LINCOLN, Neb. - When Miami visits Nebraska on Saturday night, the game will feature two of college football’s best running backs.
Duke Johnson has yet to eclipse the century mark in a game this season, but the junior is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, finding the end zone twice in the Hurricanes’ first three games.
Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah has put himself in the Heisman conversation, reeling off 396 yards and four touchdown, helping the Huskers jump out to a 3-0 record. He’s also racked up over a 100 yards receiving from the backfield.
While a lot of the focus will be on the two ball carries on Saturday night, Abdullah says he’s not worried about the hype the storyline will generate.
“I’m just worrying about the defense,” said Abdullah. “The biggest enemy is ourselves. We can’t worry about the other team. As long as we are doing what we need to be doing and playing fundamentally sound, I don’t feel like anyone can stop us. Why worry about anyone else when your biggest enemy is yourself.”
Saturday night’s ESPN 2 contest could go a long way in either player’s run for possible post-season accolades at the end of the year.
“We have great defenders on our side,” said Abdullah. “We have Maliek Collins who is really stepping up. Obviously Randy (Gregory) is back in the equation. I’m sure they will have a great game plan to corral him (Johnson).
“He (Johnson) is a great runner; very electrifying and fast when he gets the ball in open space. I’m sure he’s going to have his fair share of good plays, but hopefully we will have more plays than him. He’s one of the top backs in the country. He is very patient and very strong for his size. He is someone who I really watch and study as a runner.”
Fans shouldn’t be surprised if either running back has a season high in carries when the two square-off.
“I think their game and philosophy starts with the running game,” said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. “They want to be physical and they want to pound you some. They kind of set up their passing game with the running game by getting some play-actions with things down the field and making you have to honor that running game. Like any good football team, you better control the line of scrimmage and control the running game. That gives you a lot better opportunity to dictate to them rather than them dictate to you.”