Rosier helps No. 14 Miami coast past Duke
DURHAM, N.C. -- Miami did not need drama to take care of Duke this time.
Two years after a crazy finish on the same field, the No. 14 Hurricanes were in control throughout Friday night’s game, primarily because of their defense.
Quarterback Malik Rosier threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Miami defeated previously undefeated Duke 31-6 in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Wallace Wade Stadium.
“Knowing that every play counts and I think we did a good job of that,” Miami linebacker Michael Pinckney said of the defense that allowed no points and only 125 yards of total offense in the second half.
Rosier’s 49-yard scoring pass to Ahmmon Richards with 11:02 to play marked the first points of the second half and pushed the Hurricanes to a 24-6 lead.
There was initial concern for the Hurricanes (3-0, 1-0 ACC) when standout running back Mark Walton went down with an ankle injury before walking off the field with 7:37 to play. He didn’t return. It is unclear what his status is for Miami’s next game in eight days at Florida State.
“I‘m not worried about Mark,” Rosier said. “He’s a warrior.”
Backup Travis Homer ran for a 40-yard clinching touchdown with 4:48 left.
So, unlike the 2015 game, when Miami returned a kickoff for a touchdown using eight laterals on the game’s last play, this outcome was determined much earlier.
Rosier, a redshirt junior who made his first career start two years ago in this stadium, completed 15 of 26 passes for 270 yards. He said the Hurricanes overcame some midgame offensive sluggishness.
“The big thing about football when you play a team like Duke is it’s a chess match,” Rosier said. “We had that lull and we picked it up with the (offensive line).”
Miami’s defensive front was strong as well as the Hurricanes registered five sacks, finishing with 11 tackles for loss.
“They were bringing pressure where it made us do something to pick it up,” Duke quarterback Daniel Jones said. “A lot of that was on me.”
Jones finished 21 of 41 for 166 yards after going 1 of 9 in the fourth quarter. Johnathan Lloyd made nine catches for 82 yards, all in the first half.
“In a game like this, there’s more than one issue,” Jones said. “We’re not going to let one game determine our outlook on the season.”
The Blue Devils (4-1, 1-1) have lost their last four meetings with Miami.
Miami led 17-6 at halftime, though Duke held a 224-214 edge in total offense.
“We showed up late to the party and that’s not something you can do against a team like Miami,” Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris said.
Rosier was 8-of-8 passing in the first quarter. The Hurricanes opened the second quarter in Duke territory, but back-to-back sacks thwarted that drive.
After the second stalled possession for Miami, linebacker Michael Pinckney made a diving interception of a ricocheted pass as the Hurricanes took over at the Duke 40. The Blue Devils stopped two plays from inside the 1, with Miami settling for Michael Badgley’s 20-yard field goal for a 17-3 lead.
“I just hustled to the ball,” Pinckney said of the pick-off. “We work on it in practice a lot.”
Duke countered with Austin Parker’s 35-yard field goal on the last snap of the first half.
The Blue Devils drove 56 yards on the opening drive, reaching the Miami 13. But on fourth-and-1, Pinckney sacked Jones.
The Hurricanes wasted no time in scoring, with Rosier throwing as he was hit and connecting with Braxton Berrios in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.
The Hurricanes were back in the end zone on Rosier’s 1-yard run less than four minutes later. Duke closed within 14-3 on Parker’s 27-yard field goal with 1:13 left in the first quarter.
Miami called timeout 10 seconds into the game and challenged a ruling on the field, but the call wasn’t overturned.
NOTES: Miami’s previous trip to Durham resulted in a 30-27 victory in a controversy-filled, last-play kickoff return for a touchdown that consisted of eight laterals. ... Six of the 11 Miami players on the field for the last play in the 2015 game are still with the Hurricanes. ... Miami played its ACC opener on the road for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. ... Miami announced the suspension of WR Dayall Harris prior to the game. ... Duke was trying to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1994. ... Miami plays a makeup game next Saturday at Florida State. ... Duke leaves the state for the first time next week with a game at Virginia.