ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Cade McNamara had a lackluster performance that was made moot by a dominant defense as No. 8 Michigan routed Colorado State 51-7 Saturday.
The Big Ten championship winning quarterback started the opener and is scheduled to sit at the beginning of the Hawaii game next week when J.J. McCarthy gets a shot to take the first snap.
McNamara started 1 of 5 and finished 9 of 18 for 136 yards, a total boosted by a short pass he threw that Roman Wilson turned into a 61-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. McCarthy made the most of his limited opportunity to play, running for a 20-yard score and going 4 of 4 for 30 yards through the air.
With McNamara under center, the Wolverines stalled at the Rams 13, 8 and 16 and settled for field goals in the first half that ended with them ahead 23-0.
Michigan’s defense, which had seven sacks and an interception, contributed to the flurry of scores with a 45-yard touchdown off a fumble recovery early in the third.
The Rams avoided getting shutout midway through the fourth quarter when Clay Millen lofted a 34-yard pass that Tory Horton caught in the end zone to make it 44-7.
Millen, a redshirt freshman, was 16 of 20 for 137 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Colorado State: New coach Jay Norvell has a lot of work to do with the Rams after leaving Nevada. Norvell’s No. 1 task may be to improve how his team protects Millen, who was often pressured when he wasn’t sacked.
Michigan: Jim Harbaugh chose a unique way to manage his quarterbacks, giving both a chance to start over the first two weeks. McCarthy seems set up to keep the job if he flourishes against Hawaii.
The Wolverines may stay where they are in the AP Top 25 after doing what was expected in a game they were favored to win by four-plus touchdowns.
Colorado State: Hosts Middle Tennessee State of Conference USA on Saturday afternoon.
Michigan: Plays its second of four straight home games to start season Saturday night against Hawaii.