CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Duke Johnson's season is over. Miami's season is not.
In simplest terms, that's reality for the 14th-ranked Hurricanes. The undefeated record is gone, their best player's right ankle is broken and neither will be back until 2014. Johnson will have surgery in the coming days, school officials said Sunday, one day after he got tackled on a fourth-down play that ended both a Miami drive and their star's season.
"I'm disappointed for Randy because he was really starting to understand how to be a good running back," Miami coach Al Golden said Sunday, referring to Johnson by his given name. "He was really starting to convert talent to skill."
So on Sunday, the regrouping from both a 41-14 loss to No. 3 Florida State, and the loss of their top threat was already underway in earnest for the Hurricanes (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who will meet Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) this weekend in a game that could go a long way toward deciding the league's Coastal Division race.
Golden tried to keep his players out of the team facilities for the most part Sunday, saying that at this point in the season he wants them to rest both their minds and bodies whenever possible. Practice resumes Monday morning, when the matchup with the Hokies — not the loss to the Seminoles, and not any looming surgery — will start becoming the focus.
"There are no excuses in this building today," Golden said. "We've got to get it fixed."
By that, Golden meant the problems on the field, and not his running back's right ankle. Miami was down 21-14 at the half against the Seminoles, then got overmatched in the second half. The Hurricanes' defense, which has been vastly improved this year over 2012, allowed Florida State to convert a whopping 11 times in 15 third-down opportunities.
And there's no time to lick wounds, either. Virginia Tech hasn't lost consecutive games to Miami in more than a decade, and the Hokies remain very much in the Coastal mix as well. The Hokies will be facing a Miami offense that was already without wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (knee) and now has Dallas Crawford in the feature-back role with Johnson sidelined.
"There's a lesson in every loss.. Learn from it.. and move on," Crawford wrote on Twitter early Sunday.