Michigan’s QB race takes a sharp turn toward ‘electric’ J.J. McCarthy

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Michigan State’s season opener should be the Cade McNamara Show, which is the incumbent’s chance to keep Jim Harbaugh and the staff in a two-week open selection for the starting quarterback. Impressed.

While McNamara showed up at work, throwing for 136 yards and a touchdown, JJ McCarthy was more impressive in his limited time during the Wolverines’ 51-7 win over Colorado State.

“When he comes on, he’s excited, no doubt about it,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I think he’s reading well as well. It’s great to see him super cool, cool, calm.”

Harbaugh uttered the word “electric” twice to describe McCarthy in his 14-minute postgame press conference, and McCarthy completed all four passes for 30 yards and three rushes for 50 yards, including 20 in the third quarter. yard touchdown.

“It’s slowing down (for him),” Harbaugh said. “Really good players have the ability to do that. They’re there to feed on adrenaline, but the game slows down around him.”

McNamara himself helped Michigan for a touchdown, completing a 61-yard pass to Roman Wilson on the second drive of the game, but missed the pitch early and suffered several falls in the red zone and tripping catchers. The Wolverines went just 2-4 in the first half, turning a trip to the red zone into a touchdown, leaving points on the board.

more: Cade McNamara caught off guard by ‘unusual’ Michigan QB plan

“There are a few drops,” Harbaugh said, defending McNamara’s 9-for-18. “You can never break away from any one standard. I think we all agree, the way we do it – we’ve got a lot more information two weeks later than we were two weeks ago.”

Still, McNamara appeared troubled by how Michigan’s quarterback game played out in public, telling reporters after the game that he was caught off guard by the idea of ​​alternate starts. McCarthy will start next Saturday’s game against Hawaii (8 p.m. ET) and has a chance to win a Week 3 start.

“It’s unusual; it’s something I didn’t expect at the end of training camp,” McNamara said. “I thought I had my best camp. I thought I put myself in a good position. It’s a decision made by the coach.”

Harbaugh has said he will judge the two quarterbacks on their ability to move Michigan’s offense and score, complete a variety of pitches and demonstrate on-court leadership. While McNamara was able to check several of those boxes on Saturday, McCarthy’s playmaking ability in his limited snapshots on the floor made people cry out.

Michigan’s coaches raved about McCarthy’s increased patience, willingness to inspect passes and read opposing defenses when necessary. Harbaugh said his touchdown run was an engineered quarterback reading option, and McCarthy executed it flawlessly, barely touching the end zone.

“I don’t think anyone took a shot at him,” Harbaugh said. He has that electric ability when he runs with a football. I think he did very well. “

As for McNamara, he’ll likely get more minutes next week against Hawaii — two minutes Harbaugh has said he wants to use in games like he did last year. But McCarthy’s path appears to be clear, with the former five-star recruit sitting on the bench during Michigan’s 12-win season and last year’s Big Ten championship run.

Read more about Michigan football:

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Offensive line remains without two key contributors

Overheard outside the locker room: Defense eats well, “hard as a $2 steak”

Video recap of Michigan’s win over CSU: QB analysis and more

CSU coach will have Jim Harbaugh worried about Michigan’s QB debate

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