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Turning Point: Cade McNamara Realizes He’s Not at Michigan Anymore

There was no repeat performance from Cade’s previous Beaver Stadium appearance, thanks to a relentless PSU defense and noisy White Out crowd.

Iowa v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

All week long leading up to the White Out showdown against Iowa, it seemed like Penn State fans were inundated with reminders about how Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara once threw for over 200 yards and three touchdowns at Penn State back in 2021 when he was playing for Michigan, including the game-winning strike to current Iowa teammate Erick All.

Cade’s second trip to Happy Valley seemed to start out well enough, just like his first time: On Iowa’s first possession, he threw a 20-yard strike down the middle to All on 3rd and 7 to move the chains. Iowa did end up punting on that drive, but were able to pin PSU inside their own 5-yard line, forcing a three-and-out and receiving the ensuing punt right around midfield just inside PSU territory. Three plays later, McNamara threw a nice shovel pass to All, who proceeded to pick up 12 yards for a first down inside the PSU red zone and put Iowa in prime position to draw first blood on the scoreboard...

Well, that was before Dani Dennis-Sutton stripped All of the football as All was fighting to pick up an extra half-yard before going down, and Curtis Jacobs pounced on the loose ball, snuffing out a promising drive and with it, any momentum the Hawkeyes had. Iowa would never get anywhere close to the Nittany Lion red zone for the remainder of the evening, and McNamara would only throw for a whopping ten more yards after the promising drive was fumbled away, finishing with 42 yards through the air.

Between not having any reliable weapons to aside from All (who only had one more reception after the fumble for three yards), no reliable rushing attack to back him up, facing constant pressure from PSU’s D-line, and having Brian Ferentz as his play-caller, Cade came to realize that this was not 2021: He was no longer at Michigan surrounded by four and five-star talent and this was a deeper, more talented, and more aggressively-coached PSU defense he was going up against. You hate to see it...