Michigan football: Quarterback battle intensified after week 1 route of Colorado State

Wolverines host Hawaii Saturday night

Cade McNamara (left) and J.J. McCarthy (right) during a game against Maryland in November 2021. (Julio Cortez, The Associated Press 2021)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan Wolverines boat raced the Colorado State Rams 51-7 to kick off season No. 163 for the program.

But there’s the score of the game, and then there’s the score of life, and if it were up to Michigan fans, they would have already decided who their starting quarterback should be after week one.

The Wolverines defense was stout as usual as they held Colorado State to 219 yards total with 137 yards through the air and 82 yards on the ground. The team accounted for 11 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and a scoop and score, which brought everyone in the big house to their feet.

On offense, Michigan racked up 440 yards, with 234 yards coming from the ground attack and 206 yards through the air.

For the first time since Oct. 25, 2020, Michigan had four ball carriers score a rushing touchdown, including running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards and quarterbacks Alex Orji and J.J. McCarthy, whose limited presence was a breath of fresh air.

J.J. McCarthy

Those stats seem impressive, but the fans in attendance and on social media did not like what they saw early on offense, preferably from the quarterback position.

When McCarthy entered the game for the first time, the crowd erupted, although it was only for a handoff. When he re-entered for the drive seen in the video above, the crowd cheered even louder as they were unhappy with what they were watching while baking in the 90-degree weather.

Two plays later, McCarthy showed the athleticism needed at the quarterback position to win it all at the college level as he scampered down the opponent’s sideline for a 20-yard touchdown which woke the crowd.

McCarthy finished the game going 4-4 for 30 yards through the air with three rushing attempts for 50 yards and one touchdown.

Cade McNamara

Cade McNamara had a clean game as he completed nine out of 18 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as media members took to Twitter to respond.

McNamara was bailed out in the red zone after his intended receiver slipped on the passing play, causing an interception with the slow start, but it eventually got overturned.

The usual stoic quarterback, who looked shaky from the start, talked about his performance after the game to the media.

“I think today was a clean game,” said McNamara. “We had one penalty and no turnovers. There’s some stuff that didn’t go our way, and I thought we handled it pretty well. Building off of this, I think it’s kind of like first-game stuff. I missed a couple of targets, and we had a couple of drops. It looked like the first day on the offensive side of the ball, and so we definitely got to clean that up, and it’ll be a part of that.”

McNamara’s tone sounded like a defeated man, but he still has a shot to keep the starting role.

His 2021 season has cemented his legacy as the man that guided the men in maize back to prominence. Still, to many, McCarthy is who they want as the leader of men as they believe he offers a different element to the offense.

McCarthy will get the start Saturday (Sept. 10) night as the Wolverines will host Hawaii at 8 p.m. Do you think the job is his to lose? Are we being too hard on McNamara? Give us your thoughts.


About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.