The Hurricanes faithful held their breath. Miami’s preseason All-American safety Jaquan Johnson limped off the field toward the sideline.
UM’s three-touchdown advantage was trimmed to just seven points with Johnson laboring a right hamstring injury.
But the Hurricanes found their hero.
Quarterback Malik Rosier — who received a loud monsoon of boos from Miami fans a week ago at Hard Rock Stadium —answered with a career-high five touchdowns to lead the No. 21-ranked Hurricanes to a 49-24 victory over the Toledo Rockets at the Glass Bowl.
The fifth-year senior became the first player in program history to rush for three touchdowns and throw for two scores in a single game since Miami Joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004.
“Malik came out today and he played with an edge and he played like the starter should,” running back DeeJay Dallas said. “He’s going to keep playing that, continue playing like that week in and week out. You’ll see, Malik’s going to be great. Malik’s okay.”
Rosier finished 13-for-23 for 205 passing yards and two touchdowns. The quarterback ran for 80 yards and tallied his first-career multi-rushing touchdown performance, notching three scores on the ground.
In the victory, the Hurricanes’ rushing attack took flight against the Rockets, outgaining Toledo 268-112. Miami (2-1) finished 7-of-15 on third-down conversions and did not have any penalties.
“I think the big thing is that this shouldn’t be a two or one-game wonder” Rosier said. “Our offense should score 40, 40-plus points every game. We have the talent, the capability. Now that we see that against a better team, against Toledo … we just have to show we can do that every week.”
Dallas led UM on the ground with a career-high 110 rushing yards and one touchdown. Fellow second-year playmaker Jeff Thomas tallied five catches for 105 yards and one score.
While the Hurricanes’ offense attack caught eyes of the sellout crowd of 28,117, Miami’s defense limited Toledo’s chances.
As a unit, the Hurricanes totaled 13 tackles for loss, including four sacks, and forced one interception. Cornerback Trajan Bandy sported the “Sebastian the Ibis” Turnover Chain for the second time this season after the lone takeaway.
Miami jumped out to a 7-0 lead on its first possession after a 5-yard Rosier touchdown run capped off a 12-play, 76 yard drive with 8:11 remaining in the first quarter.
The Hurricanes doubled their advantage to 14-0 when Rosier lobbed a ball over the top of the Rockets’ defense and connected with Thomas for a 38-yard passing score.
Two drives later, Rosier waltzed into the end zone for a 2-yard rushing touchdown to put Miami up 21-0 just before the halftime break.
But Toledo (1-1) responded before the intermission.
The Rockets scored in the closing minute of the first half when Mitchell Guadagni found Diontae Johnson for a 7-yard passing touchdown.
Miami and Toledo traded a pair of scores in the third quarter with the Hurricanes clinging to a 35-21 advantage heading into the final frame.
Rockets’ kicker Jameson Vest converted on a 47-yard field goal to trim the Miami lead to 35-24, but Rosier put the game out of reach when the quarterback scrambled for a 37-yard rushing touchdown. Reserve tailback Trayone Gray finished the contest’s scoring with a late touchdown run.
The victory gave Miami its first win on the road since Oct. 28, 2017 when the Hurricanes defeated North Carolina.
Miami returns home to take on the Florida International University Panthers in a crosstown showdown 3:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Hard Rock Stadium.