Oklahoma Sooners

Jalen Hurts May Not Be Perfect But He’s Oklahoma’s Best Chance Against LSU

M. Hofeld


Jalen Hurts hasn’t been perfect as Oklahoma’s quarterback but he has been spectacular. While he’s most likely going to watch LSU’s Joe Burrow take home the Heisman Trophy this coming Saturday, it won’t remove an ounce of his value to the view of the college football landscape from Norman, Oklahoma.

The criticism of Jalen Hurts seems to be a matter of perspective rather than a matter of production. Some members of Sooner Nation have made repeated calls for Hurts to ride the pine in favor of freshman Spencer Rattler in light of ball security issues. However, that perspective fails to take into account four new offensive line starters in 2019, a talented but very young crop of receivers, and the fact that a true freshman isn’t going to bring this team back from a 25 point deficit in Waco, Texas.

While only a small minority of the fan base holds to these beliefs, the reality of the situation is that the appreciation of Hurts’ contributions to the 2019 college football season are held in high regard not just from the vast majority of the fans clad in crimson and cream on game days, but across the nation as well.

Hurts has made a historic run in what has resulted in a career season for him. He ranks Top 10 in just about every major passing category while also accomplishing feats seldom seen.

CategoryStatNational Rank
Yards/Pass Attempt11.81st
Pts. Responsible For/Game23.7T1st
TDs Accounted For51T1st
Total Offense376.13rd
Pass Efficiency Rating200.33rd
Completion Pct.71.84th
Rushing TDs187th
Passing TDs3210th

Here’s the truth. Oklahoma is 12-1 and in the College Football Playoff because of Jalen Hurts. Averaging 279.5 passing yards and 96.5 rushing yards per game, and by accounting for 51 touchdowns (tied for the national lead), the Sooners lead the country in yards per play (8.2) and are second in yards per game (554.2) due to the guy pulling the trigger.

Hurts’ 71.8 completion percentage is on pace to break the OU single-season record of 70.9 by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield in 2016. And his 200.3 passing efficiency rating is better than the FBS single-season record of 199.4 set by Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa last season.

To take matters a step further, Jalen Hurts is Oklahoma’s best chance against LSU when the two play in the College Football Playoff semi-final at the Peach Bowl. Of the four starting quarterbacks in the CFP Hurts and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence are the most experienced yet the least talked about. I would be willing to bet that will change within the next three weeks.

Quick Notes & Numbers On Jalen Hurts
•  Hurts leads the nation in yards per pass attempt (11.8; FBS record is 11.6), yards per completion (16.4), points responsible for per game (23.7; tied) and touchdowns accounted for (51; tied). His 200.3 passing efficiency rating is higher than the FBS single-season record of 199.4 set by Tua Tagovailoa last season. 

•  Hurts is one of just two players nationally since at least 1996 to record 32-plus passing TDs and 18-plus rushing TDs in a season (Florida’s Tim Tebow had 32 and 23, respectively, in 2007 [including bowl game] when he won the Heisman Trophy). 

•  Hurts became only the third FBS player to register at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards by the 11th game of a season. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson in 2016 and ’17 and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012 also accomplished the feat. Jackson (2016) and Manziel won the Heisman Trophy. 

•  Hurts is the only player nationally this season with five games of two-plus rushing TDs and two-plus passing TDs (Louisiana-Monroe’s Caleb Evans [three] is the only other player with more than two).
 •  Hurts is a finalist for the Maxwell Award (collegiate player of the year), Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Year Award, Manning Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Senior CLASS Award.   

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