Oklahoma will reportedly be without starting free safety Delarrin Turner-Yell for the College Football Playoff game against No. 1-ranked LSU.
Turner-Yell, a first-year starter who is second on the team with 75 tackles, reportedly suffered a broken collar bone.
The injury was first reported by TheFootballBraniacs.com and later confirmed by SoonerScoop.com.
Turner-Yell, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound sophomore from Hempstead, Texas, emerged last spring as the starting safety alongside Tulsa Union sophomore Patrick Fields, who ranks third on the team with 58 tackles. He also has three passes defensed and a fumble recovery this year.
Slowing down Heisman winner Joe Burrow and the LSU offense — No. 1 nationally in total offense (554.4 yards per game, just ahead of OU’s 554.2) — was already going to be a challenge for first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
But now that Grinch is down his top safety as well as his top defensive end — sophomore Ronnie Perkins reportedly has been suspended for the game (along with running back Rhamondre Stevenson and wideout Trejan Bridges) because of a failed drug test — the task has grown more daunting.
Third-year sophomore Justin Broiles figures to be Turner-Yell’s replacement for the Peach Bowl. Broiles filled in this year whenever either Turner-Yell or Fields missed time. Broiles didn’t record any starts this season, but he did play in 13 games and contributed 15 tackles, including one tackle for loss, and one pass defensed.
The 5-foot-10, 189-pound Broiles is from Oklahoma City’s John Marshall High School and played in 11 games last year, including five starts, after redshirting in 2017. Broiles contributed 24 tackles, 1 ½ tackles for loss and two passes defensed in 2018 before missing the final three games because of injury.
The Sooners (12-1) are tasked with stopping not only Burrow (4,715 passing yards, 48 passing touchdowns, .779 completion percentage) but Biletnikoff Award winning receiver Ja’Marr Chase (73 catches, 1,498 yards, 18 TDs) and wideout Justin Jefferson (88 catches, 1,207 yards, 14 TDs).
LSU (13-0) could be without top running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who rushed for 1,290 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, but suffered a reported hamstring injury in practice this week and has missed practice.
The winner of the Peach Bowl advances to face either No. 2 Ohio State or No. 3 defending champion Clemson in the national championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13.
Formerly co-host of “Further Review” and “The Franchise Drive,” columnist John E. Hoover is a college football insider on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover co-hosts The Franchise “Inside OU” Podcast with Brady Trantham and Rufus Alexander, and the Locked oN Sooners podcast on the Locked oN Podcast Network. He also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his YouTube channel at YouTube.com/c/JohnHoover, and his personal page at johnehoover.com.