How to watch Notre Dame vs Cal on Saturday; TV, Time, Peacock – Inside the Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Thus begins the Drew Pyne era for the Notre Dame Irish. Filling in for injured starter Tyler Buchner was never how Pyne wanted to take on the QB1 role, but the Irish (0-2) will need him to exceed all expectations.

“It’s an honor to be able to help this team win,” said Pyne on Tuesday. “But for me, it’s easy to fall into a trap and be affected by it in many different ways. I’m focused on one thing and that is to prepare as hard as I can for Cal and practice as hard as I can to be successful this week.”

The undefeated Cal Bears have relied on strong defense, head coach Justin Wilcox’s specialty, for years, so suffice it to say Pyne is being thrown in at the deep end.

TIME: 2:30 ET, with kick-off officially scheduled for 2:39 ET. That NBC-specific kick-off time will be missed next week when Notre Dame takes on North Carolina later in the afternoon.

Winds blowing from the southwest may pick up during the game but otherwise the weather remains ideal for football in mid-September with temperatures peaking in the mid 80’s.

TV: NBC will cover Ireland’s hunt for their first win of the season and the Marcus Freeman era. while Peacock will also be livestreaming the game if it prefers to stream it. Jac Collinsworth and Jason Garrett will man the booth with Zora Stephenson on the sidelines.

PREVIEW: As much as the Irish offense has struggled this season, and there’s no other way to look at it, Buchner’s legs have been a consistent catalyst. He had two touchdowns and six first downs this season, with the chains moving a seventh for taking a penalty, while Notre Dame’s running backs only managed one touchdown and four first downs.

With Pyne filling in for Buchner, projecting the Irish offense is becoming almost impossible at the moment. So little was seen of Pyne behind center.

Since stepping in for Jack Coan in the second half of consecutive games early last season, Pyne has not played in Notre Dame’s last eight games, including Ohio State’s season opener. His late action against Marshall included a touchdown pass, but an interception before that dashed the last real Irish hopes.

Head coach Marcus Freeman said Notre Dame’s offense shouldn’t change much with Pyne in place of Buchner, even though the latter’s mobility was a differentiating factor in last season’s quarterback competition.

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“I don’t see the offense changing in terms of the overall package because Drew is the quarterback,” Freeman said Monday. “But I want to try to look and say, ‘Okay, what more can we do for them as an insult?'”

But offensive coordinator Tommy Rees hinted at some potential changes on Tuesday. Frankly, beyond Freeman’s coaching language, it’s hard to imagine Pyne carrying the ball on as many scheduled runs as Buchner, even if Rees called Pyne “more skilled than people give him credit for.”

“We know what [Pyne is] good,” said Rees. “He knows what he’s good at. We have to make sure he keeps that in mind. I have to name a game that underscores that.”

Rees understandably didn’t go into those details. It’s difficult enough to face a defensive spirit like Wilcox’s without giving him bullet points to prepare for.

The greatest attributes Pyne is often credited with are his confidence and diligence. Of course, positive characteristics are less important on Saturday. At this point, his arm strength might be high on the list, as is the ability to look down while buying time out of the pocket. Playing for both the blue and gold in Notre Dame’s spring game, Pyne’s 22-of-33 for 185 yards was an ugly performance, but the requisite red jersey curbed his penchant for breaking away from the pressure.

How he’s able to show that bias against the Bears may be the biggest decision as to whether the Irish offense will remain ineffective throughout the season or if it will start to show signs of life.

FORECAST: The Buchner vs Pyne sports betting rating has been fascinating to watch this week. Notre Dame was a 13.5-point favorite looking ahead to that game, but with official news Monday that Buchner will miss the rest of the season, the line dropped to -9.0.

During the week it went up again. Consider it a correction of an overreaction as PointsBet favors the Irish by 12.0 as of Friday night with an overall Over/Under score of 40.5.

That total hasn’t bounced back and forth all week. It just fell on Sunday. No one expects this game to take on an offensive stance.

But what if Rees prefers to call offense with a quarterback with skills like Pyne? That approach might not maximize the talent on Notre Dame’s roster, but for now, Rees and the Irish have no choice. Buchner is out. Pyne begins. And his playing is terribly reminiscent not only of Rees, but also of Ian Book, with whom Rees celebrated great success.

Allegedly undersized quarterbacks with more mobility than thought, though far from double threats, might be exactly what Rees does best. At least up to this point in his career, that might be how he works best.

If that’s the case, then correcting the overreaction makes sense, and that sum could be threatened.

Of course it would still be a surprise. The Irish offense didn’t last two weeks and believing it has become a ‘believe it when I see it’ proposition. The same goes for an opposing offensive that regularly succeeds against Notre Dame’s defenses.

The Irish have dropped just 40 points in two weeks, most of which came via long touchdown drives that relied on the run. That’s a threat Cal won’t be getting into Notre Dame. A week ago against UNLV — a defense that gave up more than 215 rushing yards in four different games and at least 5.4 yards per carry in five different games last season — the Bears rushed for just 92 yards at 2.9 yards per rush .

Ireland’s greatest defensive weakness, and none of major importance at that, is something Cal cannot exploit. With that in mind, Rees and Pyne might not need to score many points to give Freeman his first career win.

Notre Dame 24, Cal 10
(Spread: 1-1; Over/Under: 1-1; Straight Up: 1-1)

Notre Dame will be green today. No, that’s not a motivational trick. The Irish announced this choice back in June in response to the widespread refrain that Notre Dame would encourage fans to wear green once a season without wearing green themselves.

If there’s a difference in kits today, it’s not the color. It so happens that for the first time since a game at Notre Dame, the Irish will have name tags on the back of their shirts… No, really, we’re not sure.

β€” Marcus Freeman predicted that Notre Dame would need two QBs; Past and present prove him right
β€” The quality of Clemson and USC remains unknown despite placing in the top 10
β€” And In That Corner… Undefeated Cal Bears travel to Notre Dame as two-point underdogs
β€” Things to learn: Uncharted territory forces Notre Dame to rely on Pride to find the desired result against Cal on Saturday
β€” Friday at 4: A curtailed honeymoon doesn’t change the reasons for Notre Dame’s marriage to Marcus Freeman
β€” Here’s how to watch Notre Dame vs Cal tomorrow and the Irish all season long: TV, Peacock info for 2022

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β€” Cal vs Notre Dame odds, tips and predictions
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β€” EA Sports College Football: The rise, fall – and return – of a popular video game
β€” Bucks’ Pat Connaughton ‘itch to come back’ after ‘real off-season’ and contract extension
β€” Rams brought Kyren Williams to IR, signed Matt Overton

Twitter | @statsowar

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