HARRISONBURG – James Madison senior running back Cardon Johnson suffered a season-ending injury in the Dukes’ 75-14 win over Norfolk State, coach Mike Houston said Monday.
“He will have surgery tomorrow,” Houston said. “It’s just a tough deal for him.”
During the second quarter of Saturday’s game, Johnson was tackled on a one-yard run, got up and then limped a few steps before collapsing to the ground.
He ultimately had to be helped off the field.
Houston said Johnson suffered a lower-right leg injury.
Last season, Johnson missed the final six games of the year due to an Achilles injury.
He started the first three games of this season for JMU, and in the Dukes' opening win at FBS East Carolina, he rushed for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnson is currently the nation’s sixth-leading rusher with 347 yards.
“Certainly you hate to see that with the difficulties he had at the end of the year last year,” Houston said. “And to work so hard to get back from that injury, and then to go out and play so well early in the year, you hate it for him personally.”
Houston said the program could explore a medical redshirt for a sixth season for Johnson, but ultimately the decision would have to be made by the running back.
“That’s going to be his decision,” Houston said. “But right now, I want him to get the surgery and get himself healthy.”
The team has four other running backs – senior Taylor Woods, junior Marcus Marshall, junior Trai Sharp and freshman Percy Agyei-Obese – to turn to without Johnson. All four have earned carries this year.
Sharp rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown against Norfolk State.
“Our team, just like we always have been, the next guy will be ready,” Houston said. “We’ll rally around the guys that are going to be available on Saturday.”
Sharp is currently away from the team and with his family after learning of the death of his father, David, during Saturday's win over Norfolk State.