In his first extended game action, QB N’Kosi Perry posted 224 yards, 3 TDs, and a completion percentage of 68% on Saturday, a performance that gave the Canes’ offense new life.
Looking like a seasoned veteran in the first half, N’Kosi completed 10 passes in a row and led the ‘Canes to a 31-point lead in the 3rd quarter. There were a couple ‘rookie’ mistakes, as he threw an ill-advised interception, and missed a couple throws; but his energy and coordination with the offense was refreshing for the fans.
In his post-game presser, Mark Richt said that the starter for the North Carolina game would be the player who “gives us the best chance to win.” A reasonable statement - but can we assume that N’Kosi will be named the starter? Will we see a similar situation in which one quarterback starts the game, and the other takes over if the starter struggles?
What Miami has on its hands is no longer a quarterback problem - it’s a full-on quarterback battle. We can now see the arc that the position contest has had. Malik started against LSU due to experience, with Perry seeing action against some lesser opponents; but now Richt views N’Kosi as ready to lead the team.
North Carolina is Miami’s first ACC opponent, so it’s reasonable to assume that Malik may get the start; but at least we know that he’s on an extremely short leash. Last week, Malik Rosier put on one of his best performances as a ‘Cane, but was benched after just 2 drives against FIU. That in itself, is the decision making we all wanted to see from Richt.
If this is indeed the next chapter, then the ceiling is extremely high. Perry electrified the offense, a feeling that would only happen surrounding the defense. Perry is also still growing as a player - whereas Malik has plateaued. We witnessed Richt’s realization of this, as previously it was thought that Richt would stick with Malik, regardless of the outcome.
Regardless of who starts on Thursday, it’s safe to assume that Perry will see the field unless Malik Rosier plays extremely well, which has proven to be unreliable. Until then, we can appreciate the move that Richt made, and the upside of Perry’s game.