Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry to start against Georgia Tech

After an ugly, mud-soaked loss to Duke last Saturday that marked the Hurricanes’ third straight defeat, Miami coach Mark Richt said he wanted to see which of his players — particularly his quarterbacks — would earn the right to play at Georgia Tech.

It appears after several practices, redshirt freshman quarterback N’Kosi Perry has done enough to once again earn Richt’s trust.

The coach announced Thursday that Perry — who has played in seven of Miami’s nine games this season, starting three of them — will start Saturday against Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

“I think both Malik [Rosier] and N’Kosi practiced well. I thought they both competed well and we’re just making a decision based on what we think gives us the best shot,” Richt said.

Whether both Perry and Rosier will play Saturday, though, remains a question. Richt had said earlier in the week it was his intention to pick one quarterback and stick with him for the duration of the game, but he somewhat backed away from that stance after the Hurricanes had wrapped up their final practice for the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 3-3).

“That, I can’t just sit there and say for sure,” Richt responded when asked about the possibility of both quarterbacks playing. “We’ll start out with N’Kosi and see how it goes.”

All season, the Hurricanes have alternated quarterbacks and faced questions at their most visible position. Rosier — the redshirt senior who led Miami to 10 straight wins last season — started Miami’s first four games before he was replaced by fan favorite and former four-star prospect Perry.

But with both Rosier and Perry struggling at times and posting similar numbers, Richt has found himself rotating quarterbacks, particularly during Miami’s three-game losing streak.

After Rosier started against LSU, Savannah State, Toledo and FIU, Perry started against North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia.

But at Virginia in the first road start of his young career, Perry threw two early interceptions as the Hurricanes fell into a 10-point deficit.

Richt then opted to give Rosier, who last season led Miami to dramatic comeback wins against Florida State and Georgia Tech, the opportunity to try and spark the Hurricanes in Charlottesville.

There was no comeback that night, with Virginia hanging on for a 16-13 win. But Rosier kept his job and started Miami’s next game at Boston College and last Saturday’s game against Duke.

Against the Blue Devils, the Hurricanes continued struggling to score, though, and Richt gave Perry the chance to play, the younger quarterback seeing action on six series, including the last four.

Miami again came up a touchdown short, but with Perry under center, the Hurricanes drove down the field on their final possession, something Richt said Thursday helped him come to the decision to start Perry this week.

Entering Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, Perry has completed 52.4 percent of his passes for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns with five interceptions. Rosier, meanwhile, has completed 53.5 percent of his passes for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions.

“I’ve gotten to see N’Kosi continue to grow as a quarterback and continue to keep his work ethic up and he had a good week of practice,” Richt said. “I feel like even the last game that he was in, that very last drive of the game, if we don’t get a push-off in the end zone … he took us down the field when we needed it the most. And, of course, he had some great moments in the Florida State game, too, when we needed it the most. He’s played some ball now and I think he’s more ready today.”

Homer continues to improve

Running back Travis Homer, who has dealt with a strained calf since the Duke game, continues to improve, and could play this week against Georgia Tech.

The former Oxbridge Academy standout did not practice Tuesday and was limited in Wednesday’s session. But Richt said he practiced Thursday and that “we feel good about him playing.”

Homer has a team-high 702 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

While Homer has been limited in practice, Richt said freshman running back Cam Davis — who has appeared in just three games and has only six carries — got extensive work in practice and should see increased playing time against the Yellow Jackets.

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ccabrera@sun-sentinel.com; On Twitter @ChristyChirinos.

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