Mark Richt may have found a spark last week against FIU. With Malik Rosier struggling for a fourth consecutive week, Miami opted to make a change at quarterback go with redshirt freshman, N’Kosi Perry. Perry instantly looked better than Rosier on the field, as he came in and didn’t allow Rosier to get back on the field. Perry walked in fresh off the bench and passed for 224 yards on 17-of-25 passing and 3 touchdowns. It’s what Richt and the Miami offense was looking for. Perry was a 4-star quarterback and the 8th best in his class according to Rivals.
There are some other notable schools that recruited him, including Auburn, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia among a few others. He is a dual-threat quarterback that would have worked in any of those systems. Rich Rod recruited him to be his next big running quarterback at Arizona, but Perry decided on Miami and Rodriguez is no longer coaching.
Rodriguez is the guy behind Denard Robinson, Pat White, and Khalil Tate so he knows a thing or two about speedy quarterbacks. Miami wants to develop him as a pass-first quarterback, though. If he wants a future in football at the professional level, that would be the best course of action. Nonetheless, he will take off and run if there isn’t anything there. Perry ran for 32 yards on 9 attempts against Florida International.
Richt hasn’t said who he is starting in this game, so while I boast about Perry, he might go with Malik Rosier as his starting quarterback. If he does start, there is likely going to be a short leash on him, though. So, either Rosier plays well to open the game, or Perry will get called in again. Rosier has passed for 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with 5 touchdowns on the ground. He hasn’t been awful, but the coaching staff has expected more from the senior.
Perhaps getting benched last week is the wake-up call he needed. North Carolina are in a peculiar position as they have to prepare for both quarterbacks. No one is sure who Miami will be starting or if they’ll be using two QB’s. It put the Tar Heels’ defense in a tough position this week in their preparation. Head below for our free North Carolina vs. Miami pick on Thursday night.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Miami Hurricanes NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Miami -18(-110)
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North Carolina vs. Miami Pick:
First look at the scoreboard against FIU last week would have indicated that this was a close, tight game. Maybe the Hurricanes took them lightly and didn’t show up. However, as most rivalry games go, they typically play close even if one team has inferior talent. Also, the scoreboard didn’t tell the real story of how the game went.
Miami outgained the Panthers by a whopping 301 yards, including 231 yards rushing on the ground and 70 passing yards. They outgained the Toledo Rockets by a margin of 139 yards and won the ball game, 49-24. So, the Hurricanes just had to finish better last week and it would have been a much bigger score. It’s expected that they saved some things for ACC play, so we’ll see what they have in store for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina are only three years removed from going to the ACC Championship. They could have very well won that game against the Clemson Tigers as sizable underdogs. A play here or a call there from the officials and the Tar Heels might win that game. Let’s talk about the now for North Carolina, though. Things look a lot different for Larry Fedora and his Tar Heels. A team that is usually known for offense, has been going through a transition period. Last season they got hit hard by injuries, and this season they’re trying to find a hot quarterback and an offensive line.
Nathan Elliott looked sharp last week against Pittsburgh, as he passed for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns. His previous two games were abysmal against ECU and Cal, with a total of 4 interceptions and 1 touchdown. It hasn’t helped that an inexperienced quarterback is playing behind an inexperienced offensive line. Pitt do not have a defense that is anything to talk about, so it was a good tune-up before going against an aggressive Miami defense.
My issue with North Carolina in this matchup is their offensive line against the Hurricane defense. They went in this season with only two offensive lineman with starting experience, and as expected, the Tar Heels have had trouble running the ball. They are averaging just 166 yards per game for 79th in the nation. Elliott and the passing game are averaging 228 yards per game for 72nd. I know the points look good at first with them, but if Miami shows up to their ACC opener focused, we’re going to see a similar final score as UNC had against ECU, a 41-19 loss. I am in the camp that expects the Hurricanes to come to play on Thursday night.