MIAMI GARDENS (AP) — Before the season was 90 seconds old, the Miami Hurricanes dropped an interception that would have been a sure-fire touchdown, committed a penalty on special teams and was flagged for delay of game prior to their first play from scrimmage.
So there was some rust.
None of it was on Duke Johnson.
Johnson had career-highs of 186 yards and 19 carries before departing in the third quarter, receiver Herb Waters took a pitch on an end-around for a 63-yard rushing score and Miami beat Florida Atlantic 34-6 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
“What did he total, about 240, 230, something like that,” Hurricanes coach Al Golden said of Johnson, who finished with 224 all-purpose yards on 20 touches when adding in his one catch for 38 yards. “That’s kind of what we need him to be, somewhere around there. I thought he did a good job with that. He’s healthy. He cut two guys down on that play where we scored, so again he’s a very unselfish player.”
Stephen Morris threw for 160 yards and another score for the Hurricanes, who play host to No. 10 Florida “I’m happy about tonight,” Morris said. “There’s obviously a lot of things that we’ve got to improve on, third-down efficiency and things like that.”
Johnson left in the third quarter after getting shaken up while throwing a block on the play where Waters scored and was checked out on the Miami sideline to rule out a concussion, which is standard team protocol. He did not seem to need any treatment and, even with much of the second half off, his was the highest rushing total by any Miami player since Tyrone Moss ran for 195 against North Carolina on Oct. 29, 2005.
Mitch Anderson kicked two field goals for FAU, which is now 4-24 in its last 28 games. The Owls got into Miami territory on their final drive, then spiked the ball with 6 seconds left to stop the clock – with the slight problem there being it was already fourth down.
Miami out-gained FAU 503-250.
“I thought we battled,” said FAU coach Carl Pelini, who suspended five players – two of them starters – late in the week because of violations of team rules. “We will learn from this game.”
Dozens of members of the 1983 Miami national championship team were at the game as part of the Hurricanes’ 30th anniversary celebration of that title. Howard Schnellenberger coached that team and started the Florida Atlantic program 15 years later, so the night had plenty of meaning for both sides.