After getting a relatively light workload since the opener at Louisville, Hurricanes star running back Duke Johnson is expecting more action Saturday night at No.24 Nebraska.
Johnson, whose odds of winning the Heisman Trophy slipped in Las Vegas from 33 to 1 to 100 to 1 this week, ranks 35th nationally in rushing with 277 yards and 68th with a 6.44 per-carry average. But that is hardly disappointing, considering he is averaging only a little over 14 attempts per game this season (tied for 62nd nationally). Last year, Johnson averaged 18 carries per game.
“If he’s in the low 20s it would be good,” coach Al Golden said. “Obviously, we had the opportunity the last two games to get him out after he had a good run. It wasn’t like he sat out. He had a good dose of carries. It was just more important we got Gus [Edwards] and Joe [Yearby] and [Trayone] Gray opportunities and develop our depth there. But there’s no question Duke is ready to run the ball.”
Nebraska ranks 50th against the run in yards per game and is surrendering 3.77 yards per carry (62nd out of 128 teams). The Canes are averaging 4.66 yards per carry.
Johnson, who also has been targeted on seven pass plays, said Monday that he feels fresh.
“Coach didn’t want to bang me up too much before we get into the real important part of the season,” he said. “Whatever it takes [at Nebraska], I’m fine.”