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Tale of the Tape: Duke Johnson Vs Ameer Abdullah

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Two star backs will try to lead their teams to victory this coming weekend. Which is the better player of the two?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Duke Johnson
Class: Junior
HT/WT: 5'9 212
Stats: 43-277 (6.4) 2 TDS
Ameer Abdullah
Class: Senior
HT/WT: 5'9 195
Stats: 57-396 (6.9) 3TDS

Ask any Nebraska fan who the team MVP is thus far in 2014, and with little hesitation they will tell you nearly unanimously, RB Ameer Abdullah.

'Canes fans have been saying the same thing for 3 seasons about Duke Johnson.

Miami was 7-0 last season before Johnson broke his ankle in the second half at FSU.  UM finished the season 2-4 with out him.

Enough said.

The Huskers were in the ropes against huge underdog McNeese State just two weeks ago.

That's when their best player made the biggest play of the season for the guys from Lincoln....

The senior from Homewood, Al went through and around no less than 7 tacklers to make the game winning play.

But words do not do it justice:

It's easy to see that the UM defense is going to need to swarm to the ball and wrap this guy up on Saturday Night, or he will flat out rip them to shreds.

The Miami defense has been very stout this year, (8th Nationally overall through three games) particularly in the Front 7, but they have not faced a back as special and unique as Abdullah (that includes the backs from Louisville) yet.

But the same goes for the Huskers and their D.  In the McNeese scare, they surrendered 178 yards on the ground (though a chunk of it was QB keepers/scrambles).  If they have a similar effort against Miami, Johnson could be in for a huge game.

Like Abdullah, he does not go down easy:

So who is the better of the two backs?

My admittedly bias opinion favors Duke.

ESPN "expert" Mel Kiper Jr.  recently had Johnson projected as a 2nd Round Draft Pick in next spring's NFL Draft, should he leave school a year early.  But Kiper also ranked Abdullah as his top senior prospect at the position this past summer.

As you can see, it's pretty difficult to find separation amongst the two.

Both have no shortage of positive attributes.

The are similarly sized, each has speed to burn (Johnson was right at 4.4 this summer, Abdullah anywhere between 4.38 and 4.47), and both can stop on a dime and change direction with as much aplomb as any runner in the country.  The two stars also share the qualities of playing every down with great passion and all out effort.

Johnson has a little slight, slight edge in size and strength, having bulked up to 212 this past summer.  Additionally Duke's stiff arm is second to none in College Football, as evidenced above.

On the other hand, the Nebraska back has been far more a factor in the passing game, hauling in 50 catches the past two seasons to just 31 for Johnson over the same span (though in fairness he did miss time with injury).

But really, can you go wrong with either player?

Both teams promise to rely heavily on their star backs this weekend.

Whichever of the two has the bigger game, will likely lead his team to victory.