To say the Miami Hurricanes are in a must-win situation vs the Toledo Rockets is odd. But after a poor showing against LSU and a game in which we could draw no conclusions vs Savannah State, Miami needs to go on the road and put together a good performance vs the Rockets.
Flashback to last season. Toledo scored 30 points against the Canes at Hard Rock Stadium, and led 16-10 at the half. It took Miami three-plus quarters to pull away for a 52-30 win.
Granted, this Toledo team doesn’t have quarterback Logan Woodside, who is now a Tennessee Titan. But their top three wide receivers return, and they’ve combined for nearly 6,000 yards on 320 receptions in their careers. Cody Thompson, Jonvea Johnson, and Diontae Johnson will pose a consistent threat to the Hurricanes secondary.
Toledo has also had two weeks to prepare for the Hurricanes offense, who we assume did not show much of value in last week’s win over an FCS opponent.
For Miami, Malik Rosier will continue to start, and will need to improve drastically on his 50% completion rate over the first two games. Last season, he played arguably his best game vs Toledo, going 27-36 for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Canes also rushed for 254 yards, over 200 of which came from Mark Walton. If the offense can throw and run with this kind of efficiency, it should be able to put up big points once again.
Don’t overlook the fact this will be Toledo’s biggest home game arguably ever, and a Noon kickoff on the road for UM could lead to a somewhat sleepy start.
The Canes will be without freshman defensive end Greg Rousseau, who is done for the year in all likelihood, after having surgery this week. They will also be without star wide receiver Ahmonn Richards who is nursing a knee contusion suffered in week 1. I believe after last year’s consistent injury issues, Miami is just holding Richards out until conference play. Defensive lineman Demetrius Jackson, however, returns after missing one game.
Also, I firmly expect to see backup QB Nkosi Perry get some time in this game, whether its a blowout or not. Mark Richt has two more games to decide whether Rosier is going to be his starter come Sept 27 when ACC play begins.
One of the keys to this game for Miami, aside from efficiency and consistency driving the football on offense, is to keep Toledo’s offense from downfield chunk plays. They will likely throw it 50+ times if the tempo is in their favor, but Miami should have the speed to track down quick passing game, and should use some of their knowledge from last year’s game to their advantage.
All in all, this shouldn’t be a game that worries UM fans. But it seems like it will. I’ve got Miami 37-29, in a game that will further cloud this season’s lofty goals from just last month.