Last year when we assembled these pearls of wisdom,
we tried every week to find a defensive player to highlight.
Didn’t want to be accused of pro-offense bias, ya know,
but doggone it if there wasn’t just a whole lot of incredible
quarterback and running back play. Baker Mayfield, Josh
Rosen, Mason Rudolph, J.T. Barrett and Mike Hughes
were having explosive days while backs like Bryce Love
and Saquon Barkley were running wild. Finally, this
year, in a game in which Oklahoma got a surprisingly
tight overtime game from Army that would have been
one of the big upsets of the year (on the same night
Old Dominion shocked Virginia Tech, no less) Sooners
linebacker Kenneth