Malik Rosier scampers out of bounds for a gain of eight yards – an otherwise routine play for the University of Miami quarterback. The Hurricanes were driving down the field in the hostile confines of Doak Campbell Stadium, home of in-state nemesis and ACC foe, The Florida State Seminoles.
What the play-by-play summary doesn’t mention was the block felt throughout the stadium.
After taking the snap, Rosier quickly deduces that he should keep the ball on the read-option with RB Mark Walton. Toward the left side of the formation, tackle KC McDermott is able to create an alley for Rosier to run by walling off FSU linebacker Jacob Pugh in the inside of the formation.
Seeing daylight, Rosier scampered to open space along the left side of the formation. Seminole defensive end Josh Sweat gave chase as the UM QB gained five yards on first down. Florida State safety A.J. Westbrook came down to the play, hoping to minimize the damage on the QB run. Westbrook had his sight locked to end the run with a push out of bounds.
Within a heartbeat, Westbrook found himself lying on his back with teammates and doctors concerned over his health.
Miami WR Ahmmon Richards descended on the Florida State safety with one of the most devastating blocks delivered by any Hurricane, let alone a receiver. It was a major boost to a struggling Hurricanes offense that was unable to string together successful drives in the first half. On the previous play, Richards had dug Miami out of 3rd and 20 after hauling in a 32-yard reception on a go-route.
On the following play, it appears that Richards was running another deep route up the field, shadowed by the FSU CB Tarvarus McFadden in man coverage.
At the top of his route, Richards circles back facing the line of scrimmage catching sight of Rosier scrambling for yardage. Seeing his QB race toward the sideline, the sophomore receiver injects himself into the play. Lowering his shoulder on his unsuspecting prey, No. 82 drives his shoulder into the right arm of Westbrook, who crumbles to the grass and slides toward the Miami sideline in obvious discomfort.
The block seemed to resuscitate an offense that was a corpse of itself in the first half. Coaches, players and fans felt the electricity that the hit brought to the team, providing a jolt to the ’Canes momentum on the drive as well.
Ahmmon Richards finished the game with four receptions for 68 receiving yards. However, nearly two years after the fact, you could make the case that a block on an eight-yard run was one of the best highlights from an incredible career.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!