Rosier returns, but can’t save Canes
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.”
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.