With an additional two weeks of practice in preparation for the Orange Bowl, Miami Hurricanes’ quarterback Malik Rosier has been working on the “small details” to get back on track with his passing accuracy and winning ways. Following a 10 game win streak, the Canes dropped their next two games against the Pittsburgh Panthers and Clemson Tigers. The offense was extremely limited behind two of Rosier’s worst performances statistically and was outscored 62 to 17. In these games, Rosier combined for a 46% completion percentage (29 of 63), with 297 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In addition to his staggering passing numbers, he was held in check running the ball for 50 yards on 22 attempts (2.27 yards/attempt) with a fumble.
Facing the Wisconsin Badgers highly touted defense (#3 scoring defense, #1 total defense and top 5 in first down, rushing and passing defense), Rosier cannot afford to miss scoring opportunities with open targets down the field as he has during his last two outings. Rosier will remain without his top 3 offensive weapons in WR Ahmmon Richards, TE Christopher Herndon IV and RB Mark Walton. He is 0-2 when at least one these three are unable to finish a game and has averaged only 223 yards of total offense.
An Orange Bowl win would not only all but guarantee the Canes first top 10 finish since 2003 (won Orange Bowl vs Florida State Seminoles), but a solid performance by Rosier would solidify him as the QB front runner for next year. Despite all the team and individual records that have been set and broken during the gunslingers first year as starter, Coach Richt has already announced that every position will be an open competition next year including the quarterback position. In 2017, Rosier played well above expectations and lead the Canes to their first ever Coastal Division title and ACC championship appearance. In addition, the Canes broke its 7 year losing streak to archrival FSU and he lead the Canes to a #2 ranking late in the year. Individually, Rosier is currently tied for the Canes record for most touchdowns in a season at 30 (25 pass and 5 rush) with legend QB Vinny Testaverde.
Another poor performance by Rosier will leave the door wide open for highly regarded Freshmen N’Kosi Perry (currently being redshirt) who has been taking second team reps with current back-up Evan Shirreffs. Freshman Cade Weldon is also in the mix, but has not been participating in bowl practices due to violation of team rules as reported earlier this week. The Canes also signed 4-star dual-threat QB Jarren Williams from Georgia. Rosier is welcoming all competition for next year, but in this game, he controls the outcome of the Orange Bowl and his status as the starter going into 2018.
Will a solid performance to close the season change your perception? Or, regardless of the outcome, do you want a new face under center?