By Michael Kinney
Kyler Murray was regulated to backup quarterback status Saturday. After a minor off-the field infraction, the Heisman Trophy contender had to watch from the sidelines when Oklahoma took the field against Baylor. Well, at least for one drive he did.
Despite that, In the greatest backup quarterback performance in the history of the program, Murray led Oklahoma to a 66-33 victory over Baylor Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Murray completed 17 of 21 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns to go along with his 62 yards rushing and another score. The seven total touchdowns tied a school record with Baker Mayfield from 2016.
Murray ended the night with a passer rating of 348.0, which broke the records for Oklahoma and the big 12 and is the highest passer rating by any FBS player since 1996.
Murray did all this despite having to miss the first series of the game because he was late to Friday’s 7:30 a.m. practice.
“He played good,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “He handled the situation before the game well. Didn’t freak out like the rest of America did. It was what it was. That’s what we talked about after it happened. He handled it well, played very well. He continues to throw the ball, especially down the field so well. And then a couple of times, when they did get some pressure, you saw a little bit of the juice that he has.”
Murray’s benching revolved around what he claims was just setting his clock wrong, which caused him to be late the Friday practice.
“He set his alarm wrong on Thursday night, Riley said of Murray. “His mom was in town and they spent some time together and he just set his alarm wrong. We have practice Friday mornings and we have a policy if you’re late to that practice if you’re a starter you don’t start. If you are a guy that we’re dressing, then you don’t travel. It’s a policy, something we stick by. It wasn’t anything egregious. It wasn’t a huge issue behind our walls. If it happens any other time of the week you probably just run the guy a little extra and move on.”
With Murray sitting out the first series, it was Austin Kendall who got the start. He hadn’t been seen any action since injuring himself against UCLA.
The first drive produced one first down by penalty and the Sooners were forced to punt. The Bears muffed the punt return inside their own 5-yard line and linebacker Curtis Bolton recovered it.
Murray entered the game and two plays later threw a 9-yard strike to Lee Morris for a touchdown.
On the next possession, he connected with Grant Calcaterra for the second touchdown of the quarter to give Oklahoma a 14-0 advantage.
“I think it helped a lot,” Murray said of getting onto the field after the turnover. “Obviously being in the red zone with sort of good field position. What was it, the second play we scored? I just tried to go in there, wasn’t thinking about it too much. Didn’t let it affect me. We had a good game.”
Both Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb went over the 100-yard mark. Brown hauled in five catches for 132 yards and two scores while Lamb added three receptions for 110 yards and a score.
But eight different players caught at least one pass while four players caught at least one touchdown. That includes two by Morris.
“TD Lee. All he does it catch touchdowns,” Brown said. “He is a big-time player. He made a lot of plays and is becoming a really good target.”
Coming off its rough night against Army last week, the OU defense was looking for a better outing. Despite allowing 33 points, the Sooners believe they had a solid outing by holding Baylor to 77 yards rushing. However, they did allow 416 yards through the air.
“We were a little out of position some,” Bolton said. “A few busted coverages. I think we played alright. I think we have a lot to go, but I think it was a good stepping stone from Iowa State. I know certainly, it was a bigger stepping stone from me from Iowa State. I wanted to come out and have a better tackling day.”
Kenneth Murray led all Sooners with 17 tackles. That is 45 in the past two weeks. Bolton tallied 16 tackles. Safety Kahlil Haughton also hit the double-digit mark with 11 tackles.
Playing without an injured Kenneth Mann, In the best game of his young career, freshman Ronnie Perkins was a constant annoyance to the Bears offense. The 6-3, 254-pound defensive end accounted for four tackles and two sacks and two tackles for loss.
“I think it’s good that we get to play a lot of guys. It keeps them in games,” coach Mike Stoops said. “That’s always the positive thing. The more guys you can play in games the better it is. We were down some guys today. The guys that were there I thought fought hard again today.”
Despite the impressive victory and staying unbeaten, the Sooners dropped to No. 7 in the Assocaited Press polls.
Story ran in The Yukon Review
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider