ARLINGTON, Texas — Malik Rosier and the Miami Hurricanes had quite a breakout in coach Mark Richt's second season with a 10-0 start.
The finish wasn't all that good.
The No. 8 Hurricanes have their highest preseason ranking in 14 seasons despite ending 2017 with a three-game losing streak. They won't be easing into Richt's third season, as they open Sunday night against No. 25 LSU in a neutral-site stadium where the Tigers have gone 3-0 — all against Top 25 opponents.
This is how we roll at the U! It’s fun to live in paradise! U Family! pic.twitter.com/PjOAqhNFdJ— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) July 27, 2018
"You're going to find some of the greatest athletes in America on that team," said Richt, who coached in the SEC for 15 seasons at Georgia before taking over at his alma mater. "They can go toe to toe with anybody in America physically."
LSU is undefeated at AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. The Tigers beat Texas A&M in the 2011 Cotton Bowl, opened the 2011 season with a win over Oregon and beat TCU in the season kickoff game there five years ago.
Rosier set a Hurricanes record last season when he was responsible for 31 touchdowns (26 passing, five rushing), one more than Vinny Testaverde in his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 1986. Rosier's 3,588 total yards (3,120 passing, 468 passing) were a school record in his first year as the starter.
Can't wait to be on field with my brothers on Sunday! pic.twitter.com/05hg7pQ2yQ— Malik Rosier (@MalikRosier12) August 31, 2018
But Rosier had three touchdowns and five interceptions in the three losses — at Pittsburgh, 38-3 to Clemson in the ACC championship game and then to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.
LSU is the fourth-highest ranked team from the SEC West behind top-ranked defending national champion Alabama, No. 9 Auburn and No. 18 Mississippi State. The Tigers have a senior quarterback in line to make his first college start with graduate transfer Joe Burrow.
ALMOST GAME TIME!!!! GEAUX TIGERS pic.twitter.com/nwahezEiu9— Coach Ed Orgeron (@Coach_EdOrgeron) July 18, 2018
Burrow appeared in 10 games for Ohio State the past two seasons. He competed for LSU's starting spot with Myles Brennan, one of prized 2017 recruits for the Tigers.
"It was a very, very tight race," coach Ed Orgeron said. "If (Burrow) does not perform well, we have no problem putting in the second-team quarterback."