MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Saturday, in front of a raucous, rowdy, and inspired crowd of 63,932 at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Hurricanes put together their most impressive performance yet in their toughest test of the season so far.
On a clear, starry night, with the team wearing special edition “Miami Nights” all black jerseys on black pants, Hurricanes fans knew they were witnessing something special. The “turnover chain” made four appearances, the offense scored four touchdowns, and Miami dominated the Virginia Tech Hokies in every facet of the football game en route to a 28-10 victory.
It may be premature to say “The U is back,” but they’ve certainly put the college football world on notice. This Saturday, ESPN’s College Game Day will visit Coral Gables for the first time in a decade. 7th ranked Miami’s showdown with Number 3 Notre Dame will make South Florida the epicenter of the college football universe.
Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt joined the Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM on Monday morning, and reflected on the special atmosphere he witnessed as his team roasted the Hokies.
“When you come to Miami, you know there are some challenges to getting people excited about the program,” Richt said. “Right now, people are excited, and we’re thankful for that. We’re thankful for everybody being there and creating the atmosphere, because it does mean so much to the players. It means so much during the course of the game when you know you’ve got your fans behind you. It’s tough on the opponent to function and to think clearly. It makes things worse than they are for the opponent, and I can’t thank [the fans] enough for showing up in numbers and for being loud. It was wonderful.”
The fans had plenty of reasons to be loud. For starters, Miami’s rushing attack, which took a vacation during the North Carolina game the previous week (totaling just 59 yards), bounced back in a big way. Miami rushed for 219 yards as a team, despite facing the nation’s 12th ranked run-defense. Running back Travis Homer broke loose for a 64 yard touchdown in the second quarter, through a big hole from his offensive line.
“The line did great, there’s no doubt about it,” Richt said. “The offensive line has had its ups and downs but I thought it was their best performance by far, against a very quality defensive front-seven. There are some things, schematically, that [offense line] coach Searels and [offensive coordinator] coach Brown put together in the run-game that really helped us, but it was a matter of just getting after it. They did a beautiful job.”
At quarterback, Malik Rosier produced mixed results but made plenty of big plays. He threw a career-worst 3 interceptions in the game, but threw 2 touchdown passes and ran for another. Rosier rushed for 84 yards on 13 carries and even caught a pass from receiver Braxton Berrios on a trick play.
Richt assessed Rosier’s performance, and explained what happened on the interception plays.
“We knew we had to be aggressive and we knew we had to take shots down the field against that (Virginia Tech) defense,” noted Richt. “They were going to crowd the box with safeties and just challenge him to throw the ball down the field. We had one pick where the ball was tipped and there’s not much you can do. We had another pick, where we told [Rosier,] put the ball in play, and the defender made a great play. That happens from time to time. We actually had a missed assignment on a route on the third interception. So, it wasn’t like he was just blindly slinging the ball up for grabs. He made mostly good decisions and made some good throws under pressure and made some great runs. Overall, he did play very well.”
Rose asked Richt what he told Rosier after the third interception, to make sure his mind was in a positive place.
Richt said the major pep talk to Rosier was delivered by Richt’s son, quarterbacks coach Jon Richt.
“Jon did a great job with just saying, ‘look, we knew this was going to happen as far as having to be aggressive, and we knew these kinds of things can happen.’ He said, ‘just don’t flinch. Don’t flinch.’ We just had to keep playing aggressive football and keep trusting the system and keep trusting the offensive line. We had to keep firing the ball, because if we didn’t, they’d eat us up.”
Miami, now ranked 7th by the Associated Press and 6th by the Coaches, will find out their new ranking in the College Football Playoff Poll on Tuesday. The Hurricanes are expected to move up in the CFP Poll after debuting at Number 10 last week.
Miami’s next opponent, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, will likely maintain their Number 3 ranking from the CFP.
Kickoff for Miami-Notre Dame is set for 8:00 PM on Saturday, November 11th from Hard Rock Stadium. You can listen to the game on 560 WQAM.
You can listen to the full interview with Mark Richt on The Joe Rose Show above.