“I’d hate to get him in a rundown if I’m a baseball player,” UCLA’s first-year coach said.
Murray’s time running the bases will come next year, when he’s playing for the Oakland A’s. This year, he’s quarterbacking one of college football’s most explosive offenses — and that’s the player Kelly will have to worry about come Saturday.
Oklahoma fans had been chomping at the bit to see their fleet-footed quarterback ever since Baker Mayfield took his Heisman Trophy to Cleveland, and Murray turned on the electricity in last week’s 63-14 win over Florida Atlantic. On one scramble, he zig-zagged and circled a course of nearly 80 yards and ended up with a 15-yard gain.
Sooner Nation lost its mind when Murray took off, harkening back to the days of Thomas Lott and J.C. Watts and Jamelle Holieway. But Murray isn’t your daddy’s wishbone quarterback.
“He’s not just a runner back there,” Kelly said. “He can beat you with his arm. And he’s got a lot of talent around him. He’s as good an athlete as we’ll see at the quarterback spot.”
Indeed, Murray hit 9 of 11 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns against FAU, including a beautifully weighted deep post to Marquise Brown for a 65-yard touchdown. Murray’s passer efficiency rating in his official OU debut was 310.4 — more than 18 points higher than Mayfield’s best single-game number — and all he did was break the NCAA record passer efficiency rating. Twice.
“He was good,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said of his quarterback. “I thought he played really well. I thought he handled the situation. Probably more than anything, proud of his patience. And he just played within himself, he played within the offense. And that’s what he’s been doing. I wasn’t surprised by it.
“But sometimes a guy like this, even though it wasn’t his first start, in a way, it was his first start, you know, being ‘the guy.’ So I thought he handled it well.”
That’s not ideal for Kelly, who takes one of college football’s youngest rosters into Norman this Saturday for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on Owen Field.
To read the rest of Sporting News’ story about Saturday’s UCLA-OU matchup, click here: