Nearly a year after Michigan’s 11:34 loss to Georgia in the semifinals of the 2021 College Football Playoffs, Wolverines quarterback JJ McCarthy said he still remembers the “deep pit of regret” he felt after losing in upset his stomach, but thought about how the loss served to fuel their 13-0 season and return to the playoffs.
“It sure was a shared sorrow,” McCarthy said Tuesday, speaking ahead of Michigan’s semifinal game against TCU. “It boosted the whole off-season. We hit it really hard straight away… we still ride it.”
McCarthy said the past year has become a benchmark for Michigan this season that they not only wanted to meet, but to surpass. They knew they could beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten, so they did it again, and now they want to prove they can win a playoff game too.
“Not only are we glad to be here, we want to get over it,” McCarthy said.
He’s not the only one who thinks the Wolverines are better prepared for the task at hand this time.
“The detail and preparation that goes into every game is a lot better this year,” said wide receiver Ronnie Bell. “There’s a lot of times last year where players were really lost and really needed the coaches to help them figure out what’s going on. And then there have been times this year where it’s been, boom…if we’re gone or we miss something, it’s the players’ turn.”
Bell said McCarthy’s improvement and growth is evident with every snap he takes. From taking part in that game against Georgia and throwing for a touchdown in a loss, to being the turning point on offense when he ran back Blake Corum with a meniscus injury, the spotlight has suited him well.
“He’s just more confident,” said co-offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore. “He’s always had the same toxic behavior but you can see him growing in his decisions and how he cares about the ball and how he runs and does things that he does to help us win.”
And McCarthy had to do just that. With Corum, Michigan was and is without its best player and had to take a slightly different approach on offense. McCarthy said he didn’t feel the offense changed with Corum, but that he felt he needed to “bring more to the table”.
“All he did was improve and keep playing better,” Bell said. “He inspires me in almost every game.”
Bell has good company. After Michigan beat Ohio State that season, McCarthy received a direct message on Twitter from a fellow Michigan resident, Tom Brady, who congratulated McCarthy on the win and wished him well for the rest of the season. The response was hard-earned and summed up McCarthy’s journey thus far: he’d first texted Brady when he arrived in Ann Arbor, and now the seven-time Super Bowl champion had reached out to him.
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/35328803/michigan-hoping-avoid-regret-last-year-cfp-loss Michigan hoping to avoid ‘regret’ from last year’s CFP loss