The Michigan Wolverines have gotten off to a hot start on the ground in 2021, featuring the nations No. 1 rushing attack - spearheaded by senior Hassan Haskins and sophomore Blake Corum.
Due to the tremendous success of the rushing game, junior quarterback Cade McNamara has had a relatively easy go of it for the first quarter of the season. In fact, McNamara's 37 passing attempts through three games are good for last in the Big Ten conference among all starting quarterbacks.
Even with limited attempts, McNamara has shown flashes of what he's capable of with his arm - particularly when it comes to the deep ball.
Following Saturday's blowout victory over Northern Illinois University, McNamara is now responsible for two of the Top-10 longest passing plays in program history. Ironically, both passing plays have come during the 2021 season. The first came in week one against Western Michigan when McNamara hit senior wideout Ronnie Bell for a 76 yard touchdown. The next came last weekend in a 63-10 pummeling against NIU, as McNamara found junior wideout Cornelius Johnson for an 87 yard touchdown connection.
The 87-yard touchdown to Johnson was also the third-longest touchdown pass in Michigan football history.
In addition to the long touchdown connections, McNamara has also proven to be extremely reliable with the ball in his hands. The junior QB out of Reno (Nev.) has begun his career with 108 consecutive pass attempts with no interceptions and a completion percentage of .062.
Additionally, McNamara has directed 25 scoring drives (21 touchdowns, 4 field goals) in 37 offensive possessions - dating back to his first drive against Rutgers in 2020. His ability to help move the ball down the field has given UM points on 67.6 percent of all possessions, one of the reasons the Wolverines rank No. 2 in the nation in scoring offense.
There's no question that it's going to take far more than 37 attempts to get through the Big Ten conference, but it feels like McNamara has shown just enough with his arm at this point to feel confident about Michigan's chances.