On the first touchdown run of his college career, Duke Johnson broke a handful of tackles on a 54-yard romp to the end zone.
The second one went even longer and the Miami freshman was untouched all the way, helping the Hurricanes to a 41-32 win over Boston College on Saturday.
"Duke's play obviously boosted the momentum," receiver Phillip Dorsett said after watching Johnson run for 135 yards and two long touchdowns to help the Hurricanes come back to beat BC. "Without him, we don't know what's going to happen."
Johnson scored from 54 and 56 yards out after the Eagles opened a 14-0 lead, and Stephen Morris threw for 207 yards and a touchdown in the season opener for both teams. The Atlantic Coast Conference schools also played each other in the 2011 finale, when BC beat the Hurricanes in Miami for the first time since Doug Flutie's famous desperation heave in 1984.
Chase Rettig completed 32 of 51 passes for two touchdowns and a career-high 441 yards — the most for a BC quarterback since Flutie. He led the Eagles to scores on their first two drives, but Miami tied it on Denzel Perryman's 41-yard interception return to end the first quarter.
Johnson's second score made it 31-23. The Eagles fumbled the ball away on consecutive drives to start the fourth quarter to set up a field goal and touchdown that gave Miami a 41-23 lead.
Johnson carried the ball only seven times in his debut. He also caught three passes for 10 yards and returned three kickoffs for 69 more, for 214 all-purpose yards.
"I had freshman jitters," said Johnson, who compared his running style to former Hurricanes back Clinton Portis. "I was excited, nervous. I was just ready to play football. When older guys tell you, 'This is what you worked for. You've played,' that's what relaxed me."
BC cut the deficit to 41-30 on Rettig's 17-yard touchdown pass to Tahj Kimble, then got inside the 1-yard line on a third-down pass to Spiffy Evans with less than 3 minutes left. With the clock running, Rettig lined up and tried to sneak it in but was stopped for no gain; the play was reviewed and upheld.
Miami took an intentional safety with 4 seconds left rather than punt from deep in its end zone.
"I couldn't be prouder of a group, down 14-0 in the ACC in a terrible environment, rattled a little bit, dropping balls and things like that," Hurricanes coach Al Golden said. "Just to hang in there — whew. That was a good job just to hang in there."
The 32 points was the most for BC against a Football Bowl Subdivision team since it beat Weber State in 2010, and the 542 total yards were its most since playing North Carolina State in '08.
Alex Amidon had 10 catches for 149 yards, and Kimble had eight for 130 and a touchdown to go with 10 rushes for 50 yards.