Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.
J.J. McCarthy brilliant in stellar start for U-M
It’s a good bet Michigan fans are still salivating at what they witnessed on Saturday.
Fans have heard about the physical tools of sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy since he arrived on campus, and in his first college start, he displayed all of them in a blowout win over Hawaii.
It was against an incredibly undermanned opponent, but McCarthy showed enough of his mobility and rocket arm to be named the starter by head coach Jim Harbaugh for this week’s game against Connecticut.
Of course, that begs the obvious question now: What will Cade McNamara do?
After being the starter last year for the Wolverines during their run to the Big Ten title and College Football Playoff, he was seemingly the man after being named a captain by teammates before the season and being the starter for the season opener against Colorado State.
Now, Michigan players and coaches will have quite an in-season recruiting job to keep him in Ann Arbor the rest of the season as a backup in case something happens to McCarthy.
New rules now allow for players to transfer easily without sitting out a year, and given McNamara’s dissatisfaction with the quarterback situation following the win over Colorado State, he might decide to split soon unless he finds value in being the backup.
We’ll see what happens.
MSU gets ready for first test with questions surrounding Payton Thorne
Like Michigan, Michigan State has opened 2-0 by beating vastly inferior opponents at home.
Unlike Michigan, the Spartans will now face a legitimate nonconference test on the road when they play Saturday night at Washington.
It’s never easy to go out west and play, and Washington is a better outfit than last year’s team that got clobbered by Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Washington’s new starting quarterback is Michael Penix Jr., a transfer from Indiana who tore up the Spartans during previous meetings when he was in the Big Ten.
There have been plenty of bright spots for the Spartans, but one minor concern might be the erratic start to the season by junior quarterback Payton Thorne.
So far, Thorne has completed 30-of-52 passes with four touchdowns and three interceptions, and admitted he was frustrated with himself for missing multiple passes against Akron on Saturday.
It’s not a reason to sound alarm bells yet, but with better opponents on the horizon, MSU needs Thorne to be sharper.
Another moral victory for Lions?
Here’s the best synopsis to give of the Lions season opener against Philadelphia: They lost.
People can talk about how much they fought back (which they did), how good the offense looked at times (it did) and how good DeAndre Swift is, but they still lost.
The defense is still a mess, quarterback Jared Goff often struggled and they are 0-1. They lost.
No moral victories.
End of synopsis.