Throughout the duration of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners’ rushing attack has wavered with the absence of Rodney Anderson. Initially, the junior opened the season with a 100 yard performance on five attempts against FAU. It was the outing many expected given the talent level and experience of the offensive line. However, the budding star suffered a season ending injury during the second week of play. The move forced Anderson to the sideline while thrusting others into the limelight.
Traditionally speaking, the program that concludes the contest with the most rushing yards takes home the Golden Hat. As Lincoln Riley prepares for a showdown with the Texas Longhorns, one question remains at the forefront of the conversation: which player will step up to the challenge this week?
In week two, Kyler Murray scrambled for 69 yards and two scores against UCLA. The numbers may not be eye-popping. Yet, they put the quarterback at the top of the list in terms of rushing yards. Following up the outing the former 5-star recruit once again led the charge. Collecting 77 rushing yards against Iowa State, Murray led the program to a third consecutive win as the starter. But, the more pressing issue remained identifying a feature back.
That question seemed to be answered in week four as Army’s triple-option attack was on display in Norman. Stepping up to the plate, Trey Sermon was the only running back to touch the ball on the offensive side of the equation. Carrying the ball a total of 18 times, the sophomore cracked the century mark with 118 rushing yards. Becoming the first to eclipse the 100-yard barrier since Anderson went down, Oklahoma found their guy…or so I thought.
The following week, Sermon appeared ineffective against the Baylor Bears leaving the door of opportunity open for yet another talented back. Seizing the moment, Kennedy Brooks stepped in after failing to see the field since FAU. Rattling off runs of 49 yards and 34 yards in the fourth quarter, the freshman crossed the goal line twice. Finishing the game with eight carrier for 108 yards proved the stable of back remains talented at RBU.
As the group enters the Cotton Bowl, there will likely be an importance on establishing the run early. Which of the talented backs steps up and produces consistently enough to contribute to the overall effort? Only time will tell at this point but I’m putting my money on Trey Sermon as the most physical and experience back on the roster right now.