Leading up to the game, Harbaugh announced that Cade McNamara would start the first game against Colorado State and J.J. McCarthy would get the start the following week against Hawaii.
Harbaugh also noted that it was quite possible that both McNamara and McCarthy would see the field in both games as he looks to make a decision on who will be the starter by the time the Big Ten season rolls around.
Jim Harbaugh says J.J. McCarthy was ‘electric’ against Colorado State
Well, Jim Harbaugh did make sure to get J.J. McCarthy in the game against Colorado State and he played very well, completing 4-of-4 passes for 30 yards while rushing three times for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Following the game, Harbaugh spoke to reporters and he said that McCarthy was “smooth” and “electric” when he got in the game.
“J.J.’s starting next week, so it’ll be different in that way,” Harbaugh said. “But yeah, things were operating really smooth in the first half. Finally said, ‘OK, let’s get J.J. in there.’ And he was electric when he got in, had no question about that. Thought he also went through his reads very well. Great to see him calm, cool, collected. It’s been conveying: he’s doing a great job, too, and really improved a lot, as you’d really expect going from your freshman year to your sophomore year.”
When asked about McCarthy slowing the game down compared to last year, Harbaugh said that was spot on.
“I would say that, yeah. I think you hit the nail right on the head, I think it’s slowing down. Really good players have the ability to do that. They’re feeding off a real adrenaline there. But the game slows down around them. I see that from Donovan Edwards. Nobody’s a gamer like Donovan Edwards, but you can really see the game slowing down for him, as well. It’s a real superpower.”
“That’s what I would point to. Just calmly going through your reads, looking for the downfield throw, but you’re not gonna fight the dropping defenders and check it down. He did a couple times very effectively today. The one to Bredeson, the one to the running back.”
As far as things changing when McCarthy gets in the game, Harbaugh pointed to the “electric-type” ability that McCarthy has when he is running with the ball.
“They’re similar, they’re pretty similar. A couple of quarterback runs — the one he scored on the touchdown was a designed quarterback read-option. It was good — I don’t think anybody laid a hand on him. He’s got that electric-type of ability when he’s running with the football. Thought he acquitted himself really well.”