Barry Jackson

UM beats Dolphins in local interest; New UM playoff scenario

Miami Hurricanes quarterback DeeJay Dallas (13) scores in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, November 11, 2017.
Miami Hurricanes quarterback DeeJay Dallas (13) scores in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

A 10-pack of UM notes on a Monday:

• Chris Fowler, a South Florida resident, said during the ABC broadcast on Saturday that when the Hurricanes are good, that can galvanize this community unlike anything else here, even in a market with four pro teams.

And we found it interesting that the UM-Notre Dame game was seen in more than 32,000 more homes locally than the Miami Dolphins’ first Sunday night game this decade, just six nights earlier.

The UM-Notre Dame game drew a 15.6 rating on ABC-10 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market. That’s equal to 15.6 percent of Dade/Broward homes with TV sets.

That’s higher than every Dolphins game this season and much, much higher than every Heat game since Game 7 of the Heat-Raptors playoff series in May 2015. (That game topped a 17 local rating.)

By comparison, the Dolphins-Oakland Sunday night game drew a 13.6 local rating. Miami’s second game against the Jets did a 13.8. (There wasn’t a rating for the Dolphins-Chargers opener because of the effects of Hurricane Irma.) And Miami’s stirring win at Atlanta drew a 13.0.

• A lot of things Malik Rosier has done have impressed Mark Richt, and here’s another:

“I’m proud of him and he some things [against Notre Dame] that only a veteran quarterback can do,” Richt said. “He made one check that we got a first down on that we really didn’t rep the whole week. We repped last week and we didn’t plan on seeing a lot of true zero coverage from Notre Dame. It just wasn’t their MO, wasn’t what they were doing, but because they got behind, they just started to just try to to zero out on us a little bit, so he audibled.

“He made it look like he was checking to a max-protection pass, but he was actually checking to a run. So, when he checked to the run, they thought we were checking to a max protection and a pass downfield, so they got out of the man coverage, softened up just enough to help us get a first down. I think it was on a fourth-down conversion.”

• UM had four Wildcat plays in the game plan for Notre Dame.

“We call it a stampede if we do three or four in a row and know what they’re going to be prior to the game and we just rep them in succession,” Richt said. “And we actually had a fourth play that was going to be a bomb, him throwing a bomb, but it just didn’t work very good in practice, so we didn’t do it. We thought, what happens when the QB is a runner, you just buy one more blocker, so we thought we’d have a good chance.”

• If you missed this, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz anticipated the Trajan Bandy interception moments before it happened.

“We did say on the headset ‘Trajan, intercept this pass’ and lo and behold,” Diaz said. “The credit goes to Mark (Richt) because Mark walked into our defensive staffroom during the week and said, ‘isn’t it about time you guys scored on defense?’ And I told him how hard it is to go all this way and not score on purpose. So we’ll just save it for a big game like this. So Mark gets the credit for reminding us to score and really we were mad that Malek (Young) didn’t score on the other interception.” 

• Atlanta-based Realus George, the nation’s No. 1 fullback, on Sunday orally committed to join a 2018 UM recruiting class ranked in the nation’s top five.

“Me going to Miami will help them out with short yardage situations and and their type of run game. I can catch the ball out the backfield, flex out into the slot, and of course run down hill and lead block,” he told Canesport. “I’m a natural leader and help guys around me get better as much as I can.”

George’s other offers included Boston College, Virginia, Navy, Army, Memphis and Appalachian State.

• ESPN’s Mark Schlabach listed a “fatal flaw” for each playoff contender and here’s Miami’s:

“The Hurricanes didn’t have any problems crossing the goal line against the Fighting Irish, but their red zone offense has been an issue. Miami ranks 93rd in the FBS in red zone touchdown percentage (56 percent) and 120th in goal-to-go TD percentage (57 percent), just below winless Georgia Southern (60 percent), according to ESPN Stats & Info.”

• Richt appreciates how the UM administration has given him everything he has needed to be successful.

“Blake James and Jenn Strawley and the support that we get from them, just knowing you’ve got that support means a lot, I know to me, personally,” he said. “When you start getting things done, like an indoor facility and all those kind of things that maybe were a little bit of a pipe dream and now they’re coming true, and just things that I’ve needed from here and there. They’ve just been wonderful to help out.

“And then you got to hire the staff, you got get the right people. I took my time, I did a lot of praying. I think we got the right people that are very good at what they do, but also the kind of people that I think would have that chemistry [and who] would want to do it the way I like to do it and would be all in. And we’ve had that. Our staff is very strong, as far as the relationships between each other. I think the players see it. I think it helps.

“And the other thing is, when I came back, or when I decided to continue to coach, I really did want to enjoy it. I really did want to have fun. And what better place than Miami can you have some fun? Gosh, it’s just been a blast.”

• Here’s one one-loss scenario where UM has a chance to make the playoffs: Alabama goes unbeaten (thus giving Auburn a third loss and Georgia a second) and Wisconsin loses the Big 10 title game to Ohio State.

In that scenario, if UM beats Virginia and Pittsburgh and loses to Clemson, three playoff teams would be Alabama, Oklahoma (presuming it doesn’t stumble at Kansas or home against West Virginia) and Clemson (presuming it doesn’t lose to South Carolina).

But UM (with one loss in this scenario) would have a chance to be the fourth playoff team, as would one-loss Wisconsin and a two-loss Georgia team and two-loss Ohio State and perhaps two-loss TCU.

• If you are thinking positively about a playoff berth, ESPN today projected UM to play Oklahoma in a playoff game at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Cal., with Alabama playing Wisconsin in New Orleans in the second national semifinal that night.

• ABC will carry the next two Hurricanes games – noon against Virginia on Saturday and noon at Pittsburgh on Nov. 24, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Joe Tessitore and Todd Blackledge call Saturday’s game.

Here’s my Marlins post from Monday, with a look at how Derek Jeter plans to try to solve the Marlins’ revenue mess and some hot stove league talk.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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