Miami football: Malik Rosier critical to Canes’ ACC title hopes

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 14: Malik Rosier #12 of the Miami Hurricanes throws the ball prior to the spring game on April 14, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 14: Malik Rosier #12 of the Miami Hurricanes throws the ball prior to the spring game on April 14, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Quarterback Malik Rosier will need to have the best season of his college career for the Miami Hurricanes to contend for the ACC Championship in 2018.

For a program that has tried to make the long climb back to relevance for over a decade, the Miami Hurricanes made a huge leap in the 2017 season. The long exhausting road back saw a rise to the work Mark Richt has put into elevating the program back to a high level.

The Hurricanes made their way into the College Football Playoff conversation before being trounced by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. If they want a crack at likely ACC favorite Clemson again, they’re going to need quarterback Malik Rosier at his best.

After the many high moments that the Hurricanes had in 2017, the season ended in a thud and in a big part due to the performance from Rosier. In the conference championship game against a stout Clemson defense, Rosier threw two interceptions and had no touchdowns to his credit. He certainly wasn’t the only quarterback the Tigers have jumped all over, but it was a long night for him and the Hurricanes under the spotlight.

While they didn’t bring home a conference title, the Hurricanes still had their chances to bring a home a win in the Orange Bowl against Wisconsin. Unfortunately, Rosier saved his worst for last in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. In a game that was certainly winnable, the Hurricanes fell 34-24 and Rosier was 11 of 26 for 203 yards and three interceptions with just one touchdown.

A season that saw a surge for the Hurricanes ended up being derailed in two huge games and their quarterback stumbled across the finish line. Five interceptions in the final two games undoubtedly left a sour taste in Rosier’s mouth and there will certainly be questions about whether the senior quarterback can get the team where they want to be in the 2018 season.

Redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry is waiting in the wings to take over the quarterback duties but that shouldn’t serve as a distraction for Rosier. This is his job and his opportunity to lead the Hurricanes back to the conference championship game where redemption could await.

While Rosier struggled with turnovers, those last two starts skew things a bit. Going into that game against Clemson, he had 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year, which sounds a lot better than the 26/14 split he finished with.

The big thing that Rosier needs to improve upon in his final season is his completion percentage. Accuracy was a major problem for the quarterback in 2017. He had five starts where his completion percentage was less than 50, including an abysmal 42.3-percent against Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.

His final three games of the season were 50-percent or less and six out of 13 overall. Nearly half the games in the Hurricanes’ season saw the quarterback struggle to complete passes to his receivers.

For a team that wants to compete for a conference championship and more, it’s imperative that they can rely on their quarterback to step up in tough situations and make the throws that are needed to win ball games.

In 2018, Rosier’s going to need to make those throws and improve on that completion percentage if they’re going to be in the same position that they were last season. They’ll have a big non-conference test to begin the season when they hit the road to take on the LSU Tigers.

His accuracy will be tested early and often. If Rosier can get a little confidence behind him and some big performances on the board early, it should carry him into the conference portion of the schedule.

If he still struggles to find receivers and has issues with turning the ball over, the heat will be on him even more to perform. The quarterback makes the engine go on offense and Rosier is ultimately the most important facet of the Hurricanes’ success in 2018.

50 greatest college football players this century. dark. Next