All offseason long, folks wondered just how well the ACC could respond to losing a number of quarterbacks to the NFL. A quarter of the way through the season, the answer in Miami sure seems to be that the Hurricanes will be one of the teams that are just fine on that front.
Signal-caller Malik Rosier out-dueled his highly touted counterpart at Duke on Friday night and helped lead Miami to a 31-6 win that gives the team a solid inside track in the Coastal Division race.
Rosier didn’t have an incomplete pass until well into the second quarter as part of a hot start and wound up finishing with 270 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to go with another 45 yards and a score rushing. While things didn’t quite come as easy for the redshirt junior in the second half, it was nevertheless another quality start for a team that moves to 3-0 ahead of their big rivalry game at Florida State next week.
While it was a good night for the quarterback, star running back Mark Walton didn’t quite have it so easy. Though he broke off a few nice runs throughout the evening, he finished with just 51 yards on the ground and was injured in the fourth quarter that saw him limp off with a leg injury. Backup Travis Homer promptly ripped off a 40 yard touchdown on the next series to seal the victory after taking over in the backfield.
Not everything went well on the night for the ‘Canes however. Punter Zach Feagles made the highlight reel in a way no specialist wants to by booting a negative one-yard punt (that wasn’t blocked) in the third quarter. Yes, really.
As for the Blue Devils, they were on the verge of getting right back into things several times throughout the game but never could turn the corner. QB Daniel Jones had his moments, but was under pressure all night and managed just 166 yards on 21 completions while also tossing an interception. Though he did everything he could with limited options, the team went just 5-of-19 on third down and converted just one of their fourth down attempts.
Given the ACC Coastal chaos we’ve seen in the division in the past, a loss by no means knocks Duke out of the title race. Still, the big takeaway from Friday night came on the other sideline as Miami took home a victory and made another big step in the right direction under Mark Richt.