Michigan QB tracker: McNamara, McCarthy both shine in Week 1


Jim Harbaugh’s choice to not settle on a permanent starting quarterback generated a lot of attention, discussion and second-guessing.

Some observers see it as a smart move, a way to create competition between Michigan’s incumbent starter Cade McNamara and challenger JJ McCarthy. Others viewed it as a risk that could damage team chemistry and hinder the development of whoever ultimately ends up being the starter. 

[Jim Harbaugh taking a risk by delaying picking a starting QB]

Michigan’s QB competition

RJ Young discusses the decision by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh to give both Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy a start in the first two weeks of the season.

Either way, Harbaugh created more intrigue around the defending Big Ten champions’ first two games. McNamara started in Week 1 Saturday against Colorado State, while McCarthy is scheduled to start Week 2 against Hawaii

After that, Harbaugh might pick a permanent starter for Week 3 against UConn — or perhaps he won’t. Either way, we’ll be tracking how the candidates do through these first weeks. This story will be updated after each game.

Week 1: No. 8 Michigan vs. Colorado State

After a three-and-out on his first drive, McNamara led the Wolverines on an 80-yard touchdown drive. Well, it wasn’t really a drive so much a two-play sprint. After running back Blake Corum dashed for a 19-yard gain, McNamara hit Roman Wilson on a short pass, and Wilson did the rest on a 61-yard touchdown.

McNamara led five scoring drives in the first half as Michigan ran out to a 23-0 lead. Then, after Michigan made it 30-0 with a defensive score to open the third period, he started a drive that brought Michigan to the Rams’ 20-yard line.

At that point, McCarthy came in for his first taste of action – and this is what he did on his first touch.

On his next drive, McCarthy led Michigan 58 yards on eight plays, with Donovan Edwards finishing things off with a touchdown run to put Michigan up 44-0.

After Colorado State got on the board with its first touchdown, McCarthy started another drive before being replaced by third-stringer Alan Bowman.

At the end of the day, here’s how things broke down:

— McNamara completed nine of his 18 pass attempts for 136 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. His QBR was 131.8, and he left with a 30-0 lead.

— McCarthy completed all four of his pass attempts for 30 yards. He also had three rushes for 50 yards, including the 20-yard touchdown run.

— Bowman was 5-for-6 for 40 yards in mop-up duty.

— Final score: Michigan 51, Colorado State 7

Week 2: vs. Hawaii

McCarthy is scheduled to start.

Week 3: vs. Connecticut

Stay tuned!


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