With Michigan’s back against the wall versus Michigan State, they came up just short. Trailing 37-33,
Michigan’s offense had two cracks, two possessions where they could have retaken the lead. However, one was a turnover on downs on a play both head coach Jim Harbaugh and Cade McNamara believe should have been a pass interference call against MSU — and the last possession and Michigan’s fate was sealed when Cade McNamara went to Luke Schoonmaker on a corner route, Michigan State was in cover 2 and the ball was intercepted.
“We just came up short, and that’s on me,” McNamara said. “I didn’t execute good enough for us to win this game.”
While McNamara may have not executed to his standard in the waning minutes, he was put in a tough spot due to the Michigan defense being unable to stop Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker, who rushed for 197 yards and 5 touchdowns, solidifying his front-runner Heisman status. McNamara was 28-of-44 for 383 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception — a performance Harbaugh was pleased with overall, during a game where he did get hit hard a couple times and had to be evaluated in the medical tent midway through the fourth quarter.
“I got a little beat up multiple places. I had to see what the doctor said,” McNamara said. “I was still good enough to play.”
“Really played outstanding in almost every way. I think, we’ll see him today and how he’s able to move around. But yeah, I thought he played really well,” Harbaugh said. “He made some throws that, not just the best throws that he’s ever made, but some of the best throws you could make.”
Cade McNamara has taken his share of criticism as a passer this season.— PFN Draft (@PFNDraft) October 30, 2021
He responds by putting it on the money for Andrel Anthony to make the most of after the catch and #GoBlue take the lead… pic.twitter.com/Q6lXb6qTH2
McNamara performed well when under pressure according to Pro Football Focus — when blitzed, McNamara was 8-of-11 for 129 yards and 1 TD, and was 11-of-16 for 139 yards and 1 TD while pressured.
“He made some incredible throws standing in the pocket,” Harbaugh said. “A couple of the shallow posts over the middle, the short posts to Mike Sainristil, two to Erick All. And the one to Erick, the one that hit him in stride —that’s as good a throw as anybody can make.”
Michigan’s in a position where teammates need to pick up one another, and it’s clear when listening to Harbaugh and Michigan players such as receiver Mike Sainristil, their belief has been constant and remains high.
“Playing up to our standard that we have. Cade was ready to go out there and lead us on the field and that’s just the role he’s had all season, and that’s the quarterback he is,” Sainristil said.