UM | Duke Johnson

Miami Hurricanes’ Duke Johnson shines in loss

Had the Hurricanes won he would have been the hero, but Duke Johnson was all but an afterthought Saturday at Scott Stadium.

An afterthought with an amazing amount of talent.

Johnson, a freshman, had another spectacular performance in his short Miami career:

• He rushed for 150 yards on 16 carries — a 9.4 average.

• He returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-14 in the first quarter.

• He threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns for UM’s first touchdown.

• He garnered 214 yards on four kickoff returns.

Johnson’s 368 yards Saturday is the fourth best all-purpose performance in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

This season, Johnson has rushed for touchdowns, thrown for one, caught a touchdown pass and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

“I’m just going out there and doing everything I can for my team,” said Johnson, who now has 705 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns for the season.

Previously plagued by turf toe and a sprained ankle, Johnson acknowledged that he felt as healthy as he has in a long time.

“I’m overcoming adversity to do everything I can to help us win,” he said.

Johnson’s kickoff return was his second of the season, tying a UM career record for that feat. Three other former UM players ran back two kickoffs for touchdowns in their careers: Tim Morgan (1973-76), Ottis Anderson (1975-78) and Devin Hester (2003-05).

With his all-purpose total of 1,688 this season, Johnson passed Edgerrin James to become No. 3 for a single-season in all-purpose yardage. Ahead of him: Anderson (1,708) and Willis McGahee (2,108).

He said of Saturday’s kickoff return: “When I caught the ball, I don’t think their guys were looking at me. … Our guys did a great job of walling them off and creating a seam up the sideline.”

Johnson was asked what he thought of his diverse scoring prowess.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m just doing everything I can.”

The one play he couldn’t accomplish, however, was the one that might have made the difference in the final score. On third-and-6 on UM’s final offensive play from the UVA 49, Johnson could only muster two yards.

“They did a great job in containing me on that play,” Johnson said. “They executed.”

Said UM coach Al Golden: “We knew that they were bringing pressure and I thought it was a safe bet. It’s unfortunate that we came up short.”


Left tackle Malcolm Bunche left the game midway through the third quarter with an undisclosed injury. He did not return. … Cornerback Brandon McGee intercepted his second pass of the season in the second quarter, leading to Jake Wieclaw’s sixth consecutive field goal (30 yards) and giving UM a 24-21 lead.

Defensive end Anthony Chickillo picked up his third and fourth sacks of the season, resulting in a total loss of 18 yards. He now leads UM with four sacks.

Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had his third game with at least 100 yards receiving (six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown).

Linebacker Gionni Paul led Miami with 14 tackles, while Jimmy Gaines had 12.

Freshman safety Rayshawn Jenkins had eight tackles, after entering the day with six stops for the season.

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