Jayhawks face Sooners, Heisman hopeful Murray in national prime-time broadcast

BY Cliff Brunt • November 16, 2018

NORMAN, Okla. — Just like that, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray already could be preparing for his final home game.

Murray is squarely in the Heisman race in his only season as a starter. While not completely closing the door on returning for his senior year, it is unlikely Murray will play in Norman again after Saturday's game against Kansas. The game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

"Might be my last year, but for me it's really another football game," he said. "I don't like my emotions or whatever getting into the way of how I play. It doesn't affect me too much. I've just got to go out there and play my game and lead the guys to a win."

Murray waited behind Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield last season, then won the job in fall camp. Murray's current passing efficiency rating is 212.9 and he has 32 TDs. He's put together what is projected to be the most efficient passing season in FBS history.

It would top the mark Mayfield set last year. Murray also has rushed for 640 yards this season.

"The thing with him is, when you play a play right, and you defend everyone down the field, that's usually when he turns on and becomes the best, is when he's out scrambling and extending plays," Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen said.

Murray wants to help the seniors get another Big 12 title — No. 6 Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1) has won three straight. Beating Kansas (3-7, 1-6) would be a critical step toward clinching.

"Obviously, it's important for the seniors, the guys that have put in the work here, paved the way for us to do what we do, and the young guys," Murray said. "It sets an example for how things are done around here. I think it's obviously an important win for us. It's another game to go to the goal we want to get to."


Kansas freshman Pooka Williams is sixth in the Big 12 with 68.9 yards per game in league play and second in all-purpose yardage with 133.9 yards per game. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is concerned about him.

"The young running back, I think, has been a difference-maker for them, too," Riley said. "Very elusive, using him a lot in the throw game as well."


Kansas leads the Big 12 in turnover margin, turnovers gained, interceptions, fumbles recovered and defensive touchdowns.

"They're doing a tremendous job," Riley said. "Clint (Bowen), their defensive coordinator, always thought schematically, has been one of the top guys out there. He puts those guys in position to play. They do a good job of mixing up looks."


Oklahoma running backs Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon have developed into a dynamic combination. Brooks, a freshman, is averaging 98.2 yards per game and 11.1 yards per carry in league play. Sermon, a sophomore, is averaging 92.1 yards per game in conference play. Together, they have helped the Sooners lead the Big 12 in rushing yards per game.


It's a rare opportunity for Kansas to play on a national stage, and it's an opportunity the Jayhawks don't want to waste.

"Anytime you can play in prime time, and it's going to be at Oklahoma under the lights — I think it's going to be a really cool atmosphere," Dineen said. "I'm excited."


The Sooners look to get back on track after giving up 46 points to Texas Tech and 47 to Oklahoma State. Kansas appears to be just what the doctor ordered. The Jayhawks rank ninth in the Big 12 in total offense.


Oklahoma seeks its 14th straight win in the series. All of those wins for the Sooners have been by at least 15 points. The Sooners have outscored the Jayhawks 548-146 the past 13 games. Oklahoma has won the past four by a combined score of 203-20.

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