Duke Johnson closing in on Miami’s all-time rushing mark


There’s a case to be made that Duke Johnson is the best running back in Miami’s football history, and the junior Miami native is currently making it.

After failing to hit the 100-yard mark in the first four games of the season, Johnson has been on a tear, carrying 97 times for 843 yards (8.7 yards a pop) and a half-dozen touchdowns over the Hurricanes’ last five games – a stretch where, not coincidentally, Miami has gone 4-1 and averaged 44 points a game in its last three outings. For the year, Johnson ranks sixth nationally in rushing with 1,213 yards on 158 carries and 15th in FBS at 7.68 yards per carry. He has already set career-best marks for carries and yards, and will hit the trifecta with two more rushing touchdowns.

Johnson followed up a 249-yard performance in a 30-6 Thursday night win over Virginia Tech with a 177-yard, two-touchdown effort in a 47-20 pasting of North Carolina on Saturday, placing him second all-time on Miami’s storied rushing list.

Johnson’s 3,080 yards place him sixth among all active players, and third among all juniors – trailing only Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley. Johnson’s leads all active FBS players with 170.31 all-purpose yards per game.

He needs only 252 yards to pass Ottis Anderson for the school record. At his current five-game average of 168.6 yards contest, Johnson should break the record in the third quarter of Miami’s Nov. 22 game with Virginia.

The Hurricanes’ offense has clicked into high gear over the course of its three-game winning streak, as Johnson’s efforts have paired with improved play by true freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya (61 percent passing for 567 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions) to give Miami its best offense of the Al Golden era.

After an off week, Miami hosts No. 2 Florida State on Nov. 15.