The Miami Hurricanes entered their matchup with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons as a prohibitive favorite. The Hurricanes were ranked No. 7 in the nation and had an offense that was averaging 42.1 points per game. However, the Hurricanes were in a battle from start to finish and relied on running back Duke Johnson to carry them to a 24-21 victory in Sun Life Stadium.
The Hurricanes’ offense looked lackluster following a nine-day lay off. The Hurricanes totaled 391 yards and were 6-of-13 on third-down conversions. Wake Forest was able to control the line of scrimmage early in the game and held a 14-10 lead late into the fourth quarter.
However, that is when Johnson took over the ball game. The sophomore seemed determined to carry the load for the offense. Johnson was able to pound the Demon Deacons’ defensive front for tough yards and put the Hurricanes into scoring position. Johnson’s four-yard run with 5:36 left in the fourth gave the Hurricanes a 17-14 lead. Johnson capped off his spectacular day with a one-yard touchdown run that sealed the victory for Miami.
Johnson finished the ball game with 168 rushing on 30 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. More impressively, was his ability to come up big when his team needed him the most. In the fourth quarter, Johnson was able to rip the Wake Forest defense for 80 of his 168 total rushing yards.
Johnson’s big day solidified him as a legitimate featured back and possible dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. His effort helped move the Hurricanes to a perfect 8-0 on the season and keep their National Championship hopes alive for another week.
The Hurricanes and Duke Johnson will have another opportunity to make a statement next weekend when the Hurricanes face No. 2 Florida State in Coral Gables.