The No. 21 Miami Hurricanes were looking very secure with a three-touchdown lead over Toledo in the Glass Bowl.
Then, preseason UM All-American safety Jaquan Johnson went down with a right-hamstring injury late in the second quarter.
Almost bye-bye Miami.
Hello, Malik Rosier.
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Toledo charged back to get within seven points twice, but Miami quarterback Malik Rosier’s outstanding performance prevailed for a 49-24 Hurricanes victory in front of a sellout crowd of 28,117.
Rosier, booed in UM’s 77-0 victory last week and bashed heavily by fans on social media who want him replaced as the starter, accounted for a career-high five touchdowns — three rushing and two passing— against the Rockets.
UM tailback DeeJay Dallas, who had his first career 100-yard rushing game, implored UM fans back home to “stop booing Malik,’’ and coach Mark Richt added to the conversation by saying he hoped Rosier was ignoring the noise.
“I hope he’s not listening to the chatter,’’ Richt said. “We tell him not to. I don’t. Because there’s really nothing good that can come from it. He knew to focus on his job and focus on the team and the game plan and what are you going to do on this play.
“That’s the only thing that’s productive at that position. I know it’s the world of social media for these kids and it’s hard not to know or hear...
“I’m proud of Malik and how he played today.’’
Rosier completed 13 of 23 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. He carried eight times for 80 yards and the three scores.
Toledo quarterback Mitchell Guadagni was 13 of 21 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
UM converted two fourth downs, including the backbreaking 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Trayone Gray to seal the victory with 8:54 left in the game.
The Canes (2-1) also converted three third downs on the 70-yard, 14-play drive that made it 35-21 with 1:28 to go in the third quarter. Rosier’s 30-yard completion to Lawrence Cager on third-and-9 gave the Canes a first down from the Toledo 28. Seven plays later, Cager scored on a five-yard haul.
After that, Miami’s smallest lead was 11 points.
“If you’re going to play us in man, we have to win on those routes,’’ Rosier, who praised his line and perimeter blockers, said of his receivers. “And they did all day.
“...Forty-plus points should be the standard. It shouldn’t be, like, ‘We’re playing Toledo.’ We’re supposed to beat them. We should go out there and every game put up 35 to 40-plus points. That’s the standard I’m going to set and I’m not going to let it down. It was an excellent day.”
The 49 points were the most scored on the road by a Mark Richt-coached UM team.
With 6:17 left in the game, redshirt freshman backup quarterback N’Kosi Perry replaced Rosier. He did not attempt a pass.
Dallas, who credited the offensive line, had rushed for his 110 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries when Perry replaced Rosier.
“I learned I had 100 yards coming out of the locker room, after I changed,’’ Dallas said. “I was like, ‘100 yards?’
“They clicked at the right time,’’ he said of his line. “We came in and I told them before the game, ‘We’ve got to play with a mentality,’ and that’s what they did. They came out and showed up. And that’s what we need every week. I told them, ‘We just gotta keep building and keep building and keep building.’”
Slot receiver Jeff Thomas led UM receivers with five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Canes (13 tackles for loss and four sacks) were led by Johnson’s seven tackles, though he only played a half, and tackle Gerald Willis’ three tackles for loss and sack.
Cornerback Trajan Bandy’s interception with 12:12 left in the game deflated the Rockets and sent many of the local fans heading for the exits.
The Canes (2-1), who had no penalties for the first time in what has to be many years, took a 7-0 lead after a 5-yard Rosier touchdown culminated their longest scoring drive of the season — 12 plays for 76 yards — with 8:11 left in the first quarter.
The drive was punctuated by a reverse to Thomas, who sprinted 19 yards to the Toledo 15-yard line. Two subsequent Dallas rushes netted 10 yards, and Rosier dashed into the end zone for the score.
UM’s next touchdown came with 12:27 left in the first half, and it was Thomas again who helped highlight the five-play, 61-yard drive with a touchdown catch in the end zone on a perfectly lofted 38-yard Rosier pass. UM 14, Toledo 0.
Rosier barreled 2 yards through the middle for his second rushing touchdown to make it 21-0 with 2:56 left in the half to end a seven-play drive.
But it was plenty enough time for Toledo to mount an 8-play, 65-yard scoring drive to narrow the margin to 21-7 at halftime. Toledo receiver Diontae Johnson scored on Guadagni’s 7-yard pass that skimmed off the fingers of UM linebacker Shaq Quarterman.
Toledo fell to 1-1.