Miami enters 2019 with big questions after humiliating Pinstripe Bowl loss

Nick Bromberg
Mark Richt’s team is just 7-9 after starting 10-0 in 2017. (Getty)
Mark Richt’s team is just 7-9 after starting 10-0 in 2017. (Getty)

Wisconsin has outscored Miami 69-27 in the last 362 days.

Less than a year after beating the Hurricanes 34-24 in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2017, Wisconsin obliterated Miami 35-3 in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night. The Hurricanes committed five turnovers, including four interceptions by quarterbacks Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry.

Wisconsin didn’t let off the gas either. Instead of simply sitting on the ball with less than a minute left near the Miami end zone, Wisconsin (8-5) snapped the ball with less than 15 seconds left and Taiwan Deal scored a one-yard touchdown with eight seconds left for the 28-point margin.

It might as well have been 56-3 with how poorly Miami (7-6) played. And it could have easily been 45-3. Wisconsin missed two field goals in the first half. One came after a touchdown pass was called back by a very close chop block.

Wisconsin’s Twitter account even mocked Miami too, calling back to the epically bad Cheez-It Bowl from Wednesday night after Miami’s fourth interception of the night.

And then Wisconsin mocked the turnover chain after the game was over.

Miami athletic director Blake James even issued a statement on Twitter later Thursday evening about how poorly the loss — and the season — went.

“Our football team’s performance tonight — and at other times this season — is simply unacceptable to all of us who love the U,” James said. “I am committed to getting UM Football back to national prominence and that process is underway. We will compete for ACC and national championships and I know that coach Richt is alongside me in that commitment to excellence.”

Miami QBs threw for 48 yards and 4 picks

If you’re looking for some positivity about the state of the Miami program, this is not the place. The Hurricanes had a combined 48 yards passing Thursday night. The team rushed for 121 yards, but 62 of those came on a long run by quarterback Malik Rosier. Otherwise, the team had 22 carries for 59 yards.

Wisconsin rushed the ball 58 times for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Badgers QB Jack Coan, starting in place of the injured Alex Hornibrook, threw the ball just 11 times. Rosier’s first pass of the night was intercepted. The play that followed after Wisconsin took a 14-0 lead was a groundball snap.

Rosier was a senior in 2018 and split time with N’Kosi Perry at quarterback this season. Rosier was 5-of-12 passing for 46 yards and three interceptions. Perry, who was disciplined by the team for an explicit social media post that surfaced, was 1-of-5 passing for 2 yards and an interception that was beyond bad.

Since Rosier isn’t returning, Perry returns as the favorite to start at quarterback in 2019. But he completed just over 50 percent of his passes in 2018 and averaged fewer than six yards an attempt. Those aren’t acceptable numbers for a starting quarterback.

Miami ends 2018 with a negative turnover margin

The defense won’t have coordinator Manny Diaz back in 2019. The creator of the turnover chain is heading to Temple to be the Owls’ next head coach. Diaz stayed at Miami for the bowl game but it wasn’t the sendoff he was hoping for.

Miami’s run in 2017 was propelled by turnovers. Thanks to a four-turnover deficit in the Pinstripe Bowl, the Hurricanes will end 2018 on the negative side of the turnover ledger at minus-1. The defense forced 25 turnovers while the offense committed 26.

Turnover margin can be fluky, and maybe Miami’s undefeated start to 2017 was a fluke. It’s hard not to think that. The Hurricanes are just 7-9 over their last 16 games following that undefeated run to begin last season.

There aren’t any five-star reinforcements coming in 2019, either. Miami’s recruiting class ranks 42nd in Rivals’ 2019 team recruiting rankings with 15 commitments. Seven of those are four-star recruits.

Miami coach Mark Richt’s homecoming started off just fine with a nine-win season in 2016 and that 10-0 start in 2017. But the program hasn’t been the same since Pitt stunned the Hurricanes in the final week of the regular season a year ago.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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