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RECAP: Hurricanes tame Panthers, 31-17

RECAP: Hurricanes tame Panthers, 31-17

Stefan Adams
Well, that couldn’t have gone much better.

No doubt about it, the QB play was exceptional today, but it wasn’t courtesy of Malik Rosier.

On a day where the Miami Hurricanes honored their first ever national championship team and faced off against their former coach in Butch Davis, the real story was a redshirt freshman from Ocala that may have just wrote the first chapter of his legacy.

After UM opened the game with two drives that could best be described as a mix of inept and ineffective, Mark Richt pulled Rosier in what he said was a pre-planned move and inserted N’Kosi Perry. The young gunslinger did the rest, starting fast and burning hot, hitting on his first 10 passes and putting points on the board in four of his first five drives. After that, Richt admitted he could not take Perry out, and stuck with the redshirt freshman the rest of the way while the game was in doubt.

“It was scheduled that [Perry] was going to go third series," Richt said after the game. "Here’s exactly what I said to myself: I said he's going to go in the third series and we’re going to see how it goes. I kind of left it to that and I thought it was going well enough to keep him in there. That’s what happened.”

Aided by a suffocating and swarming Miami defense, the Canes cruised from there, handling Davis’ FIU Panthers, 31-17.

Early on, Perry wasn’t asked to do too much, and Richt gave him short, easy throws to work him into a rhythm. But when it came time to go downfield, Perry impressed; #5 put plenty of great throws right on target, and especially clicked with Mike Harley, who had a career day with 7 catches for 76 yards.

The Canes also saw Travis Homer get back on track after a slow start to the season, as UM’s starting tailback took a give from Perry to the left, weaved his way back right, and out-ran the defense to the endzone for a 35 yard TD scamper to start the scoring in the first quarter. Homer finished his day with 13 carries for 114 yards and the aforementioned score.

Miami fans wouldn’t have to wait much longer to see Perry join the scoring party, though. His first TD may have been his best pass of the day, a 26 yard strike to Lawrence Cager threaded in between some pretty tight zone coverage by FIU, and Perry was just getting started.

Down in the red zone, Brevin Jordan got a step on his defender and Perry lofted a beautiful ball over the top and down the middle of the field; Jordan came down with it in the endzone for an easy 12 yard TD, putting Miami up 24-0 just before halftime.

Coming out of the half and with UM driving deep in FIU territory, Perry picked up right where he left off, using his legs to scramble away from pressure and find Cager again, this time in the back corner of the endzone for a 17 yard TD. Cager finished his day with the two TD catches for 43 yards.

At the time, the game almost seemed too perfect, but before his day was done, Perry gave Richt at least one play to criticize in meetings this week. Late in the third quarter, Perry rolled to his opposite side and threw an ill-advised pass deep downfield into double coverage that was picked by the Panthers. In the end, though, Perry’s final numbers looked pretty nice: 17-25 (68%) for 224 yards, 3 TD’s, and 1 INT, along with 32 yards on the ground.

“I have a lot of confidence right now,” Perry said after the game. “When you know what you’re doing in practice, then on the field you’re going to execute. It was my time to shine and I had to step up.”

If it wasn’t for Perry, the story of the day just may have been the defense. In the week leading up to the game, FIU's offense got a lot of hype for coming off a program record 63 points the week before, but found no room to operate against the Hurricanes. Miami held FIU to 10 plays and 0 yards in the first quarter, 12 total yards in the first half, and 48 total yards through three quarters before the UM backups filtered in with the Panthers still yet to record a point. FIU finished with 187 total yards for the game.

FIU quarterbacks James Morgan and Christian Alexander didn’t have much of a chance and faced constant pressure all day from a ferocious Miami front that racked up 2 sacks, 11 TFL, and numerous QB hurries. The UM defense was led by defensive linemen Gerald Willis (3 TFL), Jonathan Garvin (2.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks) and Joe Jackson (2 TFL and 1.5 sacks).

It wasn’t all roses though, as the Canes blew their shutout with some seriously sloppy play to end the game. First, Perry ended his final drive of the game taking a sack on 4th down and goal from the FIU 2. On the ensuing Panther drive, a busted coverage in the secondary left Panthers’ receiver CJ Worton completely uncovered for an easy 35 yard score to bring the line to 31-7.

Then, Cade Weldon came in for Perry and promptly fumbled away a snap to FIU deep in Miami territory, leading to a short FG from Panther kicker Jose Borregales. Next, Cager mishandled the FIU onside kick, leading to a Panther recovery and another Worton touchdown grab moments later.

With the clock just under 2 minutes, Miami mercifully recovered FIU’s final onside kick to end any slim chances of a comeback. Final: Miami 31 FIU 17.

After the game, Richt did not commit to one QB or the other for next week’s game against North Carolina (“We’re going to run whoever I think gives us the best chance of winning, that’s who’s going to play”), but one thing is for certain: Miami’s future looks a little bit brighter today.


Game Notes

**Miami Starters:

**Offense: #12 QB Malik Rosier, #24 RB Travis Homer, #9 TE Brevin Jordan, #18 WR Lawrence Cager, #4 WR Jeff Thomas, #7 WR Brian Hightower, #78 LT Tyree St. Louis, #50 LG Venzell Boulware, #74 C Tyler Gauthier, #62 RG Hayden Mahoney, #55 RT Navaughn Donaldson

**Defense: #97 DE Jon Garvin, #9 DT Gerald Willis III, #93 DL Pat Bethel, #99 DE Joe Jackson, #55 LB Shaq Quarterman, #56 Michael Pinckney, #53 LB Zach McCloud, #28 DB Michael Jackson, #5 DB Amari Carter, #22 DB Sheldrick Redwine, #2 DB Trajan Bandy

**Team captains Saturday were #13 RB DeeJay Dallas, #9 DL Gerald Willis III, #5 DB Amari Carter and #56 LB Michael Pinckney.

