After boosting Michigan Wolverines football team last week, quarterback Cade McNamara expected to start today
ANN ARBOR — Michigan desperately needed a player to produce and provide an emotional lift.
Cade McNamara delivered, replacing Joe Milton in the second quarter of last week’s 48-42 triple-overtime win at Rutgers.
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh seemed to say McNamara did enough to win the job shortly after that game. Two days later, he pumped the breaks to perhaps give Penn State some doubt about who will take the first snap on Saturday at the Big House.
“I’m not going to make any dramatic announcement,” Harbaugh said.
Michigan defensive back Vincent Gray, though, shared what didn’t seem to be much of a secret: “From the looks of it, I think Cade’s gonna be starting.”
McNamara began 2020 third on the depth chart behind Milton and Dylan McCaffrey. The brother of Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey chose not to come back to the program this fall for a fourth season and Milton simply did not produce enough to keep his job.
McNamara replaced Milton against Rutgers, throwing four touchdown passes and running for another.
McNamara believes he is ready to lead Michigan (2-3) against the Penn State (0-5) in his first start.
“I feel like I’ve done enough for me to be in that position,” he said. “That’s coach Harbaugh’s decision, whatever is best for the team.”
Penn State’s Blues
The Nittany Lions have opened a season with five losses for the first time in school history. Penn State’s turnover-prone offense has led to the defense giving up 30-plus points in six straight games, dating to last season, in what has easily been the worst stretch in program history.
Michigan defensive tackle Donovan Jeter has moved into the startling lineup, a reward for offseason training that started last winter and continued back home in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
“There will never be a time when you work hard and it doesn’t pay off,” Jeter said.
The senior played sparingly in the past and allowed a poor performance against Wisconsin last year to affect him after the final whistle.
“I got mentally tougher,” Jeter said. “I played horribly against Wisconsin and that affected my mindset the rest of the year. I told myself, `I’m never going to have that feeling again.'”
Sticking with Quinn
Michigan senior Quinn Nordin missed three field goals at Rutgers after making 12 straight. Harbaugh quickly dismissed the idea that Jake Moody would get another chance after he missed three field goals in the season-opening win at Minnesota.
“Quinn is the field goal kicker,” Harbaugh said. “Jake is doing kickoffs.”