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November 8, 2012

Praise comes in bunches for Clay after making most of opportunity

NORMAN — Trying to figure out who was proudest of Oklahoma running back Brennan Clay last Saturday turned into a multiple-choice quiz. There were plenty of options. All-the-above was the best answer.

“I thought it was the best game he’s played,” running back coach Cale Gundy said of Clay’s 157-yard rushing effort in the 35-20 victory over Iowa State.

That wasn’t really up for debate. Clay, a junior, has been in the Sooners’ stable of running backs for three seasons. The Iowa State game was the first time he’d ever been the feature back. Even that didn’t come to fruition until starter Damien Williams’ injured right ankle proved to be too much of a hindrance.

That’s the caveat that comes with playing running back at OU. Opportunities tend to pop up at a moment’s notice. You have to be ready when they arrive.

Clay viewed the Iowa State game in that manner.

“You come to a program like this, I really consider this another Running Back U. Like USC, a couple of other schools,” Clay said. “Anybody can go down at any moment. You’ve just got to be able to step up and take your turn. I was able to do it. I was blessed enough to be able to do so.”

Clay’s waited longer than most for the opportunity. The toughest part of the running back’s career has been gauging it against the players he came in with.

He, along with safety Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Kenny Stills make up the trio from suburban San Diego that arrived in OU’s 2010 recruiting class. Jefferson and Stills became immediate starters. Clay has played in 28 games during his career, but the Iowa State game was the first time he became a focal point in the Sooners’ offense.

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