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AJ Dillon returns to power Boston College past Miami

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With Doug Flutie in attendance for some ACC action, Boston College (6-2, 3-1 ACC) didn’t need a Hail Mary to knock off  Miami (5-3, 2-2 ACC) on Friday night. AJ Dillon rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown in his return after missing two games and the Boston College defense forced a pair of turnovers that led to 10 points in the second half as Boston College topped Miami 27-14. The win helps keep Boston College in contention for the ACC Atlantic Division and muddies the waters a bit for Miami’s bid for a return trip to the ACC Championship Game.

Once Boston College took a 27-14 lead in the third quarter, the Eagles certainly gave Miami opportunities to get back in the game. But Miami turned the football over on downs after picking off a Boston College pass, and another turnover on downs followed a missed Boston College field goal. Two empty possessions after Boston College failed to tack on to their lead ultimately assured a defeat for Miami, making for a longer trip home than the Hurricanes would have preferred.

Boston College didn’t waste much time getting running back Dillon in action. Dillon took off for a 25-yard run on his first carry of the game and he would create some plays out of nothing a few more times in the game. Boston College also relied on some trick plays to make some big plays in the first half. But in the second half, Boston College didn’t have to dig into the bag of tricks much to put the game out of reach. It was the Boston College defense that helped create opportunities, with an interception of Malik Rosier giving the Eagles just 14 yards to go for a touchdown to create a double-digit lead. One play after Taj-Amir Torres picked off Rosier, Dillon took off to the right side of the field for a 14-yard score.

Rosier started off having a somewhat effective game for Miami as he returned to the starting role, but he ended the night with two interceptions while completing 18 of 35 passes for 149 yards. Rosier also rushed for s team-high 72 yards. Similarly, Boston College’s Anthony Brown completed 15-of-28 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Brown also rushed seven times for 44 yards and caught a 27-yard pass from Jeff Smith.

The win moves Boston College to 3-1 in the ACC, nudging the Eagles just past NC State for second place in the Atlantic Division behind unbeaten Clemson ahead of Saturday’s games. Already having clinched a third straight bowl-eligible season under Steve Addazio, the Eagles will now look to take the next step forward. After two straight years with seven wins, Boston College is in a spot where they can begin focusing on a larger goal. The seventh win could come next week on the road at Virginia Tech, with the Hokies really struggling at home the past few weeks. After that is a big home game against Clemson, the team everyone in the ACC is chasing at the moment. First place in the ACC Atlantic Division could very well be on the line in two weeks in Chestnut Hill. (It’s worth mentioning Boston College has already lost to NC State, so a win by the Wolfpack at Syracuse on Saturday would keep Boston College in third place in the division at the end of the weekend).

Meanwhile, Miami still has a lot of football to be played and is still in the running for the Coastal Division for a second straight season. Two straight losses in ACC play puts the Hurricanes behind the curve and one of the teams they are chasing for the top spot, Virginia, owns a head-to-head tiebreaker with them. It will be all division games from now until the end of the regular season for the Hurricanes though, and they figure to play a significant role in how the Coastal Division is settled. Miami will look to snap out of their losing skid next week at home against Duke.

Boston College and Miami locked in tight ACC Friday night contest at halftime

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Boston College wasted no time getting star running back AJ Dillon involved and the Eagles pulled out a few tricks to mess with Miami, and that has helped lead Boston College to a 17-14 lead on the Hurricanes at halftime in Chestnut Hill.

Boston College had an impressive first quarter and has put up 294 yards of offense at halftime on one of the ACC’s top defenses. Dillon has rushed for 80 yards, including his 25-yard run on the first carry of the game. He has had a couple of big runs, but Miami has kept him out of the end zone.

Malik Rosier, as previously reported, got the start at quarterback for Miami, and he has been on target with short and accurate passes. Rosier completed eight of his first nine attempts for 77 yards and a touchdown as Miami looked to keep things pretty simple on offense.

Boston College was the first to put points on the board with a touchdown pass from Brown to Jeff Smith at the end of a 10-play, 88-yard drive on the first offensive series of the game for the home team. Miami tied the game on the ensuing possession with Darrell Langham making an impressive catch that was initially called incomplete but was overturned for a touchdown upon video replay review to confirm he had possession of the football and one foot down before falling out of bounds on the edge of the endzone.

Boston College scored a touchdown on the next drive and added a field goal to build a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. A DeeJay Dallas touchdown run of 10 yards cut into the lead to make it 17-14.

Miami’s defense has typically been solid all season long, so seeing them get confused at times tonight has been surprising, but this is still anyone’s game going to the second half. If Boston College can keep finding ways to stun Miami’s defense, the Eagles could pull this one out. The stakes for the division races for each are pretty high, with both Boston College and Miami in position to challenge for their respective division championships.

Mark Richt going back to Malik Rosier at QB

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Earlier this week, Miami head coach Mark Richt suggested he was going to take time in the off week to assess the state of the program in all areas. The quarterback position was on that to-do list, and it appears Richt is starting his changes in the off week by getting Malik Rosier ready to hop back in the saddle of the Miami offense.

