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The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: Toledo edition

Wins are good and this was a win

NCAA Football: Miami at Toledo Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes beat their first FBS opponent since last November with a big 49-24 win against the Toledo Rockets on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s our game recap by Austin Pert

Here’s the 3 stars from the game by Matt Washington

Here’s a look at how Miami’s offense came alive on Saturday by Dylan Sherry

And now, my friends, let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

The Good

  • Winning! Wins are good and this was a win so that is good.
  • Another week, another elite performance by WR Jeff Thomas. 5 catches for 105 yards and a TD. Simply put, we’re watching a superstar blossom before our eyes.
  • RB DeeJay Dallas. The 5’11” 220lb back came into the game and gave Miami a spark the team needed. He had 17 carries for a career-high 105 yards and a TD. This was Dallas’s first 100+ yard rushing game, but it won’t be his last.
  • DT Gerald Willis III. An unblockable monster up front, Willis has used his return to the field to showcase his talents and catch the eyes of NFL scouts across the country. 5 tackles, 3 TFLs, a sack, and drew at least 2 holding penalties against Toledo (and was held a bunch more). MONSTER.
  • QB Malik Rosier. It perfect by any stretch of the imagination (missed receivers, 56% completions, missed reads in the run game), but 285 total yards and 5 touchdowns (2 passing, 3 rushing) can’t be looked at as anything other than good. No Miami QB has thrown for 2 TDs and run for 3 more in the same game since 2004.
  • WR Lawrence Cager. Took him a while to find his way onto the stat sheet, but the junior ended with 3 catches for 67 yards and a TD. Cager only gets limited opportunities since Jeff Thomas has been playing like one of the best WRs in America, but Cager is making the most of the chances he gets. Well done.
  • S Jaquan Johnson. 7 tackles in less than a half of play. He missed the last 35 minutes of game action nursing an injury, but in the 25 minutes he played, Johnson showed why he’s an All-American.
  • 13 TFLs
  • 4 sacks
  • 4 PBUs
  • 1 interception
  • 473 yards of offense
  • 268 yards rushing at 5.1 yards per rush
  • 49 points
  • 5 rushing TDs (Rosier x3, Dallas, Gray)
  • 24 first downs
  • 7-15 on 3rd down
  • 2-2 on 4th down
  • 6.2 yards per play
  • 15.8 yards per completion
  • 14 chunk plays (5 passes, 9 rushes)
  • 0 penalties (and before you talk about the kickoffs out of bounds, those are not listed as penalties on the official stats)
  • Allowed 2-11 on 3rd downs
  • Allowed 3.1 yards per carry
  • 35:29 time of possession
  • 5-5 in the red zone (all TDs)

The Bad

  • Amari Carter missed the game because he was attending a funeral today. Prayers of peace to him and his family.
  • Malik Rosier still only completed barely more than 50% of his passes. And, missed some reads in the zone-read run game. I saw that Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald said Miami fans should be okay with Rosier’s flaws, and ignore them because the team won (and he accounted for 5 TDs today). I, however, can both appreciate the performance in scoring TDs today, while still evaluating the areas of Rosier’s performance that need improvement.
  • Offensive line. Yes, things got rolling eventually, but there was still much to be desired. Tackles need to do better. Guards need to do better. Center needs to do better. Line just needs to do better because early on the performance was deplorable.
  • Arm tackles. This was an issue vs LSU. This was an issue once vs Savannah State last week. This was an issue multiple times today. With other, better teams on the schedule through the rest of this season, Miami needs to focus on wrapping up, not just reaching for tackles. Cam Akers and A.J. Dillon won’t go down by arm tackles. Fix it.
  • Letting Toledo back into the game for a time. This was a 1 score game for a good portion of the 2nd half. This should have been 35-0 and cruising at the half, but instead it was 21-7 and much closer than it needed to be through the 3rd and into the 4th quarter. Killer instinct needs better performance. Gotta put teams away.
  • 17.1 yards per completion allowed
  • 24 points is less than what Toledo will score in almost every game this year, but they shouldn’t have had that many today, if we’re being honest.
  • Donut from the Tight Ends. Yes, I know that has something to do with the throws, but TEs were only targeted twice today. Too much talent (and INCREDIBLE mismatches vs Toledo LBs today) to have 0 from that position group.

The Ugly

  • 2 kickoffs out of bounds. Unacceptable.
  • Offensive line. Yeah, I’m putting this here too. Gotta have improvement from this position group.
  • “Playing” N’Kosi Perry for 8 plays....which were all handoffs and kneel downs. That’s not “game experience”. That’s a pacifier given to quell the emotions of a talented kid who is watching a less talented player perform in an average way. Putting Perry out for the snaps they did, the way they did, does nothing. Might as well have left Rosier out there to stat hunt for another TD instead of this farce.
  • Not adjusting to the QB run. Miami let Toledo’s QB run at will by playing man coverage with no spy watching the QB. Over and over again.
  • Playing Robert Knowles. If I’m singling out Rosier, I’m singling out Knowles. He has no business being on the field for Miami. Period.
  • NOT playing Gurvan Hall or Al Blades Jr. All this praise for their talent and developing skill, but not playing time. Got it.
  • Blown coverage on Toledo’s touchdowns. Dionte Johnson is a good WR, but even good WRs look great when 2 Miami defenders run into each other and leave the field wide open. Woof.
  • MORE wholesale substitutions on defense. I already talked about this from the LSU game, but Miami can’t sub half the defense at once. Every time that happens, the opponent takes advantage and gets a first down or a touchdown. It’s easy to see. And needs to stop.

Team Grades

Offense: C+

In spite of all the points, there were still things that need to get better on offense. The Offensive Line needs to improve. The QB play needs to improve. The conservative play calling (at times) needs to improve. And, the execution of the non-standard/conservative plays REALLY needs to improve. There were at least 2 additional TDs (could make the case for 3) that Miami left on the field. Championship caliber teams don’t do that.

So yes, I gave a C+ to an offense that scored 7 TDs today. It be like that.

Defense: B

All those TFLs and Sacks. Players flying around. It was a bit troubling to see things come apart for a bit when Jaquan Johnson and Gerald Willis were out with injuries. Tackling is still an issue, and that needs to get cleaned up. Also, I’d like to see some different rotations (i.e. different guys rotating into the game when the starters rest). Solid effort. Clean up the details.

Special Teams: C+

Bubba Baxa hit all 7 XPs (although he banked one in off the upright). 2 kickoffs out of bounds is unacceptable. It was also telling that Miami went for it on 4th down instead of trying a FG in the middle of the game. Zach Feagles punted well and averaged 41.6 per kick (though he almost had 1 blocked after a bad snap). Jeff Thomas is doing better on KR, and is always a step away from breaking it. No PR today bc Toledo went with high hangtime punts. Solid, if unspectacular, effort here today.

Coaching: C

Long stretches of nothing on offense. No adjustment on defense to go zone or spy on the QB, which let him run for yards at will. Again, questionable player rotations. And, the uber conservatism of taking a knee with 37 seconds before the half, and for THE LAST TWO MINUTES OF THE GAME is just not something I’m going to let go unchecked.

That’s it for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

I know you have thoughts, so share them in the comments section below.

Go Canes