Mur­ray leads Soon­ers with arm, feet

Quar­ter­back passes for 348 yards, in­clud­ing 191 to new fa­vorite tar­get Mar­quise Brown, in pay­back vic­tory at stub­born Iowa State

Tulsa World - - Gameday - By Eric Bai­ley

AMES, Iowa — Quar­ter­back Kyler Mur­ray walked with a slight limp to his in­ter­view ses­sion Satur­day af­ter­noon.

No wor­ries, the ju­nior in­di­cated, when asked if he was OK.

It had just been a long day. Mur­ray was the cat­a­lyst in No. 5 Ok­la­homa's 37-27 vic­tory over Iowa State in the Big 12 opener for both schools. He ran for a team-high 77 yards. He threw for a per­sonal-best 348 yards and three


Emig: No May­field at the reins, but the same win­ning for­mula for the Soon­ers.

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touch­downs against a pesky Cy­clones team look­ing for back-to-back wins over the Soon­ers.

What did the quar­ter­back think about his Big 12 de­but as a starter?

“I thought we started fast. We knew com­ing into a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment, a team like Iowa State, scrappy, good play­ers, un­der­es­ti­mated around the coun­try,” Mur­ray said. “We came into this game know­ing this could be a fourth-quar­ter game, and it was. I thought we han­dled it well. A lit­tle ad­ver­sity never hurts any­body.

“It's good for the team. Of­fen­sively, we

han­dled it well. We pre­vailed in the end.”

OU's foot­ball fans have watched the same scene un­fold of­ten over the past three Big 12 cham­pi­onship sea­sons.

They watched their of­fense pile up points and yards. Saw the de­fense fight for con­sis­tency, give up big plays and make just enough stops to cel­e­brate another con­fer­ence vic­tory.

The un­ortho­dox for­mula worked again Satur­day. It's the 27th time in the past 29 games OU has de­feated a league foe.

It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done.

“They're a tough out, man. No ques­tion,” Ok­la­homa coach Lin­coln Ri­ley said about the Cy­clones. “But our kids re­ally wanted this one, there's no doubt. This was an im­por­tant game for us. This is one even kind of be­fore the sea­son you cir­cle a lit­tle bit — not be­cause of what hap­pened last year — you just knew the way the sched­ule fell this one was go­ing to be crit­i­cal.

“Third game, a lot of new guys, tough venue, tough op­po­nent. First Big 12 game. There was just a lot rid­ing on this game.”

It was also the first game postRod­ney An­der­son. The loss of the star run­ning back meant Mur­ray shoul­dered more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties — which in­cluded be­ing a run­ning quar­ter­back.

There's no doubt his scam­per­ing made OU fans (and the Oak­land Ath­let­ics' front of­fice) hold their breath at times. Mur­ray of­fi­cially had 15 car­ries, in­clud­ing a hand­ful of quar­ter­back draw plays.

“It's funny. Ev­ery time coach Ri­ley called a play, I was like, `Dang,'” Mur­ray said. “Like … I just knew I had to run the ball. Like I said last week, what­ever I have to do to win the game. If I had to run it 15 times, eight times, it didn't mat­ter. It got the job done to­day. I re­ally don't have a prob­lem with it.”

Ok­la­homa (3-0 over­all, 1-0 Big 12) bolted to a 10-0 lead af­ter the first quar­ter on Austin Seibert's 21-yard field goal and Mur­ray's 75-yard touch­down strike to Mar­quise Brown.

Iowa State (0-2, 0-1) an­swered with 10 straight points via a 34yard field goal and Ha­keem But­ler's But­ler was a hand­ful for the Soon­ers sec­ondary. The wide re­ceiver fin­ished with five catches for 174 yards.

“We've got a young sec­ondary. They went up against some­body that could re­ally throw the ball and they have ex­pe­ri­ence. … But­ler was a good player. We knew that,” OU de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Stoops said be­fore adding, “So, yeah, prob­a­bly by far and away the most dis­ap­point­ing part was the tack­ling. I thought we missed a lot of tack­les. I didn't think we aligned well in a lot of sit­u­a­tions. That's what both­ered me prob­a­bly, even in our schemes. We got a lit­tle bit dis­jointed.”

OU took a 24-10 lead into half­time af­ter Mur­ray hit CeeDee Lamb with a 5-yard touch­down pass, and added a 7-yard TD strike to Myles Tease with 5 sec­onds re­main­ing in the half.

How­ever, the Soon­ers couldn't shake the up­set-minded Cy­clones, who crept to 31-24 in the third quar­ter and 34-27 in the fourth.

“I thought we were right there the whole game. We just couldn't make that play, we couldn't make that stop, and that was the dif­fer­ence,” Iowa State coach Matt Camp­bell said.

Trey Ser­mon started at run­ning back in place of An­der­son and fin­ished with 74 yards on 13 car­ries. He had the Soon­ers' lone touch­down af­ter in­ter­mis­sion, on a 22-yard run.

Seibert added two more field goals in the sec­ond half, a 31-yarder and a 42-yarder.

The Soon­ers have won 17 con­sec­u­tive road games, the na­tion's long­est ac­tive streak.

“We just love play­ing on the road. We feel like ev­ery­body is against us. It's just us. We rely on each other and work to­gether,” Ser­mon said. “They es­tab­lished (the road men­tal­ity) be­fore I got here. As soon as I got here and ex­pe­ri­enced it, I just want to carry that on and show our dom­i­nance.”

Next up for the Soon­ers is Army at 6 p.m. Satur­day in Nor­man.

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