DURHAM, N.C. -- Hiding behind his zipped jacket, Duke Johnson took it all in stride.
Calling no attention his way, Johnson's last day as Miami's star rookie was one for the scrapbook. Spotting Clinton Portis' UM freshman rushing record, he treated it like a Duke tackler in the open field. A quick juke and goodbye.
Needing only 58 yards for the tie, Johnson went for 176 on 16 carries including three touchdowns in Miami's 52-45 win. Finishing the year with 947 yards, the Miami native had 100-yard games in three of his final four games.
Johnson quickly deferred praise to the rest of the offense as he has all season. But his Saturday performance was especially artistic. Freezing cornerback Tony Foster on his touchdown, an 18-yarder, Johnson gave a look at the future of the Miami offense.
"It's just instincts," he said. "A lot of the time it's my body movement where I don't really think about it. But that's something I practice over and over in the offseason and in high school also -- just certain moves to set up the defender to make him miss and just keep running."
The record-breaker, however, came in a less-exciting moment. Taking the first handoff of the second half, Johnson broke a few tackles for a 5-yard gain. A 15-yard clipping penalty moved the Hurricanes back, but the rushing yardage still counted. A play later, Johnson broke free for a 35-yarder bettered only by a 65-yard touchdown run later in the quarter.
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said he was unaware a record was on the line.
"And that game wasn't one that you could say hey, let's get a touch here or a touch there," he said. "We just needed to go win. But Randy is a phenomenal player, we all know that."
His day almost got even better on a trick play early in the fourth quarter. Originally ruled a touchdown, Johnson's jump pass to tight end Clive Walford was later ruled incomplete after video review. Fisch said the play was inspired by tape of Kansas State and Cincinnati. It worked in practice, too, but that was only a side note in Saturday's game.
Fisch was also quick to point out Mike James' 67 yards on 17 carries and the 72-yard touchdown reception he hauled in. The dynamic will change next year without James in the backfield and providing relief for Johnson.
"Mike is like a big brother -- a dad to all the running backs," Johnson said. "... He's the guy our coaches want us to be like because he's the same guy every day."
But he'll also be taking fewer carries away from Johnson in his sophomore season.
Johnson came up a few yards short of another record. Needing 315 all-purpose yards to equal Willis McGahee's record of 2,108 set in 2002, Johnson went for 277 on Saturday.
That was likely one long kickoff return away from trouble since Johnson didn't have his most explosive special teams day. His four kickoff returns averaged 22.3 yards with a long of 29.
Records or not, there's no denying the place Johnson's first Miami season holds in program history.
"He's a special young man," coach Al Golden said. "He works hard and wants the ball in has hands at the end of the game. With the entire offensive line coming back ... I think he's going to benefit from that greatly."
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