If there was a defining moment that told me N’Kosi Perry should clearly be the starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes, it was yesterday against Virginia Tech.
The moment? Miami has the ball on their own 29-yard-line, and just over three minutes to go before the half, trailing 14-10. To say the redshirt-freshman was masterful would be an understatement, but he was so much more. Perry went four-for-five, converted a third-down, ran for a 13-yard-gain, and then finished off the drive by sneaking it in himself for a touchdown, as the Canes took a 17-14 half-time lead, stealing the momentum for the Hokies.
N'Kosi Perry threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and @CanesFootball snapped a four-game losing streak with a 38-14 victory against Virginia Tech.— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) November 18, 2018
If Perry isn’t able to orchestrate that drive, then possibly the Hurricanes don’t have the momentum to come-back in the second-half, and we may even be looking at a 5-6 Canes.
With the Hurricanes desperately needing a win to even become bowl-eligible, Perry and Miami delivered. Perry finished the day going 21-for-34, 171 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushing for a score as Miami was able to rip off a 38-14 victory, ending their four-game losing-streak.
Perry’s first touchdown pass came after a Shaq Quarterman interception set up the Hurricanes inside the Va Tech five yard-line. The very next play Perry found Darrell Langham for a three-yard score.
Later in the game, Perry hooked up with running-back Cam’Ron Davis for a 16-yard touchdown, putting the game away in the third-quarter.
Throughout this sometimes disastrous season for Miami, the biggest controversy and headlining topic has been that of the quarterback situation. Mark Richt started Malik Rosier to begin the year, then started Perry for three games, before going back to Rosier, and ultimately giving the starting position to Perry once again.
In that time, we’ve seen Perry grow up tremendously. From having accuracy issues and throwing interceptions, to the come-from-behind win against FSU, to the bad start at Virginia that led Richt back to Rosier, and even the video of Perry with loads of cash.
Leading up to even this game, when news broke of former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant scheduling a visit to Miami next week, Perry put it behind him and led Miami to a win in Blacksburg.
Kept waiting to see N'Kosi Perry show us he could fake the handoff, keep the ball and run on the RPO. He's finally showing us he can today.— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) November 17, 2018
Against Virginia Tech Perry was at times masterful. The first Miami drive was a perfect representation of that, when the Ocala native ripped a beautiful pass to Lawrence Cager on a third-and-11 down the middle for a 33-yard-gain, setting up a later field goal.
N'Kosi Perry's pass to DeeJay Dallas marks the 12th different Hurricane to catch a pass today. pic.twitter.com/0MOHUjBQUF— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) November 17, 2018
Now, does he have room to grow? Obviously, no question. There were times against Virginia Tech where Perry’s youth showed, like his completion to himself that went for negative 15-yards. It is very clear however, that when Perry is under-center for Miami, the Hurricanes offense looks and feels different.
Dear staff,— rOmaN (@romancane) November 18, 2018
FACTOR KOSI IN THE RUN GAME MORE
He's winning his 1v1 today.
Of note this was 20 set with deejay and cam in the backfield. pic.twitter.com/rMwtbMSVkz
The results are also different when Perry is starting. In games where Perry has either started or played the majority of the game (FIU), Miami’s offense is averaging 28.8 points per game. The games where Rosier is starting (Savannah State excluded), the Canes are scoring just 21 points a game.
And it’s not just Perry at quarterback that gives Miami fans hope for the future, but his receivers as well. Yesterday against the Hokies, Perry connected with 11 different Hurricanes for receptions, 10 of those players are juniors or younger.
So with one regular season game remaining before a bowl game as well, it seems as if Richt and his team have found their definite starting quarterback, though we’ve known it was Perry for quite some time now.