Game Preview: Week 3 at Toledo

Paul Austria
5 min read
The 21st-ranked Miami Hurricanes needed to blow off some steam last week, and they did just that. After giving a major 77-0 drubbing to Savannah State last weekend, the Hurricanes travel to Ohio to face the Toledo Rockets at the Glass Bowl.

This is the second matchup of a previous home-and-home agreement between the two, with the Canes outlasting the Rockets 52-30 in a shootout last year in Miami. Miami QB Malik Rosier had one of his best games of the year throwing for 333 yards with 3 touchdowns while RB Mark Walton had a career high 204 yards on the ground on 11 carries. A 21-day layoff due to Hurricane Irma preceded the game for Miami, and it showed in the first half as they were actually facing a 16-10 deficit going into halftime before dropping 28 in the fourth quarter.

The big story swirling around Miami is the quarterback situation and whether or not coach Mark Richt is willing to make a change. All four quarterbacks on the roster saw action against Savannah State last Saturday, and it was a chance for coaches to get a chance to evaluate redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry. Perry got his first ever game action and performed relatively well, completing 9 of 14 passes to go along with three touchdowns. Richt reaffirmed Rosier as the starter for Saturday, but he has been noncommittal about Malik holding that spot for the rest of the season.

“The bottom line is we’re going to play who we thinks gives us the best chance of winning,” Richt exclaimed to the Toledo Blade. “That’s what we’re doing bottom line. As long as he is that, he’ll start. If we think someone else gives us a better chance to win, we’ll start that guy.”

Miami’s new freshman tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory also got valuable game action and each caught their first career touchdown as Hurricanes. Tight end had been a huge concern coming into this season with expected starter Michael Irvin Jr. suffering a season-ending injury a few weeks before the season so it will be interesting to see if this can be the start of a hot streak, especially for Jordan.

Star WR Ahmmon Richards is still recovering from a bone bruise that he suffered in the opener against LSU and will not miss this game as well. The team is being very cautious with his injury, as they are making sure that he is no less than 100%. DE Demetrius Jackson returned to practice this week, which was great news until it was announced that freshman DE Gregory Rosseau underwent surgery for his ankle, which he hurt against Savannah State and is slated to miss 4-6 weeks.

Led by head coach Jason Candle, this Toledo team is coming off a convincing 66-3 victory over VMI and the Rockets are out to prove themselves as one of the top non-Power 5 teams in the country. After a 66-3 win over VMI in Week 1, coach Jason Candle’s squad has been trying to make the most out of two weeks of preparation for the Hurricanes.

“This game’s not just another game,” Candle told the Washington Post. “We’ve had major opponents here in the past in the Glass Bowl...some major players here. “But probably none of the magnitude of the Miami Hurricanes. Yeah, I think it’s a huge deal for our city and a great opportunity for the kids.”

This will be the ultimate test for Miami’s DB’s because the Rockets have an ****nal of wide receivers. Last year’s gunslinger Logan Woodside is now in the NFL and is being replaced by Mitchell Guadagni. Prior to this season, Guadagni has only thrown six career passes, but because of how loaded the receiving corps is, he may still have a field day. Senior WR Cody Thompson broke his leg early last season but is now back at full strength, and is primed for another big season. In his absence, Diontae Johnson stepped up to the plate and had an amazing 2017 season, with 74 catches for a school-record 1,278 yards, breaking none other than Thompson’s record by nine yards in 2016.

The passing game is not a worry at all but one thing Toledo will need to establish against Miami will be the running game. When the Rockets ran for 100+ yards in a game last season, they were 11-0. When they didn’t, they were 0-3. Especially with a new QB facing his first real test, a solid running game should be a great supplement to a possibly lethal aerial offense.

On defense, expect to hear Kahlil Robinson’s name a bunch. The strong safety had 67 tackles last season to go along with 4 interceptions and was one of Toledo’s most consistent defensive players. The Rockets also return 6 starters from last season, but four of the top five tacklers are gone. Olasukanmi Adeniyi and Zach Quinn were the main anchors of last year’s defensive line with the former leading the team in sacks and the latter finishing 2nd in tackles.

Middle linebacker Tyler Taffe will be counted on to compensate for the losses along with Richard Olekanma, who had 48 and 45 tackles respectively. Aside from that, Toledo’s returning defensive ends have 0 sacks coming into this season. Pressure has to come from somewhere, as it can be a big factor into which Malik Rosier we’d be getting on Saturday.

Saturday’s matchup is set for a 12 noon start and you can catch all the action on ESPN2.

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