Welcome back to another edition of our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series! We are now just 22 days away from the return of Oklahoma Sooners Football! With that in mind, I want to throw it back a few years to revisit one of the most amazing individual moments for any OU player in recent memory. I’m talking about Rodney Anderson’s game-winning 22-yard touchdown run against the Kansas State Wildcats!
The night was October 21, 2017. The Sooners were coming off an epic win over Texas in the Red River Showdown and looking to build some serious momentum in the second half of the regular season. Trey Sermon received the start in the backfield next to Baker Mayfield, but the freshman running back had trouble getting going against K-State’s stingy defense.
Unexpectedly, Oklahoma found itself in a two-score hole quickly. It seemed like every Wildcat fan in and around the town of Manhattan was inside the stadium that evening, and they were letting Mayfield and his teammates hear it. That is, until OU found a spark from one of its reserve backs. Welcome to the show, Rodney Anderson.
Behind the offensive trio of Mayfield, Anderson and the always electrifying Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, the Sooners battled all the way back in the second half, and eventually found themselves tied at 35 with the ball near the red zone. Only 16 seconds remained on the clock, and Lincoln Riley felt comfortable playing it safe and giving Austin Seibert a chance to walk-it-off with a field goal. Anderson, on the other hand, had a slightly different plan.
From 22 yards out, Anderson ran left only to lose ground with several Wildcats defenders swarming him. He successfully escaped their would-be tackles and found a lane on the sideline. As he stepped on the gas, there was no one left with enough of an angle to catch him. Touchdown, Oklahoma.
Including that breakout game, Anderson went on a tear down the stretch of the 2017 season that even some of the best backs to ever play can’t say they’ve done. In OU’s final eight games of the season, Anderson rushed for an astonishing 1,079 yards (134.9 average per game) and 11 TDs while adding 254 receiving yards and five more scores. He aptly earned the nickname ‘Jumpman’, as well as the attention of the college football world.
Unfortunately, his success on the field was short-lived at Oklahoma. If Marcus Dupree is ‘The Best that Never Was’, one could make the argument that Rodney Anderson is ‘the best that nearly was’. Three separate season ending injuries ruined a collegiate career that easily could have been legendary — even by OU’s lofty standards at the position.
Despite suffering a broken leg, neck and torn ACL in a three-year span, Anderson received a phone call during the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Cincinnati Bengals selected the Sooner, joining him with his former OU teammate, Joe Mixon.
If his college career wasn’t frustrating enough, he also began his pro career with yet another season-ending setback. However, Anderson isn’t the type of guy to let injuries keep him down. Since then, he’s undergone the rehab process all over again to return to the game he loves.
Earlier this week, the Bengals officially waived Anderson after failing a physical. Still, it’s only a minor moment of adversity in the grand scheme of his life, and certainly nothing he can’t overcome if he truly sets his heart to it.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!