By Michael Kinney
If this is Kyler Murray only season as the starting quarterback at Oklahoma, he sure is making the most of it.
Saturday night, the Allen, Tx. native will be in Ne York for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy. Murray is one of three finalists up for the annual award. The others in contention are with Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
However, the rest of postseason awards were handed out Thursday night at the Home Depot College Football Awards and Murray won the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top quarterback. He is the fifth Sooner to take home the award, joining Sam Bradford (2008), White (2003, ’04) and running back Billy Sims (1978).
However, it was Tagovailoa who snatched the Walter Camp Award as well as the Maxwell Award.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly beat out OU coach Lincoln RIley for the coach of the year.
Earlier in the day Thursday, Murray was also named the AP Player of the Year.
The Heisman presentation will take place at 7 p.m. on ESPN. If Murray is able to win, he will be the seventh Sooner to garner the award.
The playoff announcement came Sunday afternoon with most of the players off doing their own thing.
“I was pretty nervous, you know. Driving back from lunch with some of the O-line guys and watching it on the way home,” Cody Ford said. “I actually pulled over to make sure we saw the results. Once we found out, we were pretty excited and we enjoyed the rest of the ride home.”
Kenneth Murray said he was in church
“I found out while I was at church,” Kenneth Murray said. “It was a great place to find out. My pastor was actually watching it on his phone. He was like, ‘Look, they’re fixing to decide right now.’ We were watching anxiously, then a commercial came up. They finally came back on and we found out we got in. Did a little celebration outside the church.”
Outside noise made them nervous
“I was in the bed, I was watching it,” Kyler Murray said. “The more they talked about it at the beginning, I kind of had a feeling we might get stabbed and Georgia might be in. But when it came down to it, it just kind of made sense.”
Ford not about that Miami life
“Naw. Definitely not,” Ford said after being asked is he a Miami guy. “That lifestyle is way too fast. I just tend to myself. I’d rather sit inside than go out there and do stuff.”
Thoughts on Alabama
“Great challenge getting to go up against a great team. Tremendous players. I think it’s a great opportunity for us. To be able to go out there and prove what we’ve been working for and let everyone know that we have been working for something. That on the big stage we can play.”
Do the Sooners fit the underdog role?
Once the playoff matchups were set, most analysts outside of the state had quickly jumped on the Alabama bandwagon. That includes Las Vegas, which set the Tide as a 14-point favorite.
But according to Ford, that may work into the Sooners hands.
“I think we like when people doubt us,” Ford said. “We like to prove people wrong. I think we’re ready for the opportunity to go out there and prove ourselves.”
Defense playing a role
The past two games, the defense has played a big role in helping the Sooners not only get to the Big 12 Championship but also win the title. That’s an important stepping stone for Kenneth Murray.
“It just means everything,” Murray said. “Adversity hits and we continue to fight. We continue to go at it and we never gave up. We came up with some big plays in that last game and end up getting that championship, which is what we set out to do at the beginning of the year. So it means everything to me.”
Learning from the journey
“When you go through something, you always appreciate the ups and downs it takes to get there,” Kenneth Murray said. “As a defense, I feel like the adversity that we’ve been through, it just molds us to be who we are. When we get in a game when something doesn’t go our way, we’re not just surprised by it. We get back together, we regroup.”
2014 Sugar Bowl
The last time Oklahoma faced Alabama was in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. The Sooners blew out the Tide 45-31. Ford said that was an impactful game for him.
“That was right when I started getting recruited by OU,” Ford said. “I think that was pretty much the turning point for OU. It let everyone know they are not being pushed around anymore. It shows that we’ve been here before and we know how to handle these things.”