Rosier sparks No. 14 Miami past Toledo
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — With Miami down 16-10 early in the third quarter Saturday, former Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya sent out the following tweet:
“Offense going to find its rhythm,” he tweeted, punctuating the missive with a “thumbs up” emoji.
Perhaps Kaaya should go buy a lottery ticket. He could not have been more on the money with this one.
Shortly after Kaaya’s tweet, his successor, junior Malik Rosier responded by passing for 189 yards in the third quarter to rally the 14th-ranked Hurricanes to a 52-30 victory over Toledo on Saturday.
Rosier was 11-of-14 passing in the quarter and had his team sitting on a 38-16 lead before the visiting Rockets staged a mini-rally to close to within eight points. The Hurricanes (2-0) closed out the game with touchdowns runs by Rosier and running back Travis Homer.
Rosier passed for a career-high 333 yards and running back running back Mark Walton rushed for a career-high 204 as Miami amassed 527 yards of offense. Walton missed about a quarter of action after rolling his ankle while getting tackled in the second quarter. He returned late in the third.
He scored on a 44-yard run in the first quarter and had an 82-yard sprint to set up a field goal later in the period.
“Let’s start from Square 1. Miami is a very good football team,” said Toledo coach Jason Candle, whose Rockets (3-1) withstood Miami’s 10-0 first-quarter outburst to lead 16-10 at the half. “Let’s get that on the table first because I feel like that’s not been said.
“That is a very good team. They’re a Top 15 program and a Top 15 team for a reason. There’s a lot of tremendous football players on that roster.”
In addition to the contributions of Rosier and Walton, Homer scored two touchdowns on eight carries, tight end Christopher Herndon had eight catches, including one for a score, and wide receiver Braxton Berrios had a 55-yard reception to set up a score in the third period. Berrios added a 19-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the fourth to put the Hurricanes up 31-16.
Toledo came back with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter before the Hurricanes put the visitors away.
“I hate the fact we had the drama that we had once we kind of pulled away,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “But it’s a tribute to them (the Rockets) and their ability to score, and we kind of got back on track.”
Early on it appeared that the Hurricanes were showing no effects from the three-week layoff between games brought about by the threat of Hurricane Irma to South Florida earlier in the month. They were up 10 and looked ready to dominate before it turned around.
The visitors put together a 16-point second quarter on quarterback Logan Woodside’s 37-yard touchdown pass and Jameson Vest’s three field goals. Mistakes could have cost the Rockets more points as well.
“We did have some missed opportunities,” Woodside said. “But that’s a real good football team we played.”
Woodside had 213 yards passing by halftime on his way to 342 for the game while Miami’s Rosier had only 50 in the first two quarters.
“I wouldn’t say rusty, but from the beginning we really didn’t know what they were going to give us,” Rosier said. “Every week when you watch this team play they give you different coverage.
“That was the big thing, figuring out how they were going to play us. It took us basically the whole first half to figure out what they were going to do. The second half we came and we game-planned them.”
NOTES: Miami RB Mark Walton had the 10th 100-yard rushing game of career, with runs of 82 and 44 yards spurring him to 139 yards after just five carries. ... Toledo entered the game as the fourth-most penalized team in the country and lived up to that dubious distinction early in the game. The Rockets had three penalties (two false starts and delay of game) on their first two series, then had a key false start on fourth-and-goal from the Miami 2 that forced them to settle for a field goal. ... QB Logan Woodside’s fumble on the final play of the third quarter was Toledo’s first lost fumble since Sept. 2, 2016, against Arkansas State. It ended the Rockets’ streak of 15 games without a lost fumble.