No need for a poll this time: the turnaround from the last three weeks is not hard to spot. Sure, playing Rutgers probably helped, but once Cade McNamara entered the game on Saturday night it seemed like the team was a completely different bunch of players than we have seen throughout 2020.
For the second week in a row, McNamara relieved a struggling Joe Milton and made an instant impact. The redshirt freshman entered the game with the Michigan Wolverines trailing 17-0 and heading toward the very definition of rock bottom. He immediately got his team back in the game, throwing a 46-yard bomb to Cornelius Johnson on his third pass of the night, just as he connected for a score on his third throw last week.
Game Ball: Cade McNamara, QB
The final numbers for McNamara are excellent: 27-for-34, 260 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, and a rushing score. He had a few nice downfield throws, but a lot of his work came from quick, manageable passes near the line of scrimmage. His receivers made the most of these catches, racking up yards with the ball in their hands and showing off some of their speed and athleticism that has been lacking all year.
Some credit (and therefore criticism, I suppose) must be given to Josh Gattis, who seemed to utilize a completely different game plan with McNamara at the helm. He put his quarterback in a position to succeed for arguably the first time this season. Some of this may come down to how he wants to use McNamara versus Milton, but the question really needs to be asked regarding why this play calling is only occurring more than halfway into the season.
Either way, it is clear that McNamara is the best option for the Wolverines going forward. I admit that I thought last week’s few series against Wisconsin were a flash in the pan, but the backup quarterback proved on Saturday that he is more than capable of running this improved scheme by Gattis. His ceiling might not be spectacular, but he is definitely able to give Michigan’s weapons a chance to work, something that cannot be said about Milton this season.