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, referring to Johnson by his given name. ‘‘He was really starting to convert talent to skill.’’
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.
Johnson was hurt late in the third quarter, when Miami was trying to climb out of a 35-14 deficit. It appeared the Hurricanes changed the fourth-and-2 play at the line, and Johnson got hit near the line of scrimmage. His right leg bent awkwardly on the tackle, and then a mass of bodies — both Seminoles and Hurricanes — tumbled over him.
Florida State is back in second place in the BCS standings, edging past Oregon behind first-place Alabama.
The Seminoles’ lead is thin and their stay at No. 2 could be short again.
Third-place Oregon plays Stanford Thursday night and a win is likely to push the Ducks back into second. The Seminoles and Ducks have exchanged positions in the BCS standings the last two weeks.
The top two in the final standings play in the BCS championship game.
Florida State (.9525 BCS average) is third in both the USA Today coaches’ poll and Harris poll, though the Seminoles gained ground on the Ducks after a 41-14 victory over Miami on Saturday night. Florida State is No. 1 in the computer ratings.
Oregon is second in the polls and third in the computers.
Alabama is first in the polls by a hefty margin and second in the computers with five weeks left in the regular season. The Crimson Tide remain on course for a fourth trip to the BCS title game in five seasons. Alabama has won three of the last four national championships, including the last two.
Though it’s a big week coming up for the Tide, with LSU coming to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
Unbeaten Ohio State is fourth in the standings, followed by Stanford and unbeaten Baylor. The rest of the top 10 is Clemson, Missouri, Auburn, and Oklahoma.
Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Thursday night, in the other huge game of the week.
Of the potential BCS busters, teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences looking to earn an automatic bid, Fresno State from the Mountain West is in 16th place and the Mid-American Conference’s Northern Illinois, which demolished Massachusetts Saturday, 63-19, is 18th. Both the Bulldogs and Huskies are unbeaten. The highest-rated team from the non-automatic bid conferences earns an berth by finishing in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or by finishing in the top 16 ahead of a champion from an automatic qualifying conference.
Louisville (20th) and Central Florida (21st) are the highest-ranked teams from the American Athletic Conference, which gets an automatic bid.
Notre Dame is no longer two deep on defense.
Even for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who like a lot of coaches operates on the principle of next man up, that’s a concern.
‘‘We are running out of next men,’’ Kelly said Sunday. ‘‘We’re at that point where from a defensive standpoint, and particularly the defensive line, we’re left with very few options.’’
The options will be determined at least partially by the results of an MRI nose guard Louis Nix III, who missed the past two games with knee tendinitis and a small meniscus tear, was scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday. His replacement, Kona Schwenke, is out with a high ankle sprain sustained late in the 38-34 win against Navy Saturday.
Backup linebacker Ben Councell sustained a season-ending knee injury, although Kelly declined to be specific about the injury. Starting defensive end Sheldon Day aggravated a high ankle sprain and may be ready to play when Notre Dame (7-2) faces Pittsburgh (4-4) on Saturday, although Kelly said that previously when Day missed four of five games.
Starting safety Austin Collinsworth sustained a strained neck and is scheduled to undergo an MRI Monday. The other starting safety, Elijah Shumate, who missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury, is expected to be ready for Pitt, Kelly said.
Wake Forest’s Michael Campanaro, one of the best receivers in the ACC and the team’s top offensive playmaker, broke his collarbone in Saturday’s 13-0 loss at Syracuse and will miss 4-6 weeks, according to a report on ESPN . . . In a late game Saturday night, Derek Carr threw for 487 yards to break the Fresno State career passing record and lead the 16th-ranked Bulldogs to eight straight wins to open the season for the first time since 1989 with a 41-23 victory over visiting Nevada. Carr threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the way for the Bulldogs.