A new energy. That’s a phrase Michigan players and coaches have used all the way back to last winter. A team trying to right the wrongs of a 2-4 season in 2020. A team trying to win big games on the road. A team trying to beat Ohio State.
Michigan was in a back and forth battle against Penn State in Happy Valley on Saturday, leaving Pennsylvania victorious by a nail-biting score of 21-17.
After the game, ESPN’s Molly McGrath interviewed Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, and the QB was wearing his heart on his sleeve. McNamara just got done celebrating with center Andrew Vastardis, and McGrath asked McNamara what went into them “hugging it out”.
“He’s been here for so long, I mean his body has gone under some serious pain over the last five years,” McNamara said. “This one means a lot, means a lot for the guys who’ve been here. We were so close two years ago, we didn’t pull through, but we pulled this one through.”
Pulled through they did, the last time Michigan played at Penn State, back in 2019, they lost 28-21.
Michigan may have lost 37-33 to Michigan State, but this is a team that has won the rest of its close games, overcame tough environments on the road against Wisconsin, Nebraska, and now Penn State. Michigan is firmly in the College Football Playoff discussion (currently ranked No. 6).
“If this team continues to win out is this a playoff team?,” McGrath asked.
“Yes, without a doubt,” McNamara replied while displaying emotion.
“You’re a little emotional, why?”, McGrath wondered.
“When I came to Michigan, especially with the class we came in with — we wanted to be the change, we wanted to make a difference. This is a testament to that. The amount of guys that came in, I’ve said it multiple times before, this team is different. Couldn’t love those guys any more,” McNamara said.
.@UMichFootball’s Cade McNamara was emotional when hugging his center, Andrew Vastardis, after their win over Penn State. You love to see this kind of passion and brotherhood. When asked if this was a playoff team if they continue to win, McNamara said, “Yes. Without a doubt.” pic.twitter.com/fggfQYRjNk— Molly McGrath (@MollyAMcGrath) November 16, 2021
There’s nothing wrong with showing a little emotion like McNamara did. He’s a leader who does and says the right things. The key is to remember the journey isn’t over yet. Don’t allow the past pain to come back on November 27 when the final whistle sounds against Ohio State.