For three quarters of the night, the Miami Hurricanes were in a battle with their conference rival, the Florida State Seminoles. The Hurricanes weathered an early Seminoles barrage and went toe-to-toe with the no. 3 ranked team in the nation. In the end, however, the Hurricanes did not make enough plays to capture the road upset victory and lost 41-14.
Miami’s hopes for rebounding in their conference and getting back on track took a major hit when star running back Duke Johnson left the game with a broken ankle in the third quarter. The Hurricanes must now finish out the rest of their season without their workhorse who carried them to their no. 7 ranking and unblemished record entering this contest.
As the game unfolded, it was evident that the Hurricanes’ best offensive weapon of the evening was Johnson. He darted his way between Seminoles defenders through the first two quarters as Miami trailed 21-14 at the half.
Johnson’s ability to run between the tackles took the pressure off of quarterback Stephen Morris and the rest of the offense. Johnson was able to slash his way for 57 yards on 17 carries against the Seminoles’ hard-hitting defense. He finished the game with 23 carries for 97 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry.
For the Hurricanes, they must now regroup and rely on other weapons to carry the load the rest of the way. When Johnson is in the lineup, the Hurricanes can utilize a play-action passing game that can stretch opposing defenses. However, it will be difficult to duplicate Johnson’s heart and determination. His runs are bigger than his 5-foot-8, 195-pound frame, and the Hurricanes have fed off of his emotion all season long.
For the season, Johnson has amassed 920 rushing yards for an average of 6.2 yards per carry and six touchdowns. In order to regroup and save their season, the team needs to find other offensive weapons to step up in Johnson’s absence. The Hurricanes have four conference opponents remaining on their schedule and must put this game in the rear view mirror. However, it will not be an easy task with their star player watching from the sidelines.