U-M’s McNamara, McCarthy to start one game each

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Joined ESPN in 2011
  • Graduated from Central Michigan

Michigan has seen Cade McNamara, last season’s starter, and J.J. McCarthy locked in a quarterback battle all offseason. On Saturday, Jim Harbaugh announced that the battle has been settled, kind of.

In a statement, Harbaugh said McNamara will start the first game of the season against Colorado State and McCarthy will start the second game of the season against Hawaii, and a decision on the permanent starter will be made after week two.

“Both quarterbacks have played great, done everything they could have, and in every way, to win the starting job,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “Coming out of camp, I just feel like we have two quarterbacks, Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy, that we feel very confident that we can win a championship with either of those two behind center.”

McNamara helped lead Michigan to its first Big Ten championship under Harbaugh in 2021, and its first appearance in the College Football Playoff. He threw for 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2021, when Michigan went 12-2.

McCarthy was sprinkled into the offense in certain situations throughout 2021, throwing 59 times for 516 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. McCarthy also had 124 rush yards and two touchdowns on the ground while appearing in 11 games his freshman season.

The Wolverines are entering the season with a new offensive coordinator after Josh Gattis left for the same position at Miami. The position was filled by Matt Weiss, who was previously the quarterbacks coach, and Sherrone Moore, as co-coordinators.

The quarterback battle is still unsettled, but for Michigan and Harbaugh, the plan is to let it play out on the field.

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