By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — It was just a little dump pass into the flat when Oklahoma’s Trey Millard caught it and started up field. The Sooners were already up 20-2 on Texas when Landry Jones flipped the ball to his fullback.
What transpired over the next 10 seconds remains the highlight of highlights in the Sooners 63-21 victory over the Longhorns in last season’s Red River Rivalry matchup — Millard sprinting up the Cotton Bowl’s east sideline then hurdling Texas safety Mykkele Thompson while shoving aside safety Adrian Phillips.
The 73-yard catch and run still brings goose bumps to OU fans and bruised egos to Longhorn supporters.
“He has some iconic plays that will always be played over and over,” OU cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “Trey is just a special player. He’s just a beast out there and he showed it last year and everyone saw it. But he shows it every game.”
A true fan of the game of football understands Millard has special talents. The 6-foot-2, 253-pound senior can move like someone 25 pounds lighter and deliver a blow like someone 25 pounds heavier.
The overwhelming majority of the time, his attributes are used opening opportunities for others. Millard is simply one of the most devastating blockers the Sooners have ever put on the field.
“A lot of people don’t understand how productive he is as a player when the ball is not in his hands,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “He’s a huge part of what we’re doing offensively every time he’s in there.”
But last year against Texas was the day Millard displayed what he could do with the ball in his hands. He only touched the ball eight times, but finished with 164 all-purpose yards. The icing on the cake was a 25-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter.
It was the kind of day few fullbacks ever get to experience.
“It was awesome,” Millard said Monday. “I just got a lot of opportunities and was able to make a lot of plays when I did.”
He’ll be back at the Cotton Bowl when the 12th-ranked Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) face Texas at 11 a.m. Saturday. One last chance to add to a legacy that he’s built in the rivalry.
How many times he touches the ball is up to Heupel and the Longhorns. It was very apparent in last year’s meeting Texas wasn’t too concerned about the Sooners’ fullback. OU seemed to know it long before walking down the Cotton Bowl ramp.
In each of the practices leading up to the game, Millard was getting the ball more than usual.
But what Millard did after getting the ball was pure Millard.
“Trey’s just one of those guys who gets limited touches, so he’s gonna make the most out of those,” center Gabe Ikard said. “He took some simple plays and made great plays out of them. His talent and toughness just came through. He gets a simple check down in the flat and takes it 70 yards.”
And gets an OU highlight/Texas lowlight that will likely live on for generations.
Millard would love to add to his collection Saturday. Some of that will be out of his hands. If he wasn’t on Texas’ radar as a threat, he is now. Heupel seems very agreeable to a repeat performance.
“We need to get him the football again and he needs to play in the same fashion.”
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