Coming into this season, quarterback J.J. McCarthy was one of the most hyped Michigan players I can ever remember. He was a five- star recruit, he had shown flashes of his potential in the 2021 season, and he was thought of as the quarterback that could take the Michigan football program to the next level.
However, he was locked in a preseason starting quarterback battle with last year’s starting quarterback Cade McNamara. Moreover, this quarterback battle carried over into week 1 of the season. However, McCarthy clearly outperformed Cade McNamara is the first two games of the season and won the starting quarterback job. However, up until the Michigan at Ohio St. game this past Saturday, J.J. McCarthy’s season would best be described as pretty good at best and slightly disappointing at worst.
Despite J.J. McCarthy’s struggles at times throughout the season, Michigan went into Columbus undefeated with Ohio St. being undefeated as well. Michigan had not won in Columbus since the year 2000. If there was any game to cement J.J. McCarthy’s legacy as a Michigan legend, this game was going to be the game.
J.J. McCarthy’s First Half
Michigan’s offense struggled throughout the first quarter. Furthermore, midway through the second quarter, Michigan was trailing 10-3 and facing a 3rd and 9 from their own 31-yard line. J.J. McCarthy faced a blitz and got rid of the ball off his back foot to Cornelius Johnson. Cornelius Johnson then shook off the defender and raced the rest of the way to the end zone to tie the game at 10. Furthermore, those are the type of special throws with pressure in his face that J.J. McCarthy made in such a high stakes moment.
After Ohio State had taken the lead at 13-10 Michigan got the ball back at their own 25-yard line. On the very first play of the drive J.J. McCarthy hit a wide-open Cornelius Johnson for a 75-yard touchdown to give Michigan a 17-13 lead.
J.J. McCarthy’s Second Half
Ohio St. had taken a 20-17 halftime lead. However, Michigan got the ball first coming out of halftime. Facing a 1st and 10 from the Ohio St. 45-yard line, J.J. McCarthy lofted a beautiful pass to tight end Colston Loveland for a 45-yard touchdown to give Michigan a 24-20 lead. Furthermore, McCarthy added a rushing touchdown to put Michigan ahead 31-20 and Michigan never looked back from there.
The Legend of J.J. McCarthy
Michigan would go on to win at Ohio State by the score of 45-23. Furthermore, that puts Michigan in the driver’s seat for the college football playoff. J.J. McCarthy made all of the winning throws in this game to put Michigan over the top. He hit on touchdown throws of 69, 75, and 45 yards. He also added some big plays with his legs including a touchdown run. Furthermore, McCarthy played the game of his life on the biggest stage to cement his place as a Michigan football legend.
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski