MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes lost their undefeated season to Florida State Saturday night, but lost much more after X-rays came back on running back Duke Johnson.
Johnson broke his right ankle in the second-half of the Seminoles vs. Hurricanes game when he went down on his knees and was bent over backwards as he was being tackled. Johnson will need surgery in the next few days according to multiple reports.
The Hurricanes had relied on Johnson for much of the year as the team’s primary offensive weapon and now he will be out for the remainder of the season. Johnson finished the game with 97 rushing yards and finished the season with 920 yards on the ground.
Johnson’s injury is the second significant one to rob Miami’s offense of a key skill player this season. The Hurricanes are still without wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who partially tore a ligament in his left knee last month and is expected to remain sidelined for at least a couple more weeks.
“We’ve got to saddle up and get back on and move forward,” Miami coach Al Golden said Saturday night in Tallahassee, before the news of the extent of Johnson’s injury became known. “Our kids have had a great attitude. They’ve been fighters. They’ve been resilient. And now we’ve just got to get moving forward.”
Miami (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) remains in control of the league’s Coastal Division race. The Hurricanes play host to Virginia Tech next Saturday in what will almost certainly prove to be a pivotal game on the way to deciding the Coastal champion.
With Johnson out, Miami figures to use running back Dallas Crawford in the feature-back role going forward.
“Hopefully we’ve got six games left,” Golden said after the Florida State game, again before the severity of the Johnson matter became known. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. There’s a whole lot of football left. We have to get better. That’s my chief concern right now.”
Johnson left three other games early this season, one because Miami had things well in hand against Savannah State and two others after getting shaken up after hard hits. He had been tested for concussions at least twice but didn’t miss any games, and ran a career-high 30 times on Oct. 26 with a pair of late touchdowns to lift the Hurricanes over Wake Forest.
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