*stats via Sports Reference
In this era of football, having a competent quarterback is everything, and in college there is no exception.
Flashback to last football season. The Miami Hurricanes were taking the college football world by storm, with the turnover chain and their wild nail-biting wins that got them to a 10-0 start. But just as fast, Miami fell off the rails. They lost three of their last four with that one win barley sneaking by Virginia, then Miami took beat downs from Clemson and Wisconsin.
This season started the same way the last one ended. The Canes got their head kicked in by LSU. So what happened? Why did Miami go into a tailspin? The answer is actually simple. It was Malik Rosier. Don’t get me wrong, Rosier isn’t terrible. He just shrinks under immense pressure. The first 10 games of 2017, he averaged a 56.75% completion percentage. Which is okay, but the last 4 games, which includes the upset vs. Pitt, where Miami was getting their head kicked in, and the ACC championship game situations, Rosier proved obsolete. His lack of accuracy and good-decision making showed. 44.4% completion percentage and seven interceptions to four touchdowns is not going to help a team score points against three top 10 opponents.
In the second game of the season, with Miami up double digits, head coach Mark Richt put in redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry and it was like the dark cloud had parted over the Miami offense. Perry came right in and chucked multiple touchdowns. Fast forward to the game against Florida International, the Miami offense was sputtering and Richt made the call. Perry came in for three touchdowns and the QB controversy began. It lasted for about 5 days until Perry got the start. The following Thursday he led the Canes to a win against North Carolina.
Before I go any further, I want to compare the two QBS. Rosier is 6’1, good mobility, with B+ arm strength, but very below average accuracy. Perry, on the other hand, is 6’4, has dangerous mobility, a cannon of an arm with very good accuracy. It was not until the thriller win over Florida State where I saw Perry really shine. Clearly, physically, Perry is an upgrade, but it was him tossing three touchdowns to bring the Canes back from being down 27-7 to a 28-27 win. This separates him by a lot.
In the upset loss to Pitt, Miami was only down 17-7, but the offense could not get anything going. At multiple points during the game, Rosier missed wide open throws and even a few home run shots to Jeff Thomas. He was eventually benched.
Miami is a dangerous team with Perry under center, adding his down field passing attack to an already strong running game. It gives Miami an offense just as dangerous as its defense. I would even argue this Miami team would be able to beat LSU in a rematch, and even take on Clemson in an ACC Championship.