Miami QB Malik Rosier grows up fast — just in time for toughest test

Malik Rosier danced and weaved to find space through the Duke defense. The Miami quarterback was doing what he can do best for the Hurricanes during their second drive of the game on Friday in Durham, N.C., using his legs to turn a doomed play into a significant pickup for his offense.

The first-year starter had already delivered 1 touchdown throw during Friday’s 31-6 win and now, with the Blue Devils defensive ends squeezing him into the middle of the pocket, Rosier stepped up for a 6-yard gain to push No. 14 Miami all the way down to the goal line.

He had shown off his arm and had shown off his legs. Now it was time to showcase his brain.

The Hurricanes skipped the huddle and Rosier raced under center. Duke’s defense wasn’t quite set. The junior put his head down and followed his offensive line across the goal line.

“He showed a lot to me,” coach Mark Richt said during his postgame press conference at Wallace Wade Stadium. “He made some nice runs.”

Considering the level of competition, this was Rosier’s most complete performance of the season. The quarterback went 15 for 26 with 270 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He added 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground via 15 carries.

Most important, though, Rosier led Miami to a lopsided win in its ACC opener by doing a bit of everything. He spread his 15 completions out to seven different receivers. He ran as a scrambler, a keeper and a sneaker. There was only one glaring mistake for Rosier — a second-half interception when he overthrew Ahmmon Richards on a deep ball.

With Florida State waiting and Mark Walton banged up with his second injury in as many weeks, the Hurricanes needed Rosier to start playing like a veteran right about now. The timing is perfect.

“Malik for the most part played well,” Richt said. “He did some really outstanding things.”

Rosier began his day by orchestrating a rapid-fire touchdown drive. In only five plays and less than 2 minutes, Miami ripped off 76 yards through the heart of the Blue Devils defense despite getting only 3 rushing yards on 3 carries by Walton.

There were two big plays — one a product of Rosier making a smart read; the other simply a dime. Rosier’s first pass was a short one to Walton in the middle of the field. It was a checkdown, but it got his star running back open in space to rip off 39 yards. Two plays later, Rosier fired a 27-yard laser to Braxton Berrios in the seam to give the Hurricanes an early 7-0 lead.

One week after logging his first 100-yard receiving game, Berrios had another big first half as one of Rosier’s most trusted wide receivers. Richt spotlighted one connection between the two in particular after the win. It was a third-and-8 during Miami’s final drive of the first half and Duke brought the house. Rosier saw the blitz coming and found Berrios for a 25-yard pickup to put the Hurricanes at the goal line. Miami eventually kicked a short field goal to take a 17-3 lead.

“That play was a fantastic read on the coverage,” Richt said. “They brought the house. It was a zero-coverage blitz. They’re bringing more than we can block. They disguised it well, brought it late. Last second, he realized what happened and he went to the right guy with the ball.

“He threw a beautiful strike with someone bearing down on him.”

In eight days, Rosier will play on his biggest stage yet. The Hurricanes haven’t beaten the Seminoles in seven years and this time Miami will head to Tallahassee, Fla., as the team with a low number next to its name.

Question marks still surround the Hurricanes. Is Walton healthy? Is Miami simply thriving against weaker competition? Each time he takes the field, though, Rosier starts looking less like he needs to be considered part of that list.

The post Miami QB Malik Rosier grows up fast — just in time for toughest test appeared first on Diehards.

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