Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy made the fifth start of his career in Michigan’s 31-10 win over Indiana, and it’s clear he’s getting more comfortable on the field.
McCarthy had a smooth 304 yards passing with three touchdowns and one interception. McCarthy was 28-of-36 on the day and really got cooking in the second half, going 15-of-18 for 175 with all three of his touchdown throws.
Blake Corum had a 50-yard run during Michigan’s first drive, but the Indiana defense started stacking the box to limit the ground game. McCarthy had to keep the chains moving for Michigan down the stretch, and he delivered.
“Us as an offense, we’re multi-dimensional,” McCarthy said after the game. “If they’re stopping the run, we’re gonna hit them through the air. If they’re stopping the air game, we’re gonna hit them on the run.”
Michigan’s weapons at wideout and tight end were on display in this one, with McCarthy hitting Ronnie Bell, Luke Schoonmaker, and Cornelius Johnson for big plays. Bell had 11 receptions for 121 yards, Schoonmaker hauled in nine receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown, and Johnson had four receptions for 58 yards with two touchdowns. These are just a few of the weapons on Michigan’s offense, and there’s plenty more like Donovan Edwards, Roman Wilson, and Andrel Anthony to name a few.
“Even today, I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface yet of our potential. Once this offense comes together, and once we play as a cohesive unit and we are in rhythm — naturally, we’re gonna be a very dangerous offense. But we haven’t even scratched the surface yet for that.”
McCarthy noted that he’s feeling more at ease operating within Michigan’s offense as a passer and as a runner.
“I feel right at home right now in just my comfortability but being able to utilize my legs more on those third downs whenever something’s not open. Being able to use that God-given ability. Consistently making the right decisions, consistently putting the ball where it needs to be and just commanding the field out there. There’s so many things that I can improve on. There’s so many things I’m gonna see on the film that I can improve on, but it’s just the consistency that I’m really striving to get toward.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was very pleased with McCarthy’s performance as well. Of course there’s room for improvement but it’s hard not to be pleased with his output.
“I love the way that J.J. responded. He was so cool and calm back there,” Harbaugh said. “A couple first downs with his legs, and he was pretty much on the money. 300 yards, it’s kind of cool. I think a lot of quarterbacks that have been around, when they get that first 300-yard game, ‘I can do this now. I can really do this.’ And that that usually bodes well and propels them onward.”
McCarthy’s ceiling remains sky-high and Michigan’s lucky to have him at the helm of an offense that could become very dangerous in the days ahead.