Malik Rosier makes team’s former weakness its strength

Miami redshirt junior quarterback Malik Rosier (12) rushes between the tackles for a positive yardage. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 25-24 Oct. 14 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Josh White
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Miami redshirt junior quarterback Malik Rosier (12) rushes between the tackles for a positive yardage. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 25-24 Oct. 14 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Josh White

By no means has Malik Rosier played perfect games over the course of the last two Saturdays.

There was the lackluster first half at Florida State, in which the Miami Hurricanes were held scoreless and barely managed to cross midfield.

There were times at home against Georgia Tech Oct. 14 when drives were stalled because Rosier and the rest of the offense couldn’t find a rhythm.

But when the game is on the line, Rosier has consistently shown an uncanny ability to kick the offense into overdrive and leave the field victorious.

For a good portion of the last decade, coming up short in the moments that matter most has marred Miami’s football reputation. However, it seems that Rosier has exceeded all expectations by bringing a newfound confidence to the team that has allowed them to shine when the spotlight is brightest.

Before consecutive wins to the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets, big games were a dreadful experience for most Canes fans. Miami had endured a seven-game losing streak against arch-rival FSU – a streak so long that Rosier remembered attending the last Miami victory over Florida State when he was still in middle school.

“My sisters were FSU fans, and my dad and I were Miami fans, so it was pretty crazy,” Rosier said.

Watching Miami squander opportunities during key moments in those big games was an even more excruciating experience for Miami supporters.

For evidence, look no further than the previous three games against Florida State. In all three, the Hurricanes had a chance to score and take the lead on the final possession, and in all three, they failed.

But not this year.

“In years past, we’ve folded in those big moments – we’ve folded on those fourth-quarter drives,” senior wideout Braxton Berrios said.

Rosier was a player who many believed was chosen as the starting quarterback solely because he was the most experienced, not necessarily the most talented. Expectations weren’t extremely high, but there were still obvious pressures that came with being named the starter – ones that Rosier was more than willing to accept.

So when he is asked to lead game-winning drives in back-to-back weeks against two talented ACC opponents, Rosier didn’t think twice. The pressures don’t phase him.

The Canes are still undefeated, and Rosier is leading the charge.

“I’m not trying to do anything more than what I’m coached to do, and coaches are doing a great job at putting me in the right situation at the end of the game to make the game a winning drive,” Rosier said after a one-point win over Georgia Tech.

Rosier is not afraid to bear the responsibility of instilling confidence in his team, something many quarterbacks in the recent past haven’t always done. There has been a lot of “sticking to the script.”

Yes, the U invented swagger, but after getting slammed with NCAA sanctions years ago, it seemed like the football program shied away from it.

Rosier has brought this swagger back, propelling the Canes to a 5-0 start and an ascension to the No. 8 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 poll. In the process, he has put up impressive numbers that have placed him on the watch list for the Manning Award, which is an honor given to the nation’s top quarterback.

Few expected either one of those two accomplishments out of Rosier, and even he was hesitant when asked if he believed he would be the one to get the proverbial FSU monkey off of Miami’s back.

“Did I ever think it would be me?” Rosier said. “Maybe, but the fact that it is me now is so exhilarating.”