Michigan will stick with J.J. McCarthy as its starting quarterback next week against UConn and most likely beyond, as the sophomore is positioned to lead the offense this season.
McCarthy, making his first career start Saturday against visiting Hawai’i, completed 11 of 12 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-10 win. He gained 16 yards on his only rush and led touchdown drives on five of Michigan’s first six possessions.
Coach Jim Harbaugh last month decided that Cade McNamara, the team’s returning starter, would start the opener against Colorado State, and McCarthy would get the nod against Hawai’i. McNamara completed only 50% of his passes against Colorado State with 136 yards and a touchdown, and had four completions for 26 yards Saturday night. Harbaugh praised McCarthy’s “near flawless” performance Saturday, noting his only incomplete pass came on a drop.
“We’ll start J.J. next week,” Harbaugh said. “He’s the starter moving forward on merit.”
McNamara helped Michigan to its first outright Big Ten title since 2003, its first victory against Ohio State since 2011 and its first College Football Playoff appearance. After the Colorado State game, McNamara said he wasn’t expecting to rotate with McCarthy, calling the situation “pretty unusual.”
McCarthy, rated as ESPN’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and No. 25 overall recruit in the 2021 class, backed up McNamara last season and saw time in 11 games. He was limited this spring with a shoulder injury.