BOSTON -- Freshman Duke Johnson broke two long touchdown runs, rushing for 135 yards to lead Miami to a 41-32 victory over Boston College on Saturday.
Johnson scored from 54 and 56 yards out for the Hurricanes, and Stephen Morris threw for 207 yards and a touchdown in the season opener for both teams. The 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 pass in 1984.
Chase Rettig completed 32 of 51 passes for 441 yards and two touchdowns for BC, which led 14-0 after its first two possessions. But Johnson's second score made it 31-23, and then the Eagles fumbled the ball away on consecutive drives to start the fourth quarter. That set up a field goal and touchdown to give Miami a 41-23 lead.
BC cut the deficit on Rettig's 17-yard touchdown pass to Tahj Kimble, but it wasn't enough. Late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles came up just short of the goal line on a third-down pass to Spiffy Evans. With the clock below 2:30, Rettig quickly 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 own end zone.
The Hurricanes improved to 24-5 all-time against BC, which had won two straight in the series, including the 24-17 victory last season that left Hurricanes coach Al Golden with the end to a tumultuous first season and a 6-6 record. The school did not go to a bowl because of a self-imposed ban in response to an improper benefits scandal.
Boston College went 4-8 last season, missing a bowl for the first time since 1998, and coach Frank Spaziani's job is likely on the line unless the Eagles improve.
It looked good -- at the start.
Rettig led BC on two quick touchdown drives to open the game, scoring on Andre Williams' 4-yard run on the first drive of the game and then a 15-yard pass to Jake Sinkovec. But Miami tied it before the quarter was over, scoring on Eduardo Clements' 1-yard run and then, on the final play of the first, Denzel Perryman's 41-yard interception return.
After Nate Freese kicked a 26-yard field goal to give BC the lead again, Johnson broke loose from 54 yards out and scored to make it 21-17. BC took the lead with two more field goals, but Miami's Jake Wieclaw answered with one and then Johnson broke another long one.