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How J.J. McCarthy silenced the doubters to get Michigan back in the CFP

The Wolverines starting QB is heating up at the right time.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

At the beginning of the season, Michigan Wolverine fans were clamoring for J.J. McCarthy to be QB1, and rightfully so. In limited time last season, McCarthy shined more often than not and showed incredible talent. The fan base was extremely excited to see McCarthy be the leader of this football team.

McCarthy’s time came and he shined in the first three games against Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn. But as the season went on and the passing game became a little stale, he picked up some doubters.

The passing game was seemingly non-existent once Big Ten play started. Many wondered if the reason was because of running back Blake Corum and the fact the Wolverines didn’t need a passing game to cruise through the schedule. Others believed McCarthy was not capable of leading a successful passing attack. There were some issues hitting deep passes and some other inconsistencies that led to those doubts.

Let’s fast forward to the Illinois game real quick. Corum gets hurt and Michigan’s offense is struggling mightily. This is when the doubters were at their loudest.

The Wolverines managed to win the game thanks to some clutch plays down the stretch from McCarthy. They were 11-0 and headed to Columbus as big underdogs to play 11-0 Ohio State. Nobody outside of the Michigan fan base gave McCarthy and the Wolverines a chance in this one.

So what did McCarthy do? He put on his best performance of the year and helped lead Michigan to a 22-point blowout win by throwing for three touchdowns, two on the deep ball that everyone said he couldn’t hit, and rushed for another. That’s what great players do when adversity hits.

When it mattered most and everyone doubted him the most, McCarthy delivered. He followed that up with another great performance the next week against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship with three more touchdown passes. He silenced the doubters and is now talked about as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.

The job is not done, however, and McCarthy will be the first one to tell you that. He has shown the offense can put up points even with their best weapon out due to injury, but there’s still at least one more important game left.

Possibly the most important thing McCarthy has shown the last two games is superb confidence. He has delivered and has silenced most of the people who didn’t believe in him. If he continues to play with confidence and keep delivering accurate passes, as well as hitting on the deep ball a time or two per game, he’ll keep those naysayers silent.