N’Kosi Perry wasn’t suspended, Malik Rosier wasn’t good and Jarren Williams didn’t play. The Miami Hurricanes’ quarterbacks situation got more complicated than ever in the Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers and Miami wound up suffering one of the worst losses of Mark Richt’s three-year tenure as coach of the Hurricanes.
After the 35-3 loss at Yankee Stadium, the coach explained his confusing quarterbacks rotation. Why did Rosier start in place of Perry, who closed the regular season as the starter? And why didn’t Williams get in even when Rosier and Perry struggled?
“He was going to play at the very end,” Richt said of Williams. “Like I had mentioned, N’Kosi was not suspended. He was able to play. He just didn’t deserve to start in my opinion. We put him in next. We were going to play Jarren at the very end, but at that point it wouldn’t have been anything more than just an opportunity to get in the game. We just felt like N’Kosi was second team.
“Part of it was I felt like N’Kosi is still navigating how to become the starting quarterback on the field, off the field. Didn’t feel like he deserved the opportunity to start. Malik practiced really well. I felt like he was going to give us the best shot.”
Richt declared Rosier his starter for the bowl game at a pregame press conference Wednesday following a rocky season for Perry. On Friday, The Miami Hurricane, the school’s student newspaper, reported on the existence of a sexually-explicit Snapchat video posted by Perry. On Sunday, Perry was caught on an Instagram Live video by defensive back Gilbert Frierson saying, “I’m suspended, bro.”
Richt contradicted the redshirt freshman Thursday, when he said Perry was eligible to play in the Bronx, but, “Malik was the guy that’s going to give us the best shot.” It only took nearly three turnover-riddled quarters of Rosier for Miami (7-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) to finally turn to the underclassman.
Perry finally replaced Rosier with 3:36 left in the third quarter after the redshirt senior went 5 of 12 with 46 yards and three interceptions — although he did run for a team-high 90 yards on three carries.
Perry wasn’t any better. The quarterback went 1 of 5 with 2 yards and an interception. He also ran for 11 yards on four carries with a long of 16.
At the end of the game, Williams nearly got his shot. The freshman thought he had a good chance to play Thursday, a source familiar with the situation told the Miami Herald, but he didn’t start warming up until Wisconsin (8-5, 5-4 Big Ten) was driving to run all but eight seconds off the game clock. Richt, however, said he’s not worried the lack of playing time could drive Williams to transfer, even after 247Sports.com reported last week the quarterback was considering it.
“I don’t think he will,” Richt said at his postgame press conference. “He already said he’s staying. I don’t think this game had anything to do with how he felt like his chances were for the future. If I’m him, I’m thinking I have a very outstanding shot of competing for the job.”
Nesta Jade Silvera gives Miami small taste of future
Manny Diaz ran through the list of obvious names the Miami Hurricanes would have to rely on with star defensive tackle Gerald Willis out for the Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers. Tito Odenigbo would stay in the starting lineup and fellow defensive lineman Pat Bethel would likely join him. Defensive lineman Jonathan Ford could see some expanded playing time, too.
Nesta Jade Silvera’s name, however, didn’t come up on a teleconference last Thursday until a reporter asked about him. The freshman seemed in line for an expanded role for Miami against Wisconsin.
“He’s flying right in there. He’s getting thrown into the fire,” the defensive coordinator said. “The importance of that is we knew obviously next year we’re losing Willis and losing Tito anyway. We wanted to prepare him all season at this level because we knew his role would be so important next year. In a weird way, losing Willis kind of turned into next year a game early.”
The Hurricanes did lean on him in the Bronx. Odenigbo and Bethel started, but Silvera saw more snaps than Ford and made some plays for Miami’s shorthanded defense — star defensive end Joe Jackson also left in the first quarter with an injury. The defensive lineman finished with three tackles, including a pair of solo tackles.
Joe Jackson leaves with early injury
It may have been his final game with the Hurricanes and it was an anticlimactic one. Jackson’s Pinstripe Bowl lasted just one drive Thursday before the defensive lineman went down with an ankle injury, according to the radio broadcast on WQAM.
Jackson never came back into the game, although the team also never officially ruled him out. The junior jogged on the sideline for a bit, trying to test out the ankle, but never felt good enough to check back in.
Jackson was one of several Miami underclassman who faced questions about whether he’d even play in the bowl game. The Gulliver Prep alumnus has a chance to be an early-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft should he declare. Jackson finished his junior season with 47 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick six.
Jaquan Johnson makes history — at stock market
Did Jaquan Johnson save the stock market? The defensive back at least played a small part in a historic day at the New York Stock Exchange.
Before the stock market made historic gains Wednesday, Johnson stood at the front of the room to ring the Opening Bell alongside teammates, coaches, opponents and representatives from the bowl game. He jointly rang the bell with Wisconsin fullback Alec Ingold as Richt, linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, and running backs Travis Homer and James Murphy stood around him.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average then experienced its largest single-day jump in history, leaping 1,086 points — nearly 5 percent. The S&P 500 Index also jumped nearly 5 percent, while the NASDAQ climbed almost 6 percent. The Standard & Poor’s and NASDAQ both erased their losses from a massive Christmas Even downturn Monday.
Johnson followed it up by closing out his career with another strong game. The senior grabbed a first-quarter interception and finished with a game-high 13 tackles.
▪ Miami ruled offensive lineman Taylor Gauthier academically ineligible before the game. The academic issues ended the senior’s consecutive-starts streak at 29 games. Hayden Mahoney started in Gauthier’s place at center and fellow offensive lineman Jahair Jones started in Mahoney’s place at left guard.
▪ The Hurricanes got a pair of tight ends back for the postseason. Brevin Jordan returned to the starting lineup after missing the regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Michael Irvin II also suited up for the first time following preseason knee surgery. Will Mallory, who also missed the Pittsburgh game with a knee injury, did not dress.
▪ Temperatures hovered in the high 30s throughout the game. Miami didn’t seem to be significantly affected by the cold, although the Hurricanes’ passing attack was its usual, mediocre self.
▪ Two members of Miami’s lauded freshman class entered Thursday on the borderline of burning their redshirts and the Hurricanes managed to keep the extra year of eligibility of both intact. Offensive lineman John Campbell and linebacker Patrick Joyner both played in their fourth games in the regular-season finale against Pitt, and sat out the Pinstripe Bowl. New NCAA rules allow a player to compete in a maximum of four games and still use the season as a redshirt year.
▪ Miami’s punter competition will look quite a bit different in 2019. Punter Jack Spicer announced Wednesday he’ll return for his redshirt senior season, then the team announced Thursday that punter Zach Feagles is leaving the program. The Hurricanes also hold an oral commitment from Louis Hedley, a two-star punter in the 247Sports.com composite rankings. Hedley, who is transferring from a junior college, will be a redshirt sophomore when he arrives in Coral Gables.
▪ One of Miami’s top signees from the early signing period made it out to the Bronx to check out his future team Thursday. Jason Blissett, a four-star defensive tackle from Poly Prep Country Day in Brooklyn, attended the game just eight days after signing his National Letter of Intent. Blissett is one of two players Miami signed from New York last week, along with three-star tackle Adam ElGammal.
▪ Miami used its four permanent captains as game captains: Johnson, linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, and running backs Travis Homer and James Murphy.