Michigan Wolverines football is a perfect 6-0 halfway through the season. Here, we assign letter grades for each of the Maize and Blue’s position groups on offense, breaking down what they’ve done so far and any trends to keep an eye on.
Michigan Football Quarterbacks: B
Redshirt freshman starting signal-caller Cade McNamara hasn’t been dynamic this season, but he’s been extremely solid and effective at managing games, not making mistakes and delivering on the throws he needs to hit on at big-time moments.
McNamara has completed 72 of 119 passes (60.5 percent) for 986 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception and one sack taken. He’s only been asked to throw 19.8 times per game, the second-lowest mark out of Big Ten starters, but has a passer rating of 142.3 (seventh in the league) and an 8.3 yards per attempt average (fourth).
“The positive with McNamara is his quick and smart decision-making,” PFF analyst Anthony Treash wrote after the Wolverines’ 32-29 win over Nebraska last week. “He hasn’t recorded a turnover-worthy play on 84 dropbacks and is getting the ball out at one of the five quickest averages in the Power Five — 2.43 seconds. This has helped him not take a sack on 23 dropbacks and average 10.7 yards per attempt versus the blitz.
“The big question mark is his ability to accurately hit throws into smaller windows down the football field.”
Michigan has thrown a wrinkle in at quarterback the last two weeks, with freshman J.J. McCarthy receiving the first meaningful playing time of his career. The Wolverines have used him mostly as a runner on read-option plays, but he’s shown the ability to air it out when given the opportunity. For the season, he’s completed 9 of 14 pass attempts for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 17 yards and one score on eight carries, showing that the future is bright behind center.
Michigan Football Running Backs: A
We pegged the running backs as the team’s top position group coming into the season, and they’ve done nothing but exceed the already high expectations.
Sophomore Hassan Haskins and second-year freshman Blake Corum rank eighth and fifth in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game, respectively, with 82.0 and 101.7, respectively. They’re tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns, each possessing eight for the season. As a whole, the Maize and Blue have churned out 246.5 yards rushing per contest, which slots eighth nationally.
The Wolverines’ offensive philosophy has been predicated on the success of the run game, and that has started on first down. They’ve run the ball 130 times on first down (the 14th-most in college football), totaling 772 yards (5.9 yards per carry), 11 touchdowns…