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Notre Dame staved off another upset bid.
The Irish scored a go-ahead TD with 1:09 to go to hold off Toledo 32-29 on Saturday. Tight end Michael Mayer caught an 18-yard pass from Jack Coan immediately after Coan had a finger on his throwing hand put back into place by a member of Notre Dame’s training staff.
Coan just got his finger reset on the fly, nbd pic.twitter.com/OKi3ZvVgoc
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) September 11, 2021
Here's what Coan's pass to Mayer looked like. Mayer is one of the better tight ends in college football and he was all alone in single coverage.
— Notre Dame on NBC (@NDonNBC) September 11, 2021
Notre Dame (2-0) scored in 26 seconds on that drive thanks to two defensive penalties and a great catch on a long pass by Kevin Austin Jr. And the Irish had to come back after a fumble by Kyren Williams with 3:26 to go.
Williams fumbled with the Irish up 24-22 and Notre Dame simply trying to take as much time off the clock as possible while moving downfield. Toledo recovered the fumble and scored seven plays later when QB Dequan Finn scored a 26-yard TD on a fantastic misdirection run off a fake handoff.
A week ago, Notre Dame was taken to overtime by Florida State and former UCF QB McKenzie Milton. The Irish escaped after a missed field goal by FSU in the first overtime period and got away with the win on Saturday after Toledo’s last gasp drive didn’t get into field goal range thanks to a fumble.
Coan played the entirety of that Florida State game. He split time with freshman Tyler Buchner on Saturday as Buchner was an effective runner. Coan finished 21-of-33 passing for 239 yards and two TDs and an interception while Buchner was 3-of-3 passing for 78 yards and a score with 68 rushing yards on seven carries.
Will Notre Dame roll with a two-QB look for the foreseeable future? It's possible after what we saw on Saturday. Buchner adds a dual-threat element to Notre Dame’s offense that Coan simply doesn’t bring. Ian Book was extremely effective for the Irish in his time as a starter because of his ability to make something out of nothing with his legs. Buchner is the clear QB of the future for the Irish and don’t be surprised if you see him get some more playing time throughout the season.
Just how good is Notre Dame?
That’s a question we’re not sure how to answer at the moment. It’s nice to be 2-0, but Notre Dame can’t live like this all season. Especially against better competition. The Irish play Purdue and Wisconsin to finish September before Cincinnati on Oct. 2. We’ll have a much better idea about Notre Dame’s quality after the Wisconsin and Cincinnati games, though we're confident that Notre Dame won't win both of those games playing like it has so far this season.