College Sports

Hurricanes favored big for quarterback N’Kosi Perry’s first start in UM-FSU rivalry

No quarterback mystery this week.

Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt made it clear on Monday during his weekly WQAM radio time slot that redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry will be the starting quarterback when Florida State comes to Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday for a nationally televised (ABC) 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

Not that Canes football fans hadn’t figured that out already.

The No. 17 Canes (4-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) start the week as 12 1/2-point favorites over the Seminoles (3-2, 1-2).

“He graded well,’’ Richt told WQAM regarding Perry, who completed 8 of 12 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, with one interception in UM’s 47-10 victory over North Carolina on Thursday. “Very accurate when he did throw at his targets, when he did get the ball out. He missed a couple reads, but everybody makes mistakes, especially with your first shot out of the cannon. I thought he handled it well. I thought he did really good.”

Perry, for the season, is now 35 of 51 (66.7 percent) for 442 yards, with seven touchdowns and three interceptions in four games. He has not scored any rushing touchdowns.

Former starter Malik Rosier, who got beaten out of the starting job for the first time last week, is 38 of 73 (52.1) for 611 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions, in four games. Rosier also has scored five touchdowns rushing.

The Hurricanes had lost seven consecutive years to the Seminoles before they won last season in Tallahassee on a last-second, 23-yard touchdown pass from Rosier to Darrell Langham.

Richt’s rationale for starting Perry over Rosier: “It really was a cumulative effect of N’Kosi growing up, getting better at all the things you gotta do to be a starting quarterback on and off the field. He certainly couldn’t play in the first game because he wasn’t there [because of a one-game suspension]. That kind of slowed down the train a little bit.

“I saw it coming from a distance,’’ Richt told WQAM. “It wasn’t going to happen Game One certainly because of [the suspension], but it wasn’t like a week before the game he did something to keep him out of that game. It was something that happened months and months ago, and things had been corrected.

“...But after that was over and I felt like it was the right time, we did it. He’s going to be the starter this week and he’ll prepare for that moment.”

Richt said UM’s 45 offensive plays were “the least amount’’ since he’s been coaching.

“That’s what happens when you score on defense and then you gotta go play defense again,’’ Richt said. “Gosh, we only threw it I think 12 times. That might be a career low for me, too. We were efficient throwing the ball when we did and we ran the ball well.

“The story of the day obviously was six turnovers and 21 defensive points.

“Heck, we had to score again at the end of the game just to have the offense score more than the defense. That was important.”

Defensively, end Jonathan Garvin scored on a 9-yard fumble recovery, end Joe Jackson scored on a 42-yard interception return and striker Romeo Finley scored on an 83-yard interception return.

“It was crazy,’’ Richt said.

When Joe Rose asked Richt about injuries to receiver Ahmmon Richards (knee) and safety Jaquan Johnson (hamstring), here was the coach’s response: “Jaquan is closer than Ahmmon right now. It’s hard to say for sure.

“It looks like Shaq [Quarterman] is going to be OK, too. It’s going to be a while before Ahmmon is ready.”

Middle linebacker Quarterman sprained his ankle in the UNC game, Richt said Thursday night.

Richards has been out of action since early in the opener against LSU, when he injured himself on his only catch of the season.

Johnson hurt his hamstring just before the first half ended Sept. 15 at Toledo. He hasn’t played since then.

The Canes kickoff at Virginia on Oct. 13 will be at 7 p.m. and broadcast on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. The definitive station will be announced Saturday.

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