Murray leads No. 7 Oklahoma past Florida Atlantic 63-14
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Kyler Murray wasn’t worried about replacing Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield as Oklahoma’s quarterback.
The junior passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns to lead the seventh-ranked Sooners past Florida Atlantic 63-14 on Saturday.
Murray, a first-round Major League Baseball draft pick who chose to return to school, connected on 9 of 11 passes in just under one half of action. He also ran for 23 yards on four carries in just his second college start since transferring from Texas A&M after the 2015 season.
“I woke up, I was pretty calm, pretty composed,” Murray said. “I’m a veteran as far as football goes. I’ve played a lot of football, so the nerves didn’t really hit me since I’ve been there and done it before. When you’re prepared for something, it’s hard to be nervous.”
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley liked what he saw from Murray.
“I thought he was efficient and commanded our group,” Riley said. “I thought he did a nice job.”
Marquise Brown caught six passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, and Rodney Anderson rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries. Lee Morris caught a 65-yard touchdown pass and blocked a punt for the Sooners.
Oklahoma led 42-0 at halftime — the most points the Sooners have scored in a first half since 2008.
By the game’s end, Oklahoma outgained Florida Atlantic 650 yards to 324.
“I’d be shocked if there’s a better team in the country than what I saw today,” Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin said. “Defense much improved, and obviously, that was their area of weakness last year.”
Former Oklahoma quarterback Chris Robison passed for 157 yards for Florida Atlantic. Oklahoma dismissed him last year for violating team rules.
Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary, a third-team All-American last season, was held to 69 yards on 18 carries.
“Did you guys enjoy that preseason game?” Kiffin joked. “It didn’t really count, right?”
On the blocked punt, Morris got to Florida Atlantic punter Sebastian Riella so quickly that he never actually kicked the ball. Morris jarred the ball from Riella and Curtis Bolton fell on it in the end zone for the score. It was Oklahoma’s first blocked punt for a touchdown since 2002.
Oklahoma walk-on Drake Stoops, son of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, caught two passes for 16 yards. On his first catch, an 8-yard gain early in the second quarter, the crowd collectively yelled Drake’s last name.
According to Oklahoma’s sports information department, Stoops became the program’s first true freshman walk-on to record a statistic in a season opener.
Oklahoma backup quarterback Austin Kendall injured his left leg while sliding out of bounds on a run in the fourth quarter. He stayed down for a while before being helped off the field. Kendall battled Murray for the starting job deep into camp. Riley said he did not have an update yet after the game ended.
Oklahoma might get a boost out of this one. The Owls were 30th in votes in the preseason poll and coming off an 11-3 season that ended with a 10-game winning streak. Though the Sooners were favored, the level of dominance was noteworthy.
Florida Atlantic: Many thought the Owls would challenge the Sooners and some thought an upset was possible. Instead, Florida Atlantic was dominated in every aspect of the game — Oklahoma even scored when Curtis Bolton recovered Morris’ blocked punt in the end zone. The Owls averaged 41 points per game last season, but they did not score until the final minute of the third quarter on Saturday.
“We played as bad as we can play,” Kiffin said. “Like I told the players, it’s discouraging in all phases of the game. Offense, defense and special teams.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners set the tone early and put together one of their most complete performances in recent years.
The defense made the biggest impression.
“Definitely happy with the way we performed today as a defense,” linebacker Kenneth Murray said. “I think we did our job consistently. The end of the day, we have some stuff to build on.”
Florida Atlantic: The Owls will host Air Force on Saturday.
Oklahoma: The Sooners will host UCLA on Saturday.