Michigan redshirt freshman Cade McNamara recorded his first career start on Saturday against Penn State. McNamara proved himself worthy of Michigan’s starting quarterback position after playing a vital role in the Wolverines’ 48-42 triple-overtime win against Rutgers. McNamara brought a spark of energy to a dull Michigan offense, completing a 27-of-36 passing line for 260 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for a fifth touchdown in the second overtime.
McNamara was highly anticipated to be at the forefront of Michigan’s struggling offense moving forward. However, an early injury led to a performance against Penn State that was far less than what Michigan fans had hoped for.
McNamara completed 4-of-5 passes for 25 yards before injuring his right shoulder on a tackle during Michigan’s second possession. While McNamara received medical attention in the locker room, Michigan’s former starting quarterback, Joe Milton, took his place. Milton, who started the first five games for the Wolverines, completed 4-of-5 passes for 21 yards on two drives before McNamara returned to the game.
McNamara’s right shoulder appeared to bother him when he returned to play. Ultimately, McNamara completed 12-of-25 passes for 91 yards before being pulled from the game on the Wolverines’ final possession with just under seven minutes left.
In an interview following the Wolverines’ 27-17 loss against Penn State, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh admired McNamara’s grittiness, but cited concern for further injury as the determining factor in having Milton close out the game.
Michigan is back to the drawing board when it comes to solidifying a reliable quarterback. They will be choosing between McNamara, who might be out for the season, and Milton, who led the Wolverines to their 1-4 season opening record.