The Notre Dame football team takes on Ohio State in Week 1 of the college football season, and here are some Irish to keep an eye on in the matchup.
On Saturday night, the Notre Dame football team will attempt to knock off a national title contender, as they open their 2022 season against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Many national pundits have the Buckeyes as a championship favorite in 2022, and the Irish are big underdogs in this matchup between two preseason top-5 teams.
With the Irish looking to shock the college football landscape right out of the gate, they will need some key players to step up in a big way. Here, we look at three who will have to be at their best in order to come away with the victory inside Ohio Stadium.
Notre Dame football at Ohio State: Irish players to watch Week 1
Tyler Buchner, Quarterback
We start out at the quarterback spot, where true sophomore Tyler Buchner will be making his first collegiate start. A huge recruit coming via the 2021 recruiting class, Buchner showed incredible poise last year, filling in at times for Jack Coan, and earned the job over Drew Pyne this summer.
Now, Buchner gets to prove he should be the long-term answer at the position and facing a tough Ohio State defense, this is going to be the ultimate test. He is a very versatile quarterback, so Ohio State will have to game plan for him, and he has some elite weapons in Michael Mayer and Lorenzo Styles Jr.
Cam Hart, Cornerback
The defensive backfield has a tall order in front of them on Saturday, as Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is widely regarded as one of the top-2 signal-callers in the country. In fact, many feel Stroud could be the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, as he returns his No. 1 weapon from a year ago, Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
The man tasked with slowing down Smith-Njigba will be Cam Hart, a cornerback who exploded onto the scene last year, and could be in for a breakout season in 2022. He has the size and speed to be a legitimate first-round talent in the 2023 NFL Draft and can prove that by shutting down one of the great weapons in the country in Smith-Njigba.
Lorenzo Styles Jr., Wide Receiver
As stated earlier, the Irish have a solid wideout in Lorenzo Styles Jr., who will have to emerge as the WR1 as a true sophomore this season. We saw Styles break out in a big way against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl back in January, and now, he leads a depleted wideout group into battle against a tough Ohio State secondary.
In week one, Notre Dame travels to the Buckeye state to take on Ohio State in what many are calling the most anticipated game of the year. How will it go?
The good thing is, Styles has the talent to be one of the best wideouts in the country and showed as a true freshman that he is not afraid of the big stage. There will be few regular season games with this much hype this season, and for Buchner to succeed, he needs a monster game from his WR1.