Perry to start against Tech

‘We’ll start out with N’Kosi and see how it goes,’ Richt says

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS FRIDAY - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos

Af­ter an ugly, mud­soaked loss to Duke last Satur­day that marked the Hur­ri­canes’ third straight de­feat, Mi­ami coach Mark Richt said he wanted to see which of his play­ers — par­tic­u­larly his quar­ter­backs — would earn the right to play at Ge­or­gia Tech.

It ap­pears af­ter sev­eral prac­tices, red­shirt fresh­man quar­ter­back N’Kosi Perry has done enough to once again earn Richt’s trust.

The coach an­nounced Thurs­day that Perry — who has played in seven of Mi­ami’s nine games this sea­son, start­ing three of them — will start Satur­day against Ge­or­gia Tech at Bobby Dodd Sta­dium in At­lanta.

“I think both Ma­lik [Rosier] and N’Kosi prac­ticed well. I thought they both com­peted well and we’re just mak­ing a de­ci­sion based on what we think gives us the best shot,” Richt said.

Whether both Perry and Rosier will play Satur­day, though, re­mains a ques­tion. Richt had said ear­lier in the week it was his in­ten­tion to pick one quar­ter­back and stick with him for the du­ra­tion of the game, but he some­what backed away from that stance af­ter the Hur­ri­canes had wrapped up their fi­nal prac­tice for the Yel­low Jack­ets (5-4, 3-3).

“That, I can’t just sit there and say for sure,” Richt re­sponded when asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of both quar­ter­backs play­ing. “We’ll start out with N’Kosi and see how it goes.”

All sea­son, the Hur­ri­canes have al­ter­nated quar­ter­backs and faced ques­tions at their most vis­i­ble po­si­tion. Rosier — the red­shirt se­nior who led Mi­ami to 10 straight wins last sea­son — started Mi­ami’s first four games be­fore he was re­placed by fan fa­vorite and for­mer four-star prospect Perry.

But with both Rosier and Perry strug­gling at times and post­ing sim­i­lar num­bers, Richt has found him­self ro­tat­ing quar­ter­backs, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing Mi­ami’s three-game los­ing streak.

Af­ter Rosier started against LSU, Sa­van­nah State, Toledo and FIU, Perry started against North Carolina, Florida State and Vir­ginia.

But at Vir­ginia in the first road start of his young ca­reer, Perry threw two early in­ter­cep­tions as the Hur­ri­canes fell into a 10-point deficit.

Richt then opted to give Rosier, who last sea­son led Mi­ami to dra­matic come­back wins against Florida State and Ge­or­gia Tech, the op­por­tu­nity to try and spark the Hur­ri­canes in Char­lottesville.

There was no come­back that night, with Vir­ginia hang­ing on for a 16-13 win.

But Rosier kept his job and started Mi­ami’s next game at Bos­ton Col­lege and last Satur­day’s game against Duke.

Against the Blue Devils, the Hur­ri­canes con­tin­ued strug­gling to score, though, and Richt gave Perry the chance to play, the younger quar­ter­back see­ing ac­tion on six se­ries, in­clud­ing the last four.

Mi­ami again came up a touch­down short, but with Perry un­der cen­ter, the Hur­ri­canes drove down the field on their fi­nal pos­ses­sion, some­thing Richt said Thurs­day helped him come to the de­ci­sion to start Perry this week.

En­ter­ing Satur­day’s game against Ge­or­gia Tech, Perry has com­pleted 52.4 per­cent of his passes for 701 yards and 11 touch­downs with five in­ter­cep­tions. Rosier, mean­while, has com­pleted 53.5 per­cent of his passes for 1,007 yards and six touch­downs with five in­ter­cep­tions.

“I’ve got­ten to see N’Kosi con­tinue to grow as a quar­ter­back and con­tinue to keep his work ethic up and he had a good week of prac­tice,” Richt said. “I feel like even the last game that he was in, that very last drive of the game, if we don’t get a push-off in the end zone … he took us down the field when we needed it the most. And, of course, he had some great mo­ments in the Florida State game, too, when we needed it the most. He’s played some ball now and I think he’s more ready to­day.”

Homer con­tin­ues to im­prove: Run­ning back Travis Homer, who has dealt with a strained calf since the Duke game, con­tin­ues to im­prove, and could play this week against Ge­or­gia Tech.

The for­mer Oxbridge Acad­emy stand­out did not prac­tice Tues­day and was lim­ited in Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion. But Richt said he prac­ticed Thurs­day and that “we feel good about him play­ing.”

Homer has a team-high 702 rush­ing yards and two touch­downs.

While Homer has been lim­ited in prac­tice, Richt said fresh­man run­ning back Cam Davis — who has ap­peared in just three games and has only six car­ries — got ex­ten­sive work in prac­tice and should see in­creased play­ing time against the Yel­low Jack­ets.


Mi­ami quar­ter­back N'Kosi Perry passes dur­ing last week’s game against Duke. Perry will start Satur­day’s game against Ge­or­gia Tech.

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