Connect with us


Michigan Wolverines football: JJ McCarthy gunning for program record in 2023

JJ McCarthy is looking to write his name into the Michigan football record books this fall.



Michigan Wolverines football, JJ McCarthy
Sep 17, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) rushes in the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines are coming off their winningest season in program history, with a record of 13-1 and a Big Ten title under their belt. However, their 2022 campaign ended in disappointment as they lost to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl by a mere six points. To finally compete for a national title in the upcoming 2023 season, the Michigan Wolverines football offense needs to step up, and that will begin with JJ McCarthy.

As a rising junior and second-year starter in the Maize and Blue, the weight of the world rests on Michigan’s former five-star quarterback. McCarthy’s margin for error is slim if Michigan is to compete for the title this year, particularly in the later stages of the season. With a lot on the line and massive expectations this fall, JJ McCarthy could be eyeing a Michigan Wolverines football program record right now. The most touchdowns that a quarterback has ever thrown in the Maize and Blue is 25, set in 2004 when Chad Henne led his team to a share of the Big Ten Championship, which was the Wolverines’ most recent title until Jim Harbaugh’s squad won back-to-back conference titles in 2021 and 2022.

Michigan football quarterback JJ McCarthy looking to break Wolverines’ passing record in 2023

Nearly 20 years ago, legendary quarterback Chad Henne tied the Michigan football single-season passing touchdowns record on his way to a Big Ten title. This coming fall, the record may finally be broken by the young and talented JJ McCarthy, who is now yet a junior in the winged helmet.

Last season, McCarthy came close to breaking or tying the record despite not starting in Week 1 against Colorado State. He threw 22 touchdowns and five interceptions, a few of which came in the CFP loss on New Year’s Eve, during his first year as Michigan’s starter. Reports from spring ball indicate that Michigan football is developing its quarterbacks, especially McCarthy, at an impressive rate. He has bulked up, become faster, stronger, and has been hitting every throw so far.

Moreover, the Wolverines have added a new pass-catcher, AJ Barner, and have revamped their offensive line, which could be even better than before. Additionally, Michigan football currently has only one play-caller on the offensive side of the football, O-line coach Sherrone Moore, who may be looking to open up the playbook more in the second year of the JJ McCarthy era.

It would be criminal to not let JJ sling it this fall

JJ McCarthy is a former five-star talent with both the arm and legs to match his highly sought-after rating. Over his two years on Michigan’s sideline, McCarthy has impressed nationally, especially towards the end of the 2022 college football season when he took over and dominated against Ohio State and Purdue. Despite throwing two game-defining pick-sixes against TCU, McCarthy still played one of the best games of his career. If he can eliminate those mistakes this fall, Michigan football will have one of the best offenses in the sport.

With many challenges ahead for the Wolverines, McCarthy appears to be the centerpiece of what could be Michigan’s first national title run since 1997. If the offense opens up and allows JJ McCarthy to showcase his talents more this fall, as many believe it will, Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines football program will have a new single-season passing touchdown leader by 2024. This offense is built to succeed, and JJ’s talent will undoubtedly shine through if given the chance.

Thank you for reading Blue by Ninety. For more Michigan Athletics content from Blue by Ninety, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at Also, be sure to check out our shop and our podcast, which is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and all other streaming platforms. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing and most influential Michigan media outlets there is!

CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball. Right now, CJ is the publisher of Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. Previously, CJ has made stops with Fansided, The Michigan Daily, and more.