Right in the middle of what was a 7-5 rollercoaster of a regular season for the Miami Hurricanes, was a quarterback controversy. Who eventually came out on top was redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry, and the Ocala native proved to those who had not only anticipated his debut, but also doubted his ability and skills as a starter.
Dating all the way back to when he entered UM as a freshman, people have been waiting for #5 to be the man under center at quarterback. Then, with the Hurricanes facing FIU in late September, fans and Perry finally got their chance.
Throughout the 2018 regular season, Perry appeared in 10 games, started six of them, and compiled a 4-2 record, even though he played less than a half in a 16-13 loss to Virginia, while tossing 13 touchdowns.
Highest TD% of QBs with at least 75 pass attempts:— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) October 10, 2018
1. Tua Tagovailoa: 16.8
2. Kyler Murray: 15.6
3. N’Kosi Perry: 13.3
4. Dwayne Haskins: 12.6
5. Will Grier: 11.9
via @SportsInfo_SIS pic.twitter.com/jU9XMpVCPX
While indeed Perry showed signs of immaturity as a first-year starter would, he also gave us glimpses of greatness, and moments that Canes fans won't soon forget.
Nothing was more memorable than his performance against Florida State, when Miami found themselves down 27-7 to their arch-rivals in the third-quarter. With a little help from their defense, Perry engineered a furious comeback, tossing three touchdowns in the second-half alone, and leading the Hurricanes to a 28-27 victory. His final score came on a 41-yard dime of a throw to tight end Brevin Jordan in the fourth-quarter.
Amidst a mid-season off-the-field situation, Perry still rallied his team when he was given back the starting-role by coach Mark Richt. In the final two games of the regular season, Perry and the Miami offense did just enough to defeat Virginia Tech and Pitt.
With Perry came a mobility in the pocket and awareness of the defense that Miami fans hadn’t seen from a quarterback in quite some time, and the offense sure was different when #5 was in. His ability to spread the ball around to nearly every receiver, such as Mike Harley Jr. or Lawrence Cager, is something that coaches have taken notice of.
Going up against the Badgers in the Pinstripe Bowl, Perry will need to duplicate his performances against FIU and Virginia Tech in order for Miami to win. A victory for the Hurricanes over Wisconsin would give the program and Perry himself a much-needed confidence boost going into the future.