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Oklahoma Sooners

West Texas Turnaround | A Closer Look At Kyler Murray’s Historic Night In Lubbock

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

Kyler Murray had a disastrous start in Lubbock on Saturday night, but the Heisman contender found his poise and then torched the Texas Tech defense in route to a 51-46 shootout win.

Two of Murray’s first four passes were picked off, which not only electrified the tortilla-trowing West Texas crowd, but also put the Sooners in a 14-0 hole on the road. However, Texas Tech was about to learn the hard way that the most dangerous thing you can do in a football game is to put the ball in Kyler Murray’s hands.

Finding his stride on Oklahoma’s third possession, Murray led the Sooners to pay dirt by orchestrating a 75-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass to former high school teammate Lee Morris.

After throwing the two picks, Murray would lead the Sooners to touchdowns on seven of their next eleven possessions. He’d throw two more touchdowns on the night, and run for another, leaving a wake of West Texas destruction on the field.

“I didn’t have to do anything,” Lincoln Riley said about getting the quarterback going after the early turnover. “He was good. He’s been in battles, he’s a competitor, he’s very confident in himself and when you really find out if somebody’s confident in themselves is in an environment like this where everything’s went wrong, place is rocking, and you got to find a way to get yourself back on track. I mean I just I knew he would. I could tell the look in his eye. He wasn’t fazed a bit and I didn’t have to say anything to him. I didn’t help him much there early either. But I think he did a tremendous job, he fought for our team. Sometimes a guy can get a little gun shy when you have a start like that and he wasn’t. He kept swinging, he ran the ball well, so he ran for 100 yards, threw it for 360, I mean he was awesome.”

Finishing 20 of 35 passing, for 360 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing 11 times for an OU-career-high 100 yards (9.1 average) and another touchdown, Murray accounted for 460 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

He became the first player in school history to throw for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in a game while also setting school and Big 12 records with his eighth straight game of at least three touchdown passes.

Murray surpassed the previous record of seven straight games by former Sooner quarterback Sam Bradford, in his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 2008, and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell in 2007. His streak is tied for the fifth-longest nationally since 1996.

…I mean, you have kind of got to know me. I’m cool, calm, and that’s the only way to be after you do something like that. You make two mistakes like that, especially in a hostile environment like this, they’re going to feed off of what had happened. And I turned it around and I think I played pretty well from there on. So I hold myself to a higher standard and I just got to be better. – Kyler Murray

Murray’s performance against Texas Tech is exactly what Oklahoma fans, and Big 12 defenses, have become accustomed to. He had thrown for at least 300 yards six times on the year and he’s the first OU quarterback to pass for at least 350 yards in consecutive games since Landry Jones did so in 2012 (554 vs. West Virginia and 500 vs. Oklahoma State).

Outside of the first two possessions, Saturday night was just another day at the office for Kyler Murray. That’s what makes him so dangerous, and it’s absolutely what is keeping Oklahoma in the playoff hunt. Add to the fact that they can spot a team like Texas Tech (9th scoring offense in the nation) 14 points and still pull out a win on the road.

This is a dangerous Oklahoma offense because they have the most dangerous offensive player in the nation at the helm.

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