Though it was by no means a bad performance — 220 yards and two touchdowns with a 69% completion rate — quarterback J.J McCarthy struggled to hit the long pass for a majority of the game, only snapping the cold streak deep into the fourth quarter.
Following the game, McCarthy acknowledged these missed opportunities but praised his team’s grit in the win.
“I’d probably say that it definitely wasn’t my best performance and I want some things back,” McCarthy said. “But I was happy with the way we moved the ball in times we needed to respond. That was a good team out there, Marylands got a great defense and a great offense and I was just happy with the way we responded when adversity creeped in.”
When asked specifically about his near-chances with Andrel Anthony, McCarthy placed no blame on the reciever.
“I don’t think (timing between him and Anthony)’s the issue at all,” McCarthy emphasized. “I take full responsibility for all those throws that I missed on him. My arm was feeling like a 110% today and it’s been a while since it felt like that, so being able to go through the practices this week and being able to adjust and dial it back a little bit more is gonna be huge.”
In contrast to McCarthy’s comments, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh took a more complementary approach when assessing his quarterback’s play.
“You know I think he did a lot of great things,” Harbaugh said. “The game on the line throws to Roman, to Ronnie Bell, just to name a couple. I thought he worked the ball to (Luke Schoonmaker), and just kinda settled into good, fundamental football.”
No quarterback is immune to mixed-bag performances, and with McCarthy facing his first true formidable competition this week, it was perhaps obvious in hindsight there would be growing pains. With the Wolverines facing a stalwart Iowa defense next week, however, it will be a point of intrigue to see how fast the sophomore can apply the lessons from this weekend.