University of Miami

Despite heartfelt ‘Red Bandanna Day’ on the road, Hurricanes must win at Boston College

Miami quarterback Malik Rosier discusses return to starting lineup

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier will return to the starting lineup Friday against the Boston College Eagles. The senior discusses his return after serving as the backup the past three games.
Up Next
Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier will return to the starting lineup Friday against the Boston College Eagles. The senior discusses his return after serving as the backup the past three games.

The Miami Hurricanes have waited nearly two weeks to move past the negativity from an ugly loss at Virginia, escape the drama of a quarterback situation that regularly brings new surprises, and prove they are capable of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division to return to the ACC Championship.

A victory in the chill at Boston College, during an annual game dedicated to a former BC lacrosse player who saved several people before perishing in the 9-11 attacks, at this point is a considerable task — especially considering that UM is 1-4 in its past five games away from Miami.

But it would do wonders to start the healing.

“It’s on to the next opponent,’’ said UM safety Sheldrick Redwine. “We [can’t] just sit around and mope for the rest of the season.’’

Boston College (5-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), also coming off a bye week, has yet to lose a game at home. Its home wins, in order: 55-21 against UMass; 62-14 against Holy Cross; 45-35 against Temple; and 38-20 against Louisville. Its lone road win: 41-34 at Wake Forest.

The Eagles lost 30-13 at Purdue and 28-23 at North Carolina State.

Friday’s game is known as the “Red Bandanna/Service Day Game,” as BC honors Welles Crowther, who is credited with saving at least a dozen people in the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“That is an emotionally charged night,’’ UM coach Mark Richt said Wednesday during the ACC coaches’ teleconference. “We’re playing a very talented team and very veteran team in Boston College. There will be a lot of things that will get those guys revved up and ready to go..’’

BC’s strength is its running game, and the reason for that strength, 6-0, 240-pound All-American sophomore bruiser AJ Dillon, the 2017 ACC Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,589 yards — seventh nationally — and 14 touchdowns. Dillon rolled his ankle this season on Sept. 29 early in the second half against Temple. Before the injury, in that game alone he had rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

Dillon missed the past two games, but will be back Friday, according to BC coach Steve Addazio.

“He looked really good and I would say barring anything popping here I think he’ll be ready to roll,’’ Addazio told reporters on Tuesday.

Also ready to roll will be UM redshirt senior quarterback Malik Rosier, who won back his starting job from redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry after Perry’s poor start in the loss to Virginia.

“It’s been a lot,’’ Rosier said, when asked how he has been handling this roller coaster of a season, including a fan base that openly disdains Rosier and supports Perry — or even true freshman Jarren Williams— as the starter. “I think you find out who’s here for you and who’s really not. I’ve had a lot of players behind my back, like Mike [Jackson] and DeeJay Dallas just telling me, ‘We’ve got your back no matter what.’

“Like Coach Richt said, Kosi’s probably going to play at some point. I know that. When he’s in, I’m going to help him out as much as I can. It’s their red bandanna week. The crowd’s going to be loud. The big thing for us is coming in and shutting them up early because when you’re on an away game and the crowd gets into it, it’s so much of a different feeling.’’

Richt said he does not regret benching Rosier in the first place on Sept. 22, when Perry took over in the third series against FIU and never looked back until he, in turn, was benched last game.

“I believe what I believed,’’ Richt said. “You’ve got to go with your gut and your heart and what you believe is right. ...Then if you think making a change back is a better decision, regardless of what people might think, you’ve got to do it. That’s what leadership is all about, to make decisions that may not be popular and may not be understood.

“It’s just like I told all of the quarterbacks: ‘This is not a personal thing against anybody or for anybody. We as coaches are trying to get the best players to get in the game who give us the best chance to win at all positions.’’

The warm-weather Canes, who began the week as underdogs but are now favored by 3 1/2 points, will have to contend with temperatures in the low 40s for most of the game. The forecast originally called for the game to end in the upper 30s, but it has since been revised to be a touch warmer.

“For me, I don’t think cold is the biggest issue,’’ said Rosier, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama. “I’ve played in a little bit of cold weather.

“I feel like the biggest issue is sometimes when you’re up in Northern areas, it’s dry air. The ball gets slick. Sometimes you’ll see quarterbacks licking their fingers because we’re just trying to get moisture and trying to get that grip on the ball.

“Coach Richt’s done a great job. We’re wearing tights. We’re going to have hand warmers. The heated benches — so we have no excuses. Cold shouldn’t be a factor.’’

Sports Pass for $30 per year

Get unlimited access to all Miami Herald sports stories and videos for $30


Related stories from Miami Herald