By Isaiah Hole September 4, 2022 10:24 am
By Isaiah Hole |
Every game but two is in the books for college football in Week 1, and there is certainly a lot to digest.
For instance, though Ohio State beat Notre Dame and is often included as ‘winners’ in various ‘winners and losers’ columns on Sunday, the Buckeyes are falling in most top 10 rankings coming out of the game. Michigan football however, is getting high marks, though what the national media is saying about the Wolverines has little to do with the revamped defense — which looked dominant against Colorado State — but the continuing quarterback battle.
RELATED; Big Ten power rankings after Week 1.
The maize and blue received no mention in a couple of national publications’ feature articles, including ESPN and Sporting News. But five big ones did mention the Wolverines. Here is what they had to say:
Though you’d think the onus of any reaction would be on the defense remaining top-notch, naturally the quarterback question in Ann Arbor came into play.
Honestly, the game never felt as close as the score reflects. If not for Michigan struggling in the red zone, it could’ve been much worse for the Rams. While we probably shouldn’t read too much into a game like this, Michigan does have a QB battle raging, and there was a clear winner today.
Cade McNamara started the game as Jim Harbaugh said he would, and he took nearly every snap with the Wolverines offense in the first half. He did not take advantage, and gave way to JJ McCarthy in the second half. McCarthy lit a spark in the offense. He completed all four of his pass attempts for 30 yards, and also rushed for 50 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run. In comparison, McNamara completed only nine of his 18 passes for 136 yards, but did have a nice 61-yard touchdown pass to Roman Wilson.
247Sports’ Chris Hummer similarly focused in on the QB battle.
SI.com’s Ross Dellenger ranked Michigan No. 5 in his top 10, and mentioned the QB battle, but also noted how good the defense looked.
Cade McNamara kicked off the weird, two-quarterback derby thing that triggered Jim Harbaugh to cite biblical verses earlier this week, but he wasn’t the star. Michigan’s defense swallowed the Rams, who didn’t score until their 11th possession of the game and didn’t crack 200 yards until the final minutes.
The mothership’s Paul Myerberg included quarterback J.J. McCarthy on his list of ‘winners’ in his Sunday winners and losers column.
Jim Harbaugh announced a unique plan for his quarterbacks heading into No. 6 Michigan’s season opener: Cade McNamara, the incumbent starter, would get the nod on Saturday against Colorado State, while J.J. McCarthy would draw the starting assignment next week against Hawaii. While McNamara threw for 136 yards and a score in the Wolverines’ easy 51-7 win against the Rams, McCarthy managed to steal the show by completing all four of his attempts for 30 yards with another 50 yards on the ground, including a 20-yard touchdown run. Will Harbaugh give McNamara snaps next week?
Michigan came in at No. 4 in Nicole Auerbach’s top 10, and she had a lot to say about what she saw from the Wolverines:
OK, now things are about to get interesting. The more I’ve thought about the Michigan quarterback decision dilemma, the more convinced I am that Jim Harbaugh set this all up to make his case for choosing JJ McCarthy. If he wanted Cade McNamara to be the seasonlong starter, he’d already be the starter; Harbaugh could just point to the body of work from last season (including a Big Ten title and a win over Ohio State) to justify it. But he didn’t do that. He left the door wide open for the younger player with the higher ceiling, the quarterback of the future who may also be the quarterback of the present.
By this time next week, Harbaugh is going to have two full games’ worth of data to use to point to McCarthy as the QB he should play.
After the Wolverines’ 51-7 win over Colorado State on Saturday, Harbaugh noted that McCarthy, whose first designed QB run turned into a 20-yard touchdown, was “electric when he got in, no question about it.” It’s true. Michigan was up big by the time McNamara came out of his designated start, but McNamara himself had underwhelmed. He completed just nine of 18 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown — stats padded by yards after the catch from Roman Wilson — and he was nearly picked off in the first quarter as well. It’s a little weird to say this after a 44-point win against an overmatched opponent, but we learned more about the quarterback competition than I anticipated we would.
Sure, it’s a small sample size. But Harbaugh wanted this data to make the decision, and what we saw on Saturday certainly helped McCarthy’s case.
Michigan Football, reaction, Football
Isaiah is a University of Michigan alum, and has been covering the Wolverines football team since 2015.
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The first #Michigan road game is at an opportune time. #GoBlue
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Did #Michigan move up, down, or stay the same? #GoBlue
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Strong words from a coach who has overseen some really good teams in his history. #GoBlue
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Love his attitude!
Football· September 17, 2022 5:58 pm ET ·
Really interesting facts coming out of the game! #GoBlue
Football· September 17, 2022 5:46 pm ET ·
Huge bummer, but glad it’s not more serious. #GoBlue
Football· September 17, 2022 5:30 pm ET ·
He had a tremendous day!
Football· September 17, 2022 11:25 am ET ·
Need him back for next week!
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Can’t wait to see Michigan dominate this one!
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By Isaiah Hole September 4, 2022 10:24 am