Rosier re­turns, but can’t save Canes

The Palm Beach Post - - SPORTS - Tom D’An­gelo

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. — Mi­ami’s Ma­lik Rosier said los­ing the start­ing quar­ter­back po­si­tion was “prob­a­bly the hard­est thing” he ever had to do

Then he was asked to re­lieve N’Kosi Perry on Satur­day at Vir­ginia and lead a bro­ken-down Hur­ri­canes of­fense be­hind an in­ept of­fen­sive line.

Rosier may want to re­assess which is more dif­fi­cult.

Mark Richt re­turned to Rosier, the fifth-year se­nior, af­ter fresh­man Perry was go­ing through his weekly strug­gles. But the Hur­ri­canes never found a rhythm, drop­ping a 16-13 de­ci­sion to the Cava­liers, a game that ended with the Vir­ginia stu­dents storm­ing the field.

Rosier’s num­bers were a mi­cro­cosm of what Hur­ri­canes fans be­came ac­cus­tomed to late last sea­son and early this

year. He com­pleted 52 per­cent of his passes (12 of 23) for 170 yards and tossed an in­ter­cep­tion on a ball he said was tipped at the line. He was sacked twice and pres­sured many more times.

Rosier en­tered the game early in the sec­ond quar­ter with Mi­ami trail­ing 10-0, got the Canes close enough for two Bubba Baxa field goals on his sec­ond and third se­ries and drove Mi­ami 93 yards on 11 plays, capped by his 11-yard run, for its lone touch­down

of the game with 3:04 re­main­ing.

The score pulled Mi­ami to within three points and gave it life be­fore an on­side kick back­fired, giv­ing Vir­ginia the ball at the UM 27. That was fol­lowed by two per­sonal foul penal­ties that al­lowed the Cava­liers to run out the clock.

Rosier lost his job early in Mi­ami’s vic­tory over

FIU three weeks ago, which, he of­fered, was the last time he took a snap with the start­ing unit.

Richt had stuck with Rosier af­ter the sea­son opener against LSU de­spite his un­der­whelm­ing per­for­mance, his fourth in a row dat­ing to the fi­nal three games of the 2017 sea­son, all losses.

Rosier re­bounded, but against in­fe­rior teams like Sa­van­nah State and Toledo. Still, Richt, who played the po­si­tion at UM and has ex­celled in pro­duc­ing quar­ter­backs as a co­or­di­na­tor at Florida State and head coach at Georgia, could not have felt good about the po­si­tion.

Richt fi­nally pulled the trig­ger af­ter two lack­lus­ter se­ries against FIU, in­sert- ing Perry, a move that was greeted with re­lief on so­cial me­dia.

De­spite his strug­gles, Rosier said he “was kind of blind­sided” by the bench­ing. “Me and Coach Richt talked and I ac­cepted it and I told him I would help Kosi any way I can. It was kind of hard be­cause usu­ally dur­ing the week I go with the ones and I didn’t get one rep with the ones for three weeks straight.”

Rosier said the se­niors and other team lead­ers like run­ning back Travis Homer of West Palm Beach kept his spir­its buoyed, re­mind­ing him he was one in­jury from re­gain­ing his job.

Or, as it turned out, a rough stretch by Perry.

Richt had con­sid­ered in­sert­ing Rosier a week ear­lier, when Mi­ami fell be­hind by 20 points to FSU, but stuck with Perry. The move paid off as the de­fense sparked the come­back and Mi­ami pulled out the dra­matic 28-27 win with Perry throw­ing three touch­down passes in the sec­ond half.

But even three in­ter­cep­tions from the de­fense Satur­day could not save Mi­ami from this ugly of­fen­sive per­for­mance.

r the of­fense man- aged 14 yards in the first quar­ter and Perry tossed his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion min­utes into the sec­ond quar­ter, Richt had seen enough.

Rosier, who waited three years to take over as the starter — in­clud­ing one as a red­shirt — and then started 17 con­sec­u­tive games, was asked if he was “un­com­fort­able” step­ping back into the hud­dle.

“I wouldn’t say un­com­fort­able,” he said. “Sit­ting out a cou­ple of games it felt dif­fer­ent go­ing back in. They just told me to set­tle down. I wound up set­tling down.”

Per­haps that was af­ter his first pass, which sailed over Jeff Thomas’ head as Thomas pulled up and Rosier ex­pected him to keep go­ing. It landed out of bounds.

“That’s the whole thing, we’ve got to be co­or­di­nated, we’ve got to be on the same page and every­body’s got to do what they’re sup­posed to do,” Richt said, not just about Rosier’s first throw but about sev­eral plays.

“We’ve got a lot of things to straighten out and we’ve got some time to do it.”

Richt was re­fer­ring to the 13 days be­tween games as Mi­ami (5-2, 2-1 ACC) is off this week be­fore play­ing at Bos­ton Col­lege on Oct. 26.

As to who will take the first snap against the Ea­gles, Richt cer­tainly is not say­ing now and likely never will. He’ll keep ev­ery­one guess­ing until the of­fense takes the field a week from Fri­day.

But af­ter see­ing how Perry per­formed in the first road game of his ca­reer, Richt may not have a choice, even if it is not the most pop­u­lar one.

The at­mos­phere for

BC’s Fri­day night games are at least as charged as it was at Vir­ginia on Satur­day. And we saw how the young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced Perry han­dled that.

“It doesn’t mat­ter; we don’t care,” Rosier said. “Who­ever’s in is go­ing to ball. At the end of the day that’s all we care about. Kosi’s in, I got his back.

I’m in, he has my back. (True fresh­man Jar­ren Wil­liams) is in, we got Jar­ren’s back.

“At the end of the day we’re all ca­pa­ble of be­ing suc­cess­ful. It’s up to the coaches to make that de­ci­sion, it’s up to us to un­der­stand and sup­port who­ever’s in.”

RYAN M. KELLY / GETTY IM­AGES

Hur­ri­canes quar­ter­back Ma­lik Rosier is sacked by Chris Peace of the Vir­ginia Cava­liers on Satur­day dur­ing a game at Scott Sta­dium in Charlottesville, Va. Rosier came off the bench to lead UM, but the team fell to Vir­ginia, 16-13.

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