The Hurricanes hoped Malik Rosier would be a game-manager who didn’t turn the ball over. They probably wouldn’t have bet he would set school records.
In a year where a host of Miami players have exceeded expectations, the first-year starter could set a new mark at Pittsburgh on Friday (noon, ABC).
Rosier is responsible for 28 touchdowns this season, which is tied for third-most by a Miami player. The redshirt junior from Mobile, Alabama has 23 passing and five rushing touchdowns.
Quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who threw for 26 and rushed for four in his Heisman Trophy 1986 campaign, holds the school mark. Steve Walsh (29 passing in 1988) and Bernie Kosar (25 passing, four rushing in 1984) are tied for second.
Making it all the more remarkable: Miami had one game canceled this year, and will not make it up. If Rosier breaks the mark at Pitt, he’ll have accomplished the feat in 11 games, not 12.
Rosier enters the game tied with Willis McGahee (28 rushing in 2002), Ken Dorsey (28 passing in 2002) and Brad Kaaya (27 passing, one rushing in 2016) for third.
Coach Mark Richt has enjoyed utilizing the dual-threat abilities of Rosier, who has thrown for 2,620 yards on 56.4 percent passing, and rushed 100 times for 377 yards. In addition to his tough running in the red zone, he has a habit of extending drives by picking up first downs or putting UM into more manageable yardage. However, he has work to do as a passer (nine interceptions, tied for most in the ACC) and a ballcarrier.
“Malik, he thinks he’s a great runner, we’re not ready to give him that yet,” Richt said, smiling, after Miami’s 44-28 win over Virginia. “He slithers through there somehow and I’m not really proud of his ball security, to be honest with you. The ball was kind of waving around a little bit, but he’s been lucky nobody has tomahawked it from behind, but he got in there.”
Rosier threw for three touchdowns (with two interceptions) and rushed for another score, from 8 yards out. That put Miami up two scores (37-28) with 4:03 left. Forced to throw from its own 25, Virginia turned it over on downs at the 29. Travis Homer quickly hammered home another touchdown.