Speaking on the ACC coaches conference call on Wednesday, Richt said Rosier will return to the role as starter for Miami when the Hurricanes come off their bye week on the road next week at Boston College. Rosier will take over as the starter after a rough performance by N’Kosi Perry in a road loss at Virginia. Richt did say both of his top quarterbacks should be expected to play against Boston College, suggesting there is now a bit of an open competition for the starting job right in the middle of the season.

Perry replaced Rosier as Miami’s starter at the end of September, a month that saw Rosier start the year leading Miami’s offense and getting thumped by an LSU program that has clearly made a name for itself after their week one victory over the Hurricanes. Miami’s offense put up points in games after that, but Perry appeared to give the offense a brief spark that was missing with Rosier on the field. But, that ride has ended for Perry for now.

Coming out of a bye week for the second half of the season with an open-ended question at quarterback is far from ideal, but making a decision on who will start the next game and making the change now, during a bye week before a road game in ACC play (and a possible must-win situation for Miami), makes sense for Richt if the goal is to have his starting quarterback as prepared as possible.

Mark Richt: Malik Rosier is the starting quarterback, for sure

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The Miami Hurricanes will have absolutely no quarterback controversy in 2018. Head coach Mark Richt said in a one-on-one interview with ESPN that Miami’s starting quarterback will be Malik Rosier.

Malik is the starting quarterback, for sure,” Richt said to David Hale of ESPN.com. “Someone’s got to dethrone him. Someone’s got to beat him out if that’s going to happen. It’s not like — to say it’s wide open, every position is wide open because we want a competition at every level. Every player that comes back talks about the greatest competition they had was on the practice field. And I also want to go into this season with a sort of first-year mentality. Let’s go compete. Show us you’re ready to take somebody’s job. But Malik is the starting quarterback, and he’s going to be unless somebody knocks him off the perch.”

Richt was careful not to shy away from the idea that he wants competition at every position, which every coach would like to see even at positions with clear starters, but Richt is also aware of the value of having your mind made up on a position as important as the quarterback position as well. Although Rosier may not have ended the season the way Miami would have hoped, he still did plenty of positive things to lay claim to the starting job ahead of the spring, which should allow Miami to be able to build and move forward as an offense and a program.

“Was he consistent every game, every series? Probably not, but the guy made some plays that were game-winning plays,” Richt explained in a follow-up question. “The Notre Dame and Virginia Tech games, those were less dramatic than five other games we played. Plays just had to be made.”

Rosier completed 54.0 percent of his pass attempts for 3,120 yards and 26 touchdowns with 14 interceptions for Miami last season. The Hurricanes played in their first ACC Championship Game (losing to Clemson) and played in the Orange Bowl (losing to Wisconsin). Entering his senior season, Rosier will hope to cut down on some mistakes to help Miami take the next step as a program.

No. 6 Wisconsin holds off No. 10 Miami in Orange Bowl; Big Ten goes 7-0 in bowls

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The Big Ten may not have landed a team in the College Football Playoff, but the conference continues to rack up the wins in the bowl season. No. 6 Wisconsin (13-1) improved their bowl game winning streak to four consecutive bowl wins with a 34-24 victory over No. 10 Miami in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami. The bowl win for the Badgers improved the Big Ten to a record of 7-0 this bowl season.

Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor capped his record-setting freshman season with 130 rushing yards on 26 carries. Along the way, Taylor broke Adrian Petersen‘s all-time freshman rushing record. Though Taylor was kept out of the endzone, his ability to grind out yardage helped Wisconsin tire out the Miami defense and allowed the Badgers to get something going through the air. Alex Hornibrook passed for 258 yards and four touchdowns, with Danny Davis III catching three of those scores. The Badgers were lifted by a 21-point second quarter and were able to counter Miami in the second half to keep the ACC runners-up at arm’s length.

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst improved to 4-1 in bowl games, including a 3-0 mark since his arrival in Madison. The Badgers have also improved their win total each of the past three seasons under Chryst’s watch. This win was much like any Wisconsin had this season, with total dominance in time of possession. Wisconsin held the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game with 24 first downs. Miami struggled to stay on the field, with just two third down conversions out of 10.

The season ends on a three-game losing streak for Miami, but this season proved Mark Richt has been able to turn a corner with the program. Playing in the ACC Championship Game for the first time since joining the ACC was a hurdle that had long been one that could not be cleared. Malik Rosier (who was picked off three times) returning for a senior season should allow Miami to keep the offense improving, and the continued recruiting efforts of Miami and player development under Richt should allow Miami to continue to be a team to watch in the ACC picture. Freshman running back DeeJay Dallas had a 39-yard touchdown run, showing some of the flashes he can offer as well.

Miami will head to Arlington, Texas for a season-opener clash with LSU in AT&T Stadium on Sunday, September 2, 2018. The Hurricanes will also host Florida State in cross-division play, as well as the only team to hand them a loss in the regular season, Pittsburgh.

Wisconsin begins the 2018 season at home on Friday, August 31, 2018 with a game against Western Kentucky. The Badgers also host BYU in non-conference play and open Big Ten play on the road against Iowa. The Badgers also draw a tough cross-division rotation on the road with games against Michigan in Ann Arbor and Penn State in State College.