Larry Blustein

Miami Hurricanes Host UNC Tonight, But Who Will Start At Quarterback?

Alex Donno
September 27, 2018 - 10:47 am
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The 16th ranked Miami Hurricanes (3-1) will look for their fourth straight victory when they open up ACC play tonight from Hard Rock Stadium. Miami welcomes in the 1-2 North Carolina Tarheels.

The headlines surrounding Canes football this week have had little to do with tonight's opponent. They've been all about the quarterback position. Will it be fifth year senior Malik Rosier under center, or will redshirt freshman N'Kosi Perry get his first career start? Perry took over in Miami's third series against FIU and finished the game. He looked sharp and in control, completing 17 of his 25 attempts for 224 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. 

We have a quarterback controversy brewing in Coral Gables. Head coach Mark Richt has not tipped his hand just yet on who will get the nod, and why should he? North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora is forced to prepare his team for two possible quarterbacks. On Monday, Richt updated the status of his quarterback decision. 

"I know this -" Richt said – I’m going to continue to watch practice, and let everybody know what’s up when it’s time to let them know. I’m not telling what’s up. I had a little fun today, a little running back drill, I know how much you all watch it and I saw you all scribbling down there. I got a good chuckle on that one. Malik [Rosier] got first-team reps, N’Kosi [Perry] got first-team reps, [Cade] Weldon got some first-team reps. We think all three of those guys have gotten to the point where they’ve earned the right to play. We’re going to continue to watch them practice and see who we think is the best guy to help us win.”

Expect Perry to get the nod

To me, N'kosi Perry should be and will be the Miami Hurricanes' starting quarterback moving forward. I'm fully expecting him to be leading the huddle when tonight's game begins. 

Last Saturday's 31-17 victory over FIU was his final exam, and he passed it with high marks. 

Richt revealed during the game that his plan all along was to sub in Perry for Miami's third offensive series, no matter the score or the situation. Had Perry struggled, Richt would have gone back to Rosier for the third quarter. He didn't struggle. In fact, he competed his first 10 passing attempts. 

Rosier reached his ceiling long ago. We know his limitations, with accuracy and decision-making being at the top of that list. He still holds the advantage over Perry in experience, but Perry's ceiling appears virtually unlimited at the moment. An in-form N'Kosi Perry could very well give Miami the best chance to close out another Coastal Division title. If you face Clemson again in the ACC Championship (likely), Perry could be the man who gives you the best chance in that matchup, too. But he only gives you a chance to beat Clemson in December if he learns on the job from September to November. 

No Ahmmon

Hurricanes junior receiver Ahmmon Richards will miss his fourth consecutive game with a knee injury. Thankfully, receiver has been Miami's deepest position. Jeff Thomas has been brilliant, hauling in 12 catches for 315 yards and two touchdowns. He's averaging 26.3 yards per reception. 

6'5" Lawrence Cager is really becoming a weapong. He's up to 4 touchdowns on the year, while Mike Harley and tight end Brevin Jordan have become two of Perry's favorite targets. Jordan has 3 touchdowns on the year so far. 

A healthy Richards could bring Miami's receiving corps to another level, but they have the luxury of not needing to rush him back. 

Running game back on track

Miami's starting running back, Travis Homer, had his best performance of the season last Saturday. The junior rushed for 114 yards on 13 carries and scored a touchdown. Miami rushed for 248 yards as a team, with Lorenzo Lingard (50 yards) and N'Kosi Perry (32 yards) also helping the cause. 

Don't sleep on UNC

Some fans will hit the snooze button on this matchup, but it might not be as easy as advertized. UNC's 1-2 start is ugly, but they do come off a victory over Pittsburgh. Starting quarterback Nathan Elliot was tremendous last Saturday, throwing for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns in that win. 

UNC suspended 13 players back in August for selling their team-issued Jordan brand sneakers back in January, an NCAA violation. All but one of those players will be reinstated in time for this matchup. The Tarheels are virtually back to full strength for the first time this season. 

At receiver, Anthony Ratliff-Williams will provide a challenge in coverage for Miami's corners. He averages 20.9 yards per catch and leads UNC with 230 receiving yards. 

GAME TIME

Tune into North Carolina at Miami TONIGHT on 560 WQAM. Kickoff is set for 8:00pm with Joe Zagacki, Don Bailey Jr. and Josh Darrow on the call. Our pregame coverage will begin at 4:00pm.