The Notre Dame Fighting Irish wrap up their spring preparation for the upcoming season with the annual Blue-Gold Game on Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.
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The game (1 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV anywhere, but anyone in the US can watch the Notre Dame spring game live on Peacock right here:
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Notre Dame Spring Game 2022 Preview
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their new coaching staff led by first-year head coach Marcus Freeman will wrap up their spring program with the annual Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Freeman was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach last November after Brian Kelly, Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach, left to take the LSU job. Joining Freeman on a revamped staff will be new defensive coordinator Al Golden, who spent the last six years coaching in the NFL with the Lions and Bengals. Prior to that, Golden served as Miami’s head coach from 2011 to 2015.
The Fighting Irish are coming off a season in which they went 11-2 and just missed out on a College Football Playoff appearance. Their lone loss in the regular season was to Cincinnati, who finished just ahead of them at No. 4 in the CFP rankings to get into the national semifinals.
Notre Dame went on to put up 551 total yards in Freeman’s head coaching debut in the Fiesta Bowl, but fell to Oklahoma State, 37-35.
Freeman and his staff will be overseeing a battle for the starting quarterback role coming into this season, featuring sophomore Tyler Buchner and junior Drew Pyne.
Buchner received more playing time as a backup last season, where he went 21 of 35 for 298 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. The sophomore can also get it done on the ground, where he rushed for 336 yards and three scores last year.
Pyne saw limited action last season but has been in the system for a year longer than Buchner. The junior went 15 of 30 for 224 yards and two TDs in 2021.
“It is a great competition,” Freeman said following one of the spring practices. “I’m going to sit down with (offensive coordinator) Tommy (Rees) and say, ‘Give me your grades’. It’s still going to be an evolving process until you name a starter. I wouldn’t hesitate to put either in the game at this point because they are both really good football players and can help us win.”
Buchner will not suit up during Saturday’s spring game, due to an ankle injury he suffered while walking down a flight of stairs earlier in the week. In his absence, Pyne is expected to play for both the Blue and Gold teams on Saturday.
“We had a quarterbacks meeting, he left the quarterbacks meeting and it happened in the next 30 minutes,” Freeman said about Buchner rolling his ankle. “Unfortunate accident. He’ll be out for the spring game, but he got 13 really, really good practices in. I’m pleased with that part of it.”
Notre Dame will have the challenge of filling the void left behind by the departures of All-American safety Kyle Hamilton, second-team All-American running back Kyren Williams and top receiver Kevin Austin Jr., who are all heading to the NFL.
One of the key offensive weapons from last year’s team, junior tight end Michael Mayer, will be returning following a season where he had 71 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Another playmaker that the new starting QB will have in his arsenal will be wide receiver Lorenzo Styles, who had a breakout performance in the Fiesta Bowl when he caught eight passes for 136 yards and a TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Fighting Irish will be returning four senior linebackers – Isaiah Foskey, Marist Liafau, JD Bertrand and Jack Kiser. Newcomers will include safety Brandon Joseph, who transferred from Northwestern, and linebacker Jaylen Sneed, a five-star recruit from Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Notre Dame will kick off the 2022 season with a massive test on the road against Ohio State on September 3rd.
- 11-2 (finished eighth in the final AP Poll)
- Lost to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, 37-35
- QB Jack Coan (3,150 passing yards, 25 TDs, 7 INTs)
- RB Kyren Williams (1,002 rushing yards, 14 TDs)
- WR Kevin Austin Jr. (48 receptions, 888 receiving yards, 7 TDs)
- TE Michael Mayer (71 receptions, 840 receiving yards, 7 TDs)
- Sept. 3, at Ohio State
- Sept. 10, vs Marshall (home opener)
- Sept. 17, vs California
- Sept. 24, at North Carolina
- Oct. 8, vs BYU (neutral site – Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas)
- Oct. 15, vs Stanford
- Oct. 22, vs UNLV
- Oct. 29, at Syracuse
- Nov. 5, vs Clemson
- Nov. 12, vs Navy (neutral site – M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore)
- Nov. 19, vs Boston College
- Nov. 26, at USC