The Palm Beach Post

UM’s Perry takes over at QB, sparks victory

Hurricanes backup QB sparks easy win over crosstown rival.

- By Tom D’Angelo Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

After two middling drives with Malik Rosier at the helm, Canes coach Mark Richt goes with his backup, gets 31-17 win over FIU.

MIAMI GARDENS — Mark Richt’s plan entering Saturday’s game against FIU was to insert backup quarterbac­k N’Kosi Perry on Miami’s third series.

But the Hurricanes coach probably didn’t expect the move to force him to think about a change at the position.

After two unimpressi­ve drives with Malik Rosier in the game, Perry jumpstarte­d the UM offense, leading touchdown drives on his first two series. Perry, a redshirt freshman, remained in the game until midway through the fourth quarter, leading the Hurricanes to an easy 31-17 victory over their crosstown rivals at Hard Rock Stadium.

Miami (3-1) built a 31-0 lead before FIU (2-2) scored all of its points in the final seven minutes. Perry completed hisfirst 10passes. He finished 17-for-25 for 224 yards and three touchdowns, with one intercepti­on.

“It was scheduled he was going to go third series,” Richt said. “It went well, so we kept him in there. Overall he did a really good job.”

Richt, though, is not ready to anoint

Perry as his starting quar- terback for Miami’s nation- ally televised game against day North night. Carolina on Thurs- “We’ll decide that this week,” Richt said.

The victory was the third straight for No. 21 Miami against overmatche­d opponents. After dropping the opener to LSU, the Hurricanes have defeated Savannah State, Toledo and FIU by a combined 157-41. Perry’s had 48 Miami’s total three job yards first a defense lot entering downs easier. made and FIU the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes entered the game lead- ing the nation in tackles for losses and had 11 against the Panthers, including three by Gerald Willis. Here are our five take- aways:

1. Perry is the best option: ESPN analyst Andre Ware said Perry has made it tough for Richt to “take him off the field.” Perry ener- gized Miami’s offense from his first snap. His opening drive went 87 yards, UM’s longest of the season, and ended with a 35-yard scoring run by Travis Homer. Perry then capped a 68-yard drive with a 26-yard scoring pass to Lawrence Cager.

Perry added touchdown passes of 12 yards to tight end Brevin Jordan and 17 yards to Cager. Perry was replaced by through Cade the Weldon fourth midway quarter. Perry then returned for the final series of the game after FIU made it a two- score game.

“I felt good,” Perry said. “It felt like what I’m used to. I was very comfortabl­e.”

2. Defense continues to set the tone: Miami’s defense has not disappoint­ed this season. The Hurricanes entered the game allowing 236.0 yards a game, fourth nationally, and 136.7 passing yards a game, ninth nation- ally.

yards win One over of week Massachuse­tts, offense after totaling in a 63-24 FIU 536 had quarter zero and yards 14 in in the the first second. The Panthers finished with 17 yards rushing on 24 attempts. “Our guys were dominant,” defensive coor- dinator Manny Diaz said.

Willis said the key was stopping the run. “We knew FIU loves to run the ball a lot,” he said. “I told the D-line we have to just stop them with (tackles for losses).”

3. Homer breaks out: Junior running back Travis Homer (Oxbridge Acad- emy) had his best game of the season, rushing for 114 yards on 14 carries and scor- ing a touchdown. Homer appeared to be losing his grip onthe starting job with DeeJay Dallas’ emergence, but he looked confident from the start and helped open up the passing game for Perry. Homer entered the game averaging a career-low 4.5 yards per carry; he averaged 8.8 against FIU.

4. Thomas leaves the game: Receiver Jeff Thomas, Miami’s most explosive player this season, was taken to the locker room in the first quarter after suffering from dehydratio­n. Thomas played only one series. He had one catch for 11 yards and a long punt return for an apparent touchdown that was nullified by a holding penalty.

Richt said Thomas, who entered the dayleading the nation with 27.6 yards per catch (11 for 304), felt fine after the game.

“Jeff had a kick return, punt return, was running routes, doing all those things and it got to him,” Richt said. “So we kept him out more for precaution.”

5. Harley steps up: Sophomore receiver Mike Harley took advantage of Thomas’ absence and had the best game of his career with seven catches for 76 yards.

“Me and Mike know each other,” Perry said. “Mike had to step up. I knew Mike was ready for the moment and he capitalize­d.”

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 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Miami quarterbac­k N’Kosi Perry tries to elude FIU defensive lineman Noah Curtis on Saturday. Perry entered in relief of Malik Rosier after two series and soon the Hurricanes had a 31-0 lead.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Miami quarterbac­k N’Kosi Perry tries to elude FIU defensive lineman Noah Curtis on Saturday. Perry entered in relief of Malik Rosier after two series and soon the Hurricanes had a 31-0 lead.

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