Cade McNamara takes blame for Michigan loss: 'We just came up short and that's on me'
East Lansing — Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, often praised for his leadership prowess, shouldered the blame for the Wolverines’ first loss of the season.
McNamara was 28-of-44 for 383 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran twice for 23 yards in the Wolverines’ 37-33 loss at Michigan State on Saturday. Freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy was 3-of-4 for 23 yards and a touchdown, and he also had three carries for seven yards.
“We just came up short, and that’s on me,” McNamara said. “I didn’t execute good enough for us to win this game.”
He was asked to expand on why he placed the loss on himself.
“Thought we did a good job executing on third down,” he said. “The O-line was giving me time, and I was able to deliver some balls to the tight ends and the receivers. We were moving the ball well. I think we had a couple plays, especially, there’s a few plays that stand out, it’s not many, but I need to do better. I just can’t do that at the end of the game. I’ve got to check it down or something. That’s about it.”
The timing of McCarthy’s entrance in the game with 7:17 left and Michigan clinging to a 33-30 lead was curious considering the way McNamara had moved the ball.
McCarthy fumbled for the second time, this on the exchange with Corum. MSU would turn that into the eventual game-winning score.
“That exchange didn’t go smoothly,” Harbaugh said.
The weather may have contributed.
“The weather was starting to get a little bad,” center Andrew Vastardis said. “Keeping my hand dry. Ball was a little slick. We’ll get better at it. Keep practicing ball security. It’ll get fixed. Stuff like that happens in a competitive game. It’s nobody’s fault. We’ve got to play a little cleaner and keep harping on the ball security.”
Harbaugh was asked if McNamara was dealing with an injury and that’s why he wasn’t in the game.
“He was working through something at that point,” he said.
McNamara, after the fumble, went to the medical tent.
“I got a little beat up multiple places. I had to see what the doctor said,” McNamara said. “I was still good enough to play.”
McNamara returned to lead the offense, but the next possession, the Wolverines turned it over on downs. They got the ball with 1:15 left and McNamara threw an interception.
McNamara targeted tight end Erick All 12 times, and he made 10 catches for 98 yards. Anthony had 155 yards on six catches and was targeted 10 times. Nine different players caught passes. The knock on McNamara this season has been the lack of a seasoned pass game. Perhaps he silenced some critics.
“I really don’t really care about that,” he said. “We lost, and that’s what I care about.”
Receiver Andrel Anthony, a freshman, was credited with a six-yard rush against Northwestern a week ago, but he made his real collegiate splash against MSU.
He had six catches for a game-high 155 yards and two touchdowns, including a 93-yarder for the first score of the game.
“I’m proud of Andrel,” McNamara said. “He had a hell of a game. He hasn’t seen a ton of experience and then he came out today, balled out. Proud of him. That’s something that I could be confident throwing to him for sure.”
Not the plan
Brad Robbins punted after the Wolverines’ opening drive of the second half, but what looked like a fake on the 4th-and-six was really the product of a miscue.
“As he was dropping the ball, it slipped out of his hands to punt it,” Harbaugh said. “It was as designed punt.”
Robbins was stopped short of the first down.
Aidan Hutchinson on if he felt like Michigan was in control with a 30-14 lead: “I thought we made some really good adjustments. Felt we were really stopping them well. At the end of the day, we just weren’t executing our game plan. Thought we had the momentum, things were rolling our way, just couldn’t capitalize completely on that momentum like we’d like to.”