Hey everybody! Welcome back to another installment in our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series. As of today, there are 67 days remaining until the Oklahoma Sooners ring in the upcoming college football season. With that in mind, I want to highlight one of the most exciting plays from one of the most dynamic athletes in OU history — Kyler Murray’s 67-yard touchdown run against Texas in the 2018 Red River Showdown.
Fresh off the heels of Baker Mayfield winning the Heisman Trophy and joining the Cleveland Browns as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Lincoln Riley was tasked with preparing Oklahoma’s next starting quarterback. Fortunately, former five-star Kyler Murray was entering his third year with the Sooners after transferring from Texas A&M at the conclusion of the 2015 season, meaning a significant drop-off in production was not to be expected.
Remarkably, not only did Murray pick up where his predecessor left off as the driver of OU’s offense, he raised the bar by many aspects. More than that, his ability to make plays with his legs was something not even the great Mayfield had in his arsenal — at least, not nearly to the same effect.
On a fine, Dallas morning on Oct. 6, 2018, the 5-0 Sooners strolled into the Cotton Bowl as the No. 7 ranked team in the nation. The Texas Longhorns were 4-1, but Tom Herman’s bunch was feeling confident with Sam Ehlinger as the clear leader of their squad. From the jump, the fireworks began, and an old fashioned, Big 12 shootout was underway.
Murray connected with Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown on the game’s first drive for an early 7-0 Oklahoma lead, but Texas had an answer almost every step of the way. A K1 interception later in the first and a fumble in the third only made matters worse as defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ defense provided next-to-no resistance against the Longhorns’ stout offense. With just over half the fourth quarter left to play, the Sooners trailed, 45-24. That’s when the tide began to turn.
OU finally made a stop, scored on a quick two-minute drive, then managed to record another stop. With a little over five minutes left in regulation, it was still a two-score game, but in classic Sooner Magic fashion, Kyler Murray only needed one play to cut that deficit in half.
6⃣7⃣ Days Until ⭕️ .— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) June 30, 2020
Kyler Murray's 67-yard touchdown run against Texas in 2018.
"Wow! Look at the speed!" — Gus Johnson
"Unbelievable. This dude's a legend." — Joel Klatt#OUDNA | #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/c5iBSv9ADA
This 67-yard beauty of a run down the sideline perfectly exemplifies what Murray could do when given an inch of room. Once he saw an opening, he covered ground about as quickly as anybody ever has at his position. Not only does he accelerate freakishly fast, his top-end speed is also elite. Looking back on his Sooner career, this singular moment was an example of an athlete at the absolute height of his game. Despite the struggles and mistakes he made earlier in the contest, he made up for nearly all of it in one electric burst.
As the story goes, Oklahoma would eventually tie things up at 45, but the final stop needed never came as Texas converted on a game-winning field goal. Surprisingly, this loss didn’t exactly hurt Murray’s Heisman odds. If anything, it helped solidify his standing, especially when OU parted ways with Stoops exactly one day later. Those who were paying attention knew Murray was the primary reason why the Sooners were even in the game towards the end, and if it wasn’t for his Herculean effort to rally in the fourth quarter, the final result would have been a complete disaster.
Two months later, Kyler Murray and his Oklahoma team would get their revenge over Texas in a rematch for the Big 12 Championship. A week later, K1 was in New York claiming OU’s second Heisman Trophy in as many seasons, and four months after that he was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the first overall pick. What a run, indeed.
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