The Heisman Trophy winner gets the headlines and the highlight reel. But the rest of the Oklahoma offense has matchups for Alabama to be wary of as well.
Start up front, with the Sooners’ offensive line. It won the Joe Moore Award this season as the best unit in the nation.
“I feel like they are most technically sound offensive line we have gone against,” defensive lineman Quinnen Williams said. “They do everything together. You can see the chemistry together on the way they make their calls. It’s going to be a great challenge. I feel they are one of the best offensive lines we’re going against, one of the closest offensive lines that we’re going against, because they really feed off each other.”
The Sooners have the nation’s No. 8 passing offense, but also the No. 11 rushing offense. They lead the nation with 577.9 yards per game, and second place in the rankings isn’t close; Ohio State has averaged 548.8 yards. For comparison, UCF is close behind the Buckeyes at third with 545.4 yards per game.
“You got a Heisman Trophy winner, a very elite offense that can score at will and put up numerous number of yards in a game,” safety Deionte Thompson said. “It’s a challenge that we have to step up and be ready for.”
Two running backs have split the majority of the Sooners’ carries. Freshman Kennedy Brooks has 1,021 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 113 carries for an average over nine yards per carry. Sophomore Trey Sermon bears a bigger load, carrying 155 times for 928 yards and 12 touchdowns. That means Kyler Murray, with nearly 900 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns of his own, is third on the team in rushing.
“They can hit you with the pass, they can hit you with running, and I feel like they’re more of a balanced offense because the quarterback can run, as well,” linebacker Mack Wilson said. “So, it’s just all about us reading our keys and making sure that we execute.”
The Sooners are the only offense in the nation with two receivers who have both 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns before bowl games began.
Oklahoma also leads the nation in plays of 10 or more yards (269 this season), 20 or more yards (105), 30 or more yards (55), 40 or more yards (33) and 50 or more yards (20).
“They’re very dynamic,” Thompson said. “That’s the perfect word to describe them — dynamic. They have athletes all across the board. Guys that are fast, guys that are good in open space, elusive, can make you miss. Just problems they can impose in multiple areas of the game. From what I’ve seen on film, they dominated all of their competition this year. It wasn’t really much of things that people could do with them just because the athletes they got. They have starting receivers and receivers behind them that can really go, that are very good guys, and that’s something we have to be ready for.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.