Michigan QB tracker: J.J. McCarthy makes statement in Week 2


In 2021, quarterback Cade McNamara led the Michigan Wolverines to the season their fans have been dreaming about for years.

He helped defeat Ohio State, won a Big Ten championship and got Michigan into the College Football Playoff. On Saturday, though, he was left to watch from the bench as another quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, started against Hawaii at the Big House.

Michigan QB battle gets more interesting

FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt breaks down Jim Harbaugh’s decision to switch between Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy.

That’s because of coach Jim Harbaugh’s curious choice to not settle on a permanent starting quarterback early in the 2022 season. Instead, he opted to give McNamara the start in Week 1 Saturday against Colorado State, before giving McCarthy a shot in Week 2.

Week 1: McNamara and McCarthy both have moments vs. Colorado State

As it turns out, McCarthy took the opportunity and made the most of it — more on that below — and Harbaugh said that he will start again in Week 3 against UConn and perhaps beyond.

Week 2: Michigan 56, Hawaii 10

The start of the game was delayed by rain, and it was hardly a sprinkle.

But once things got started, McCarthy had the Wolverines start hot on their very first possession. After a nice run by Blake Corum, McCarthy hit Honolulu native Roman Wilson for a touchdown pass.

Through one quarter, McCarthy was 5-for-6 for 95 yards and a touchdown, as his Wolverines breezed to a 21-0 lead.

The second quarter was more of the same, as McCarthy finished the first half 11-for-12 for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran once for a 16-yard gain.

McNamara was also given one drive in the second quarter, and while he was 2-for-3 for 11 yards, the Wolverines would end up punting. McNamara stayed on to lead three drives in the third quarter, but those drives ended in a pair of punts and an interception. 

McNamara then gave way to Davis Warren, who immediately completed a 56-yard pass that sparked another touchdown. Warren led a couple more scoring drives in the fourth quarter, but this game was really over in the first half.

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

— McCarthy completed 11 of 12 passes for 229 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 334.5.

— McNamara went 4-for-6 for 26 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception. His passer rating was 69.7.

— Warren went 2-for-4 for 65 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions in extended mop-up duty.

What they said

“J.J. had a near flawless performance — 11-for-12 and one was dropped, that’s tough to do. … I thought he had a great game. He’s playing really well. We’ll start J.J. next week.” — Jim Harbaugh 

Week 3: vs. Connecticut

McCarthy is scheduled to start again in Week 3.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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