John Hoover

Sporting News: OU’s Kyler Murray is Chip Kelly’s latest nightmare at UCLA

Sporting News: OU’s Kyler Murray is Chip Kelly’s latest nightmare at UCLA

NORMAN — Chip Kelly isn’t exactly eager to face Kyler Murray this week.

“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:

John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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