It is no secret that the Miami Hurricanes’ offense has gone MIA (missing in action) for extended periods of time in every game this year and while there are multiple factors that have caused this inconsistency, the up and down play at the quarterback position has been a key factor. In his ninth career game as a starter on the biggest stage (so far), Malik Rosier had his worst performance statistically against the #13 Virginia Tech Hokies and their top rated defense. After setting a personal best in passing yards (356) last week, the young gunslinger was held to under 200 yards passing for the first time in his career and for the third time this year he completed less than 50 percent of his passing attempts. Rosier only connected on 10 of 21 attempts and these miscues led to his first career multiple interception game with three turnovers on three consecutive drives during the second and third quarter.
However, in true Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fashion, Rosier’s good-side out shined all of the bad as he was able to fill the stat sheet in various categories as Coach Mark Richt open up the playbook considerably. On the Canes’ second offensive play from scrimmage, Rosier caught (yes, caught) the first pass of the game for a 17 yard reception. When asked about it post-game the QB(/WR) said “it was actually kinda fun and I laughed after I got hit.” [After the hit, VA Tech’s CB Adonis Alexander, asked him why he was laughing he said] “It was my first reception then I got up and ran away”.
After showing off his route running and catching ability, he displayed what has become his knack, the ability to make big plays down field. Coach Richt stated that the “game plan was to be aggressive and take shots” and they took shots all game. Sixty percent of Rosier’s completions went for 18 yards or more, and two other long throws led to pass interference penalties. Two passes were over 40 yards and one to TE Christopher Herndon IV went for 43 yards and a touchdown halfway through the third quarter to put the Canes up 21-10.
The story of this game was not a 75+ yard drive paired with a miraculous throw and catch in the last seconds like previous games, but rather this Top 15 showdown was well in-hand before the 4th quarter behind the legs of Rosier. Whether the call was a QB design run, read option keeper or an attempt to extend plays in the passing game, Rosier amassed 84 yards on 13 carries. This 6.5 yard average came on the #1 rushing defense in the ACC that gave up only 3 yards a carry coming into this game. Rosier’s added running element opened up opportunities for Miami’s running backs, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas, who had a big day averaging 6.8 and 5.3 yards a carry respectfully. Behind great play from the offensive line and outstanding downfield blocking by the receivers, the Canes finished with 219 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Hokies had only given up 2 touchdowns in the past eight games and only gave up 200+ once in Week 1.
Malik Rosier finished with 294 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns in a week that began with limited practice with an injured shoulder. This performance lead the Canes to their first decisive win of 2017 beating the favored Hokies by 18. They won their previous four games by a total of 18 points. Malik Rosier is now 9-0 as a starter and the Canes are 8-0 on the seasons and hold the longest active FBS win streak at 13. This past Saturday, the Canes proved that they are now relevant in the ACC and now look to prove they are relevant on the National stage as they host the #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Be it with his legs, throwing, receiving or his intangibles, can Rosier lead the Canes to another program redefining win on Saturday under the Miami lights when the stage is even bigger than the last week?
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