Late last year, excitement was palpable amongst Hawkeye fans when it was revealed that a former Michigan quarterback who helped lead the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and playoff berth announced that he was transferring to Iowa.

However, with the black and gold set to face Utah State on Saturday, September 2nd, there is uncertainty about who will be under center for Iowa. The mystery only intensified when the involved parties met with the media yesterday.

Iowa's new quarterback, 23-year-old Cade McNamara, is listed as "questionable" for the season opener. This designation is in spite of the fact that McNamara has began practicing following a right leg injury he sustained earlier this month. Iowa Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk Ferentz called McNamara's injury a "soft-tissue strain:"

The thing we have to judge as we go along is how effective can he be? Can he go out and perform in a way that is representative of the kind of player he is? It's kind of day by day. We'd obviously love to have him out there, but we also want to make sure he can perform at a high level.

McNamara, who is looking to reestablish himself as a quality starting quarterback after only starting one game at Michigan last season, said he'd let the coaches determine his status against the Aggies:

I'm progressing every single, I'm feeling a lot better.  I'm just really excited to get out there with my teammates [.....] That decision [to play] is really going to come down to the coaches and the medical staff.

If McNamara is inactive on Saturday, the likely backup is Deacon Hill, a former Wisconsin Badger who didn't attempt a single pass last season.

Cade McNamara was welcomed by the Hawkeyes following an erratic year from Spencer Petras, who was benched several times last season due to poor play. Petras' backup, Alex Padilla, announced he was entering the transfer portal last season and has since joined the SMU Mustangs.

Photo Credit: Matthew Holst, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Matthew Holst, Getty Images

McNamara's time at Michigan will mostly be remembered for his 2021 season, which saw the Wolverines enter the college football playoffs hot off a 12-2 record with McNamara at the helm. That year, McNamara completed over 64% of his passes, and tossed 15 touchdowns to six interceptions. Primarily a pocket passer, McNamara only averaged 37 yards rushing.

To start the 2022 season, Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh had McNamara compete with J. J. McCarthy for the starting job. While McNamara started the first game of the season for the Wolverines, McCarthy took over from there, leading Michigan to a 12-0 record with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. Michigan just beat undefeated Ohio State 45-23 last week.

Ferentz is clearly keeping the season in mind as opposed to the season opening matchup against a team believed to be a significantly inferior opponent. The Hawkeyes are currently 24.5 point favorites against Utah State:

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But what it boils down to is can he play effectively, and then second thing is, to your point, is that going to knock him out for three weeks if he does play. We have to be smart about that.

Read more about Cade McNamara's questionable status for Saturday on ESPN's website.

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