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Michigan's McCarthy: My goal is to bring national title to Ann Arbor

Ben Jackson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is setting lofty goals after leading Michigan to a 13-1 record in his first season as a full-time starter in 2022.

"My 1A goal is bring a national championship to Ann Arbor; 1B is to never lose to (Ohio State)," McCarthy told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

The Wolverines have earned a berth in the College Football Playoff in two straight seasons, yet they're 0-2 in the CFP semifinals after losing to Georgia (2021) and TCU (2022). The program is seeking its first national championship title since 1997.

"We're just so close," McCarthy said.

McCarthy flourished last season after beating out Cade McNamara for the starting role. He passed for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, and five interceptions, with a 64.6% completion rate. He added 305 rushing yards and another five scores on the ground.

The quarterback, who threw for a career-high 343 yards and three total scores against TCU - but was also responsible for two pick-6s - remains haunted by the loss.

"It's a whole different pain that I've felt and one that's still driving me today," he said.

Michigan president Santa Ono believes that the team is well prepared to channel that loss as motivation in 2023.

"We have an enormous talent - everybody knows that. Probably one of the best teams I've ever seen," Ono said.

Several Wolverines starters from last season will return for the upcoming campaign, including Blake Corum, Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, and Donovan Edwards.

While his top goal remains a work in progress, McCarthy's next priority of besting Big Ten rival Ohio State has come to fruition so far. Over the past two years, the Wolverines have overwhelmed the Buckeyes, including a 45-23 victory last season.

"That's not always going to look pretty, but we just got to keep pushing, keep pushing and growing in every aspect, and we'll be where we want to be by Nov. 25," McCarthy said.

The reigning Big Ten champions will open the 2023 season against East Carolina on Sept. 2.

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