After an incredible upset of #2 Clemson last week gave Syracuse one of its most important wins in program history and put it over .500, the Orange is back in action this Saturday and another tough opponent is staring it in the face. SU heads south for a date with the #8 Miami Hurricanes on Saturday. The Canes come into the game undefeated and coming off back-to-back ACC wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech. With Mark Richt’s club riding high, it’s important for the Orange faithful to know what to expect from it. With that being said, let’s meet Miami and three of its key players to watch.
Taking over for a collegiate quarterback the caliber of Brad Kaaya was never going to be easy, but Rosier has emerged as a great successor to the position. A dual-threat quarterback, Rosier uses both his legs and arm to his advantage for the Miami offense. He’s scored 14 touchdowns (12 passing, 2 rushing) so far this season which is the best mark for a Hurricanes quarterback through the first 5 games of a season since Ken Dorsey in 2002. Keep in mind, Dorsey was a Heisman candidate during that season. While Rosier probably isn’t on that level quite yet, he’s the leader of this Miami offense. Standing at 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, he’s got pretty good size, especially for a dual-threat guy. The redshirt junior had a nice game last week against Georgia Tech, passing for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown. If he can do something similar to that this week versus the Orange, SU fans should take notice of the Alabama native.
Whenever a starter goes down, it’s crucial that a backup step in and get the job done. Homer, a sophomore running back, has done exactly that this season in place of Mark Walton. Coming into the season, Walton was expected to be one of the better running backs in the ACC, but when he went down with a season-ending ankle injury two weeks ago versus Florida State, Homer filled in wonderfully. He’s rushed for 382 yards on the season and that’s only come on 45 carries, meaning that he’s averaging over eight yards per carry which is a fantastic average for any running back, but especially a guy who started the season as a backup. Not only had he stepped up even before Walton went down, but he put on a show in his first career start last week versus Georgia Tech. The Florida native finished with 170 yards on 20 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns (one receiving and one rushing). That knack for the end zone has been a trend all season for Homer who leads Hurricane running backs in touchdowns with four on the season. Standing at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Homer’s not a guy that’s going to run you over, but he’ll make you miss in the open field. If Miami wants to stay undefeated on Saturday afternoon, Homer will have to establish the run game and take some of the pressure off of his quarterback. He’s shown he can do it already this season, so Syracuse fans better watch out for #24.
While Malik Rosier wears the #12 jersey on the offensive side of the ball, defensive back Malek Young (pronounced the same as Malik) dons the dozen on the defensive side of things for Miami. This guy does just about everything for the Hurricanes D. Emerging as a starting cornerback in week four versus Duke, Young makes an impact both in pass coverage and in stopping the run. The sophomore has 18 total tackles on the season with 3 of them coming for loss meaning that if he hits somebody six times he’s probably going to do it at least once behind the line of scrimmage. As for his abilities as a true corner, Young leads the team in passes defended with five so far this season and he also has the ability to take the ball away from opponents. His first career interception against Bethune-Cookman in the season opener (which he returned for 24 yards) made him the first recipient of the now world-famous Miami turnover bling:
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) September 2, 2017
Still just a sophomore, Young has tons of potential to grow into a very special player. Despite being just 5-foot-9, he’s already shown an ability to match up against bigger guys and be effective. A sound tackler who plays well no matter what kind of play the offense draws up, Young is certainly the man to watch on the defensive side of the ball for the Hurricanes.