Preview: Eager to get back to work, Miami gears up for high-octane Toledo
TV: FOX Sports Florida
Time: 3:30 p.m.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — No. 14 Miami’s official stance is that the team wasn’t able to practice for more than a week because of Hurricane Irma.
That’s technically true. The full team wasn’t together.
But in actuality, quarterback Malik Rosier and some teammates practiced plenty. Rosier was planning to ride out Irma at his Alabama home before being talked into joining some coaches and players on their weeklong evacuation trip to Orlando instead. Rosier said he spent much of that time throwing routes with Miami QB coach Jon Richt, the son of Hurricanes coach Mark Richt, and a few receivers.
“For me, this week off has been a great fundamental week,” Rosier said in a statement distributed by the university.
Unbeaten Toledo (3-0) plans to test those fundamentals Saturday, when the Rockets visit the Hurricanes (1-0). It’s Miami’s first game since Week 1, with Irma forcing the cancellation of Miami’s Sept. 9 game at Arkansas State and the postponement of last week’s showdown at No. 12 Florida State until Oct. 7.
“Well, it’ll be a stiff task, I can tell you that,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said. “This is the Miami Hurricanes. They’re ranked 14th in the country right now and rightfully so. Playmakers all over the field on offense, really fast team on defense, fly to the football. We’ve got a stiff challenge ahead of us, that’s for sure.”
Rosier will be making his third career start. Toledo’s hopes rest on the arm of experienced senior quarterback Logan Woodside, who threw for 458 yards and six touchdowns in the Rockets’ 54-51 win over Tulsa last week — a game where he rallied his team from a 28-7 deficit.
Woodside raved about Miami’s defense, saying he can’t recall facing another team that “is as fast and physical” as the Hurricanes. But he also conceded that Toledo knows this game is a big opportunity for its program.
“When you come to Toledo, everybody kind of feels they have a little chip on their shoulder,” Woodside said. “It’ll be good to go down there and play a really good team.”
Here’s some other things to know going into this game:
Miami senior associate athletic director for compliance Craig Anderson said the school investigated to make sure it was compliant with NCAA time-limit rules during the evacuation to Orlando. The NCAA says student-athletes cannot participate in “countable athletically related activities” for more than 20 hours per week, and Rosier said he and coaches “talked ball basically the entire time” in Orlando. Miami insists no rules were broken.
Toledo was the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the Mid-American Conference title, and the Rockets only have conference games remaining on their regular-season schedule after this. If they can pull the upset Saturday, how long before pundits start talking about Toledo as a candidate to go 13-0 headed into bowl season?
Miami has won six straight games. That’s the Hurricanes’ longest streak since a nine-game streak spanning the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Toledo leads the MAC in scoring offense (46 points per game), total offense (552.7), rushing offense (218), passing offense (334.7), passing efficiency (177.4) and first downs (82).
The status of Miami WR Ahmmon Richards remains unknown. Richards missed the opener with what the school said was a hamstring issue and Mark Richt said on Sept. 5 that Miami’s top returning receiver was “much closer” to making his 2017 debut. But more than two weeks later, there is a chance Richards will sit again. Miami did not release an injury report this week.