MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A home opener is always filled with high expectations from fans. Well, Duke Johnson delivered.
the freshman running back scored four impressive touchdowns Saturday to lead UM to a 38-10 victory over Bethune-Cookman.
• A 95-yard kickoff return.
• A 1-yard, head-first plunge.
• A 50-yard catch on a screen play.
• A 28-yard run in which he went left, then cut right.
Without Johnson, one could only imagine. He rushed 14 times for 94 yards. He caught three passes for 57 yards. And he had the one brilliant return for 95 yards for a total of 246 all-purpose yards.
UM quarterback Stephen Morris was not nearly as sharp at Sun Life Stadium, missing open receivers and throwing an interception. He was mostly out of sync the entire day.
The first quarter conjured up memories of 2011, when Bethune also led 7-0. This time, the Wildcats drove 20 yards on six plays for a 1-yard touchdown after UM’s Phillip Dorsett fumbled a punt return.
But the Hurricanes wasted no time in answering the call. Johnson sprinted 95 yards on the ensuing kickoff for the touchdown. It took him 12 seconds to make the score 7-7. The return tied Tremain Mack (Syracuse, 1996) for the eighth-longest kickoff return in Miami History.
The Canes made it 14-7 after Johnson culminated a nine-play, 50-yard drive with a nifty 1-yard move at the goal line to get past a defender with 5:48 left in the half.
Miami stopped Bethune on downs, and took over on its 33. A 14-yard catch by Mike James was followed by a one-handed, in-the-air grab by Rashawn Scott to move the chains 22 yards to the Bethune 10. Four plays later, Jake Wieclaw kicked a 20-yard field goal to stay perfect this season on his five attempts. The Canes led 17-7 with 35 seconds left in the first half.
There were several UM players treated for injuries during the game, some of whom returned. But the loss of middle linebacker Denzel Perryman is likely to have the most impact. Perryman left the game in the third quarter and returned on crutches. He wore a boot on his right foot, and it appears he has an ankle injury.
The Canes travel to Atlanta next Saturday to face the option running attack of Georgia Tech.
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