freshmen Bradford, Murray shine
DALLAS — Oklahoma’s bright future is well documented. A trip down the two-deep yields few seniors and several underclassmen, most of them juniors and sophomores.
Maybe next year will be OU’s year …or perhaps the year after that or the year after that. Because it doesn’t stop with sophomores.
Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, the Sooners would not have beaten Texas 28-21 without two redshirt freshmen: quarterback Sam Bradford and tailback DeMarco Murray.
Barring injury and early entry into the NFL draft, the Sooner Nation has three more years of hoping the duo — Bradford from Oklahoma City and Murray from Las Vegas — continues playing the way it played against the Longhorns.
Bradford was everything the Sooners could have hoped for, completing 21of 32 passes without an interception for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
Malcolm Kelly, who caught the last of Bradford’s scoring tosses may have paid the young QB the ultimate compliment.
“He always lets us know we have a chance,” Kelly said of Bradford’s unwavering demeanor. “And with Sam, you always have a chance.”
Never was that more in evidence than during the drive that resulted in Kelly’s 35-yard scoring grab. It started at the Sooners’ own 6 after Murray — who made at least one mistake — misjudged a Texas kickoff.
But Bradford responded by completing 7 of 8 passes during the Sooners’ longest touchdown drive of the season. He found Kelly for 7 yards, Juaquin Iglesias for 4 and 7 and 20, then Murray for 3 and 7 and then, facing third-and-five, Kelly for 35.
“Sam has a lot of confidence and a lot of cool in him,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
Murray ran for 128 yards on 17 carries, one a 65-yard hop skip and jump down the left boundary. His heroics put OU up for the first time in the second half, but what came later was impressive for different reasons.
With Allen Patrick out of the game — Stoops and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said they thought Patrick had cramping issues — Murray also was OU’s No. 1 inside runner.
As the Sooners tried to run out the clock, leading by the final margin, Murray ran for 4 yards, then for 39 to the UT 11, though it was called back on Branndon Braxton’s hold.
On OU’s last drive, in the space of six plays, Murray ran for 1, 6, 5, 4 and 1 yard, taking a pounding to keep the clock moving.
He proved to be electric, but just as durable. Essentially, for a while, OU became a one-back team for the first time this season and Murray was the guy.
“He’s not just the electrifying guy that goes all the way,” Stoops said. “He’s a very hard-hitting, tough runner.”
He had to be both for OU to beat Texas. And he could very well be around for another three seasons. Just like Bradford.
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