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
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.
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.