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After the Storm: Toledo

After the Storm: Toledo

Stefan Adams
The Miami Hurricanes won their first road tilt of the season, downing the Toledo Rockets, 49-24. Here were my impressions and grades from the game.


The quarterback play was exceptional today. Malik Rosier has been much maligned, and for good reason, but he bailed Miami out of a lot of tight spots today. When the defense was struggling and gave up 4 straight scoring drives to the Rockets, Rosier continually led big “answer” drives to ensure Toledo could never truly threaten the outcome. Yes, there were a few throws he missed, but he made some key third down passes, most notable of which was his strike across the field to Lawrence Cager in between zone coverage with pressure coming for him.

Rosier was also masterful in the read option today, pulling the ball and keeping it at the perfect times, most notably on his 37 yard touchdown run on which he bounced off a few defenders and raced to the endzone to ice the game for Miami in the fourth quarter. 13/23 (57%) passing, 286 total yards, 5 total touchdowns, and no turnovers made for a great performance from the redshirt senior on the road. Rosier became the first Hurricane QB to account for five total touchdowns since Brad Kaaya had five (four passing, one rushing) on Nov. 5, 2016 vs. Pittsburgh.


Creativity on offense. Early on, Miami threw a few different looks at Toledo: a reverse to Jeff Thomas, and a jet sweep to Travis Homer. Both plays went for nice gains and we finally got to see some variety in both formation and playcalling for the offense.


Big change with the running game. UM struggled in the first half last week to get anything going on the ground, but it was the complete opposite against Toledo. There was no slog to start the game this week, as the offensive line was getting some serious push and creating plenty of running lanes for the backs, leading to 129 yards rushing in the first half, and a whopping 269 yards rushing overall. The running game allowed the offense to string together some nice drives instead of having to rely on the big play and helped to give the defense some rest. Miami’s 14 play scoring drive in the third quarter took 6:06 off the clock and was longest of the season.


Jaquan Johnson left the game and the defense collapsed. After Johnson went down with an undisclosed injury, Toledo had four straight scoring drives. Although some of the glory should go to Toledo for seemingly figuring out the Miami defense a bit and changing up their offense by getting the QB on the move, the Canes clearly aren’t the same without their All-American safety. Hopefully Johnson’s injury isn’t too serious and we’ll see him back next week for FIU.


Welcome to the circus. Jeff Thomas continued his streak of making circus catches, with a highlight reel grab in the third quarter. First looking back over his right shoulder, the ball floated above Thomas’ head and to the left side of his body. Thomas made an amazing adjustment and caught the ball over his left shoulder sight unseen. A 41 yard gain and another huge play from UM’s main playmaker through 3 games; the catch was his 12th play of 20+ yards this season (including returns).


Gerald Willis was a beast again. Miami’s man in the middle is playing like an All-American with another 3 TFL, plus a sack today against the Rockets. Willis looks unblockable at times, and I was holding my breath when he had to leave the game for an apparent injury in the second quarter. Fortunately it was minor and he came right back in the next series. He’s going to have a huge year.


Short yardage situations have been much improved.
Miami has been inept for a few years now in short yardage situations, but it looks like they may have finally solved some of those issues. Picking up third and 4th and shorts led to a 9/17 tally on the money downs for UM down today. A lot of credit for that goes to Trayone Gray, who picked up either a first down or a touchdown multiple times today in 3rd/4th and short. Homer also picked up a 4th and 2 as well. That really changes the way you can approach first and second down playcalling when you can finally have confidence in your short game.


No shank you. Zach Feagles had struggled through the first two games, but he looked better today. 41.6 yards per punt is a more or less average day, but looking closer, he put Toledo inside the 20 twice, which should have been three times, but Homer mishandled the ball into the endzone. That’s an improvement for Feagles and the biggest takeaway? No shanks.


Grades

Offense: A

473 yards of total offense and 49 points will always play well, but Miami also played some great situational football today, converting each of their 5 red zone trips into touchdowns, and going 9/17 on the money downs. Just a great performance today by this unit.

Defense: B-

The defense was shutting Toledo out until their final drive of the first half; a touchdown just before halftime gave the Rockets some momentum and they carried that into the third quarter to four straight scoring drives. That momentum ended when Trajan Bandy picked off Toledo QB Mitchell Guadagni to start the fifth drive. Holding the high-powered Rockets’ offense to 334 yards and 24 points is an improvement from last year’s game, but the defense almost blew this game before Bandy’s pick stopped the bleeding. 13 TFL and 4 sacks look nice, though.

