[Vandal] Beast On The Field, Humble On The Mic

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Mon Nov 8 07:53:45 PST 2021


>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoMonday, November 8, 2021
Beast On The Field, Humble On The Mic
By Stephan Wiebe
MOSCOW — Before he even entered the interview room after his record-breaking six-touchdown performance, Idaho running back Roshaun Johnson was already praising his offensive line.
“It’s all the offensive line, I’ll say that before I even start the press conference,” he said as he took his place behind the podium Saturday after Idaho thumped Southern Utah 42-24.
When a reporter noted that it wasn’t the offensive line that was running through tackles and stiff-arming defensive linemen, Johnson stood firm.
“I understand, but they were getting me to that next level,” Johnson said, “they were doing all the work up front to take care of all those big dudes that were trying to grab up on me and let me get to that next level.”
Johnson promised to get his trench warriors several dozen donuts for their efforts in getting him into the record books that day in the Kibbie Dome. The junior finished the game with 174 rushing yards and he had four of his six touchdowns before the third quarter, tying Idaho’s single-game record just halfway through the contest.
“They’re going to get all the love and the praise ’cause they’re not in here doing the press conference like they should be,” Johnson continued. “Those guys are the real heroes of the team.”
Johnson’s deference to his teammates would be one thing if he was a superstar constantly blasted with admiration and interview requests. In the pros, guys like the NBA’s LeBron James and NFL’s Tom Brady almost spend more time behind a mic than they do at their own dinner tables.
But Johnson isn’t someone whose name is plastered in headlines week in and week out. He wasn’t even Idaho’s top player at his own position.
Going into Saturday’s game, Johnson was fourth on the team in rushing.
That’s what makes his humbleness even more refreshing.
“If you know Ro, you know he deserves every bit of this,” Idaho quarterback Zach Borisch said on Twitter after the game. “So very Proud to be your teammate. Keep rolling.”
Part of the reason for Johnson’s quiet season was the Vandals’ depth at running back. Freshman Eli Cummings — who had a great game himself with 133 yards of total offense — was too explosive in fall camp to be kept on the sideline.
Bruising sophomore Aundre Carter is tough to bring down and sophomore Nick Romano is an all-around back who multiple times in the past has garnered 200 all-purpose yards.
Talk about a crowded backfield.
All that meant less carries for Johnson, not that he cared much. That’s the kind of teammate he is. But with Carter and Romano out Saturday with injuries, it was Johnson’s time to shine.
And shine he did.
The 6-foot, 235-pound tailback showcased a mix of patience, vision, power, balance and speed — a concoction that resulted in the biggest scoring output in Vandal history.
Let’s look at some of his biggest moments.
Johnson’s sixth and final TD may have been his most impressive. He appeared to be tackled in the backfield by SUU’s Michael Matthews, but Johnson escaped the linebacker’s grasp and turned upfield, bursting his way through three more defenders and dragging another into the end zone. What looked like a 5-yard loss turned into a 9-yard touchdown.
His first TD was one of his longest runs of the day — a 16-yarder off the right tackle and the T-birds were left helpless in his wake.
Touchdown No. 3 featured Johnson barreling through a defender for a 3-yard score that was set up by runs of 14 and 16 yards earlier in the drive by Idaho’s workhorse.
His record-tying fourth touchdown was a Superman leap over a pile at the goal line, a score set up by a 20-yard scamper down the near sideline by guess who — Johnson. That one made it 28-10 Vandals heading into the intermission.
For his fifth score, Johnson bounced outside and cut back in for a 10-yard touchdown.
By the end of the day, his highlight reel included trucking through would-be tacklers, nearly hurdling unsuspecting defensive backs and juking past opponents in the open field.
It was enough for a reporter to jokingly ask if Johnson would consider calling it quits since he basically did everything there is for a running back to do.
Performance’s like Johnson’s are obviously exceedingly rare.
Idaho played well over 1,000 football games before having a player score six touchdowns.No other player at the FCS or FBS levels has done it this season and Johnson is just the third FCS player to complete the feat since 2008.
Even if Carter and Romano return, expect to see more of Johnson in Idaho’s final two games against Montana State and Idaho State. The Vandals next play the Bobcats at noon Pacific Time on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Mont.
If Johnson’s teammates receive an increase in carries instead, expect him to be just fine with that too. 
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