Cade McNamara will likely miss the remainder of the 2023 season with a knee injury that he suffered against Michigan State. The news coming out of Iowa City is not what anyone hoped. But it’s not a surprise given what we saw unfold on the field. McNamara planted with his left leg before buckling to the turf early in the team’s fifth game of the season. He had to be helped off the field, putting no weight on his left leg. McNamara was later carted off of the sideline before returning to his team in street clothes and crutches with his left leg wrapped.
Cade McNamara Injury History
The injury to Iowa’s transfer quarterback is devastating for the team, but more importantly, for McNamara himself. He battled back through a difficult road to recovery throughout the 2022 season in Ann Arbor with a right knee injury. McNamara went down in a Michigan uniform in September of last season against UConn. The injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season before he announced his transfer to Iowa in December of that year.
His recovery in Iowa City limited his ability to play in spring practice. McNamara was involved in seven-on-seven drills but did not participate in the scrimmage sessions. His absence gave Deacon Hill a lot of repetitions with the starters through spring and into the summer.
During the annual Kid’s Day scrimmage in August, McNamara went down in a similar way to his September 30th injury, but with the other leg. He planted with his right foot and crumpled to the turf. He hopped up under his own power before removing himself from practice. That time, McNamara suffered only a soft tissue injury to his quad. It was, however, on the same leg he injured a year prior with Michigan.
After battling through rehabilitation, and playing the first four games of the year at less than 100%, McNamara was finally entering a game at near-full strength. It was the blackout game against Michigan State last weekend. McNamara led a 53-yard drive on the opening possession of the game that resulted in a field goal. On the second drive of the day and Iowa’s ninth offensive play, he stayed down on the turf.
The sequence of events over the last year-and-a-half has been nothing short of grueling for the Hawkeye signal caller. His transfer to Iowa and immediate leadership in the program ignited life in the players, coaching staff, and fanbase. It attracted three other skill-position players to Iowa City via the transfer portal this past offseason. McNamara was voted a team captain ahead of the 2023 season. His injury is incredibly unfortunate for him and for Iowa with all the expectations he brought to the program.
Deacon Hill’s Team
It is now Deacon Hill’s team. The former Wisconsin Badger transferred to Iowa around the same time as McNamara. At 6-3 and 258 pounds, Hill is not a prototypical quarterback. He has a Ben Roethlisberger presence in the pocket with his size and slings the football with poise in the pocket reminiscent of former Hawkeye Nate Stanley. Hill’s time spent with the starters in the spring, summer, and much of Fall camp seemed to be valuable in his relief of McNamara against the Spartans. He finished with 115 yards, a touchdown, and an interception on a batted ball. Most importantly, Hill looked comfortable in the pocket despite it being his first significant action of the year. We’ll know more about the status of McNamara as the year progresses. But for now, Iowa is in good hands at the quarterback position with a guy the team is already rallying around.