Special Teams: C

As discussed, Feagles looked better today. The kicking game was a huge negative, as Bubba Baxa kicked two out of bounds and the kickoff coverage gave up a long return to give Toledo great field position; Toledo scored on each of those drives. Baxa also almost missed an extra point, clanking one off the uprights and in. No big runs from the returners today.

Coaching: B+

The offensive gameplan was well put together today from Mark Richt, and Miami moved the ball down the field for a TD on their opening, scripted drive for the first time in a long time. The only 2 penalties were on the kicking game for kicking the ball out of bounds and UM had been penalty free since the first drive against Savannah State, 235 straight plays. For the second straight week, Miami has the look of a disciplined team: is this real life? Manny Diaz and the defense brings down the grade a bit for giving up four straight scoring drives to Toledo and not being able to make an effective adjustment sooner.
 

Comments (130)

meanwhile at SOTU -- hes still blaming Malik for today.
 
12 of 23 is exceptional now?
 
I'd have to add in that both M. Jackson and Bandy got toasted on long pass plays today as being a negative. Also Shaq...missed tackles and getting beat to the edge by the RB on several big pass plays.
 
Score was 49-24, brother. Don't give the bottle rockets a single extra point.
 
meanwhile at SOTU -- hes still blaming Malik for today.

13/23 against a poor Toledo defense isn't exceptional. Especially considering Toledo was playing to stop a run game that was gashing them. Malik def had his best game of the season and he made some throws but left several on the field as well. I also thought he was iffy in the zone read having a few nice pulls but several others that looked like he could have kept/handed the ball off for the better play.

Without re-watching the game, I'd give him above average pending a deeper look
 
Yeah, Malik was streaky at best today. He didn’t make any good throws actually.
He was streaky but he absolutely did deliver a couple of strikes on 3rd down in the 3rd quarter when we needed it the most
 
He was streaky but he absolutely did deliver a couple of strikes on 3rd down in the 3rd quarter when we needed it the most

I really wouldn’t call his punts to wide open receivers “strikes.”
 
13/23 against a poor Toledo defense isn't exceptional. Especially considering Toledo was playing to stop a run game that was gashing them. Malik def had his best game of the season and he made some throws but left several on the field as well. I also thought he was iffy in the zone read having a few nice pulls but several others that looked like he could have kept/handed the ball off for the better play.

Without re-watching the game, I'd give him above average to good pending a deeper look

hes never gonna be exceptional but twitter and every where else wants to blame him today when he wasnt the issue today. the real issue that kept the game closer than it needed to be was the D in that third quarter. he didnt struggle against toledo last year and didnt today, but the real test for him and the other QBs will be against ACC play where malik did struggle.
 
hes never gonna be exceptional but twitter and every where else wants to blame him today when he wasnt the issue today. the real issue that kept the game closer than it needed to be was the D in that third quarter. he didnt struggle against toledo last year and didnt today, but the real test for him and the other QBs will be against ACC play where malik did struggle.

He def struggled at times against Toledo. He started I want to say 2-6. Then hit a few in a row, missed a few. Also several of his completions WR made great adjustments or had to stop running/slow down. Defense absolutely struggled, especially when JJ went down and the dline looked a little gassed. Dline struggled to contain the QB for a stretch, especially when running stunts. Malik played well enough to win and didn't make any horrible decisions with that ball that I remember off the top of my head but he def missed some open WRs/reads. If people are calling this the 'leave Malik alone now" game I don't think this was it but he was certainly better than he's been the last 3 or 4 games or so (not counting savan st.)
 
Pretty odd that Rosier and Kaaya are the only UM Qbs to have more than 4 total TDs in a game.
 
Yeah, Malik was streaky at best today. He didn’t make any good throws actually.

Like I said, he missed some throws he could have made, but that was his best game in quite some time and he deserves that credit. Discounting Savannah State, 57% completions is a huge improvement over the last 4 games against FBS competition. He made plenty of key throws on third down while under pressure to keep drives moving and had some timely pulls on the read option.

If you actually don't think he made any good throws today, that's some serious bias against 12.
 
Like I said, he missed some throws he could have made, but that was his best game in quite some time and he deserves that credit. Discounting Savannah State, 57% completions is a huge improvement over the last 4 games against FBS competition. He made plenty of key throws on third down to keep drives moving and had some timely pulls on the read option.

If you actually don't think he made any good throws today, that's some serious bias against 12.

How sad is that?

57% an improvement
Smh
 
I get that no one likes Malik and I’m not a huge fan of him either but today he made timely plays and timely throws (Cager throw). He ran the ball extremely well. His completion percentage wasn’t great but it’s good for him lol. Just bc no one really likes him doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a little bit of credit when he makes play. I’m not a big fan but I’m still gonna root for him.
 
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