Tyler Buchner replaces Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan and flips first half momentum

Tyler James
ND Insider
Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner (12) at quarterback during the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Blacksburg, Va.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Has the Tyler Buchner era begun for Notre Dame football? 

The freshman quarterback entered Saturday night’s game at Virginia Tech (3-1) after three drives by starting quarterback Jack Coan ended with three punts. 

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Buchner flipped a 10-0 deficit for No. 14 Notre Dame (4-1) into a 14-10 lead in the second quarter. The Hokies added a 52-yard field goal by John Parker Romo as time expired in the first half to cut the Irish lead to 14-13. 

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Buchner, a four-star recruit out of San Diego, connected with senior wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. for a 46-yard pass on his fourth snap leading the Irish offense against the Hokies. Buchner finished his first drive with a three-yard touchdown run, the first of his career. 

After a three-and-out on his second drive, Buchner led a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in just 59 seconds. His eight-yard touchdown pass to running back Kyren Williams gave Notre Dame a 14-10 lead with 32 seconds left in the second quarter. 

Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner (12) forces his way into the end zone for a touchdown during the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Blacksburg, Va.

Buchner finished the first half 5-of-8 passing for 101 yards and one touchdown with five carries for 26 yards and one touchdown. 

Notre Dame’s offense managed just 17 total yards with Coan in the game. He was replaced by Buchner after completing two of his three passes for 15 yards and being sacked twice. 

Buchner played in three of Notre Dame’s first five games mostly as a change-of-pace quarterback with a run-first intent. He was also slowed by a hamstring issue suffered in the Purdue game.

In his first three games, Buchner rushed 14 times for 100 yards and completed three of his six pass attempts for 78 yards including a 55-yard touchdown to running back Chris Tyree.   

Coan entered Saturday’s game with 1,100 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions on 91-of-150 passing (60.7%). 

Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.