**DB Amari Carter, OL Venzell Boulware, and WR Brian Hightower all made the first starts of their Miami Hurricanes careers Saturday vs. FIU.

**The 1983 University of Miami national championship football team was honored at halftime in a ceremony featuring more than 50 former players, coaches and staff from the team.

**Miami has won 11 straight regular season games at Hard Rock Stadium; its last loss came on Oct. 15, 2016 vs. North Carolina.

OFFENSIVE TEAM & INDIVIDUAL NOTES

**The Hurricanes totaled 488 yards of offense - 248 rushing yards and 240 passing yards - Saturday in their 31-17 win over FIU.

**Homer's 100-yard game was his first of 2018 and fourth of his career.

**Miami’s first scoring drive of the game - a 9-play, 87-yard drive that took 4:44 to complete and resulted in a TD run by Homer in the first quarter - was its longest scoring drive of the season by yards. It was Homer’s first touchdown run of the season.

**TE Brevin Jordan totaled a career-best 67 receiving yards and one touchdown - his third of the season.

**WR Jeff Thomas left the game with dehydration issues. Richt said after the game that Thomas is fine and could have returned, but they held him out for precautionary reasons with the game in hand.

DEFENSIVE TEAM & INDIVIDUAL NOTES

**DB Sheldrick Redwine wore the Turnover Chain for the second time this season with a second-quarter interception of FIU QB James Morgan. The interception was Miami’s fourth of the season.

**Three players tied for the team lead with five tackles: DL Gerald Willis, LB Shaq Quarterman and DL Jon Garvin.

**DL Gerald Willis III upped his team-leading TFL total to 10.0 for the season with 3.0 tackles for loss vs. FIU. It was Willis’ third game of at least 3.0 TFLs this season.
 

Comments (18)

I like Richt but if he somehow goes with Rosier he should be fired mid-game
 
Butch looked like a guy who didn’t really know why he was where he was at. Dude needs to go back to ESPN
 
Stefan, you forgot to mention black cleats and socks looked really sweet.
 
Great write up Stefan. Not worried about the finish with 3rd stringers as we look forward to a short week in ACC play.
The biggest question is how bad are the VT and BC losses to our schedule?
 
He can start Perry, and put in Rosier if he’s not doing well.
 
Butch looked like a guy who didn’t really know why he was where he was at. Dude needs to go back to ESPN
That's because he realized how far he truly is from competing on the national level...
 
That's because he realized how far he truly is from competing on the national level...

Eh, he's just happy to end his coaching career on the sidelines in Miami instead of blackballed. Would be great if Richt made Butch a coach emeritus and just had him pitch in with recruiting (especially evaluating high school prospects). If we won another ring they'd both get a statue.
 
Serious question for OP:

Was Perry's play beyond "exceptional"?

Because last week 57% was "exceptional"; that would make 68% beyond "exceptional".
 
What happened to JT? I missed first part of game.
 
Eh, he's just happy to end his coaching career on the sidelines in Miami instead of blackballed. Would be great if Richt made Butch a coach emeritus and just had him pitch in with recruiting (especially evaluating high school prospects). If we won another ring they'd both get a statue.
Or DC after Manny gets that HC job everyone keeps saying we need to worry about. DL looked like the guy accross the field in the sun coached them. Dline was great today.
 
What happened to JT? I missed first part of game.

Dehydration issues

From Richt: “Jeff had dehydration. Jeff had a kick return, had a punt return, was running routes, doing all those things – it just got to him. We kept him out, more for precaution. We think he’ll be fine. He feels fine right now. We don’t think there’s any long-lasting effects, other than sometimes you get behind the eight-ball when it comes to hydration in this heat and humidity. As much running around as he was doing, that added to it, for sure.”
 
Dehydration issues

From Richt: “Jeff had dehydration. Jeff had a kick return, had a punt return, was running routes, doing all those things – it just got to him. We kept him out, more for precaution. We think he’ll be fine. He feels fine right now. We don’t think there’s any long-lasting effects, other than sometimes you get behind the eight-ball when it comes to hydration in this heat and humidity. As much running around as he was doing, that added to it, for sure.”

Thanks. JT4 started the season as the best WR. Don’t want to to lose him.
 
Glad JT4 aiight, kid's a gamer. Harley stepped up HUGE today and seized every opportunity he had. Kosi just spreads the ball around. If I'm a croot I'm licking my chops to play with a guy like that.
 
Feagles is still a problem. I saw at least one off the side of his foot. There has to be someone better.
 
31-0 and the ball on the 2 yd line and we somehow not only blow the cover (-26) but also my 10 pt teaser cover (-16).

#DamnitMane
 
09/04 @
ALA
Loss 44 - 13
09/11 vs
APP
Win 25 - 23
09/18 vs
MSU
Loss 38 - 17
09/25 vs
CCSU
Win 69 - 0
09/30 vs
UVA
Loss 30 - 28
10/16 @
UNC
Loss 45 - 42
10/23 vs
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Win 31 - 30
10/30 @
PITT
Win 38 - 34
11/06 vs
GT
Win 33 - 30
11/13 @
FSU
Loss 31 - 28
11/20 vs
VT
Win 38 - 26
11/27 @
DUKE
Win 47 - 10
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