolstered by a good offensive line.
“The big guys played their tails off, and it’s great standing there in the huddle, Logan talked about it, they’re strapping their gloves, they’re ready to go. Having that look in their eyes gives you more confidence as a quarterback that we’re going to be able to run this ball.”
Buchner grew up in Evanston, Illinois and attended high school in the San Diego area. His mother is Asian and his father is White.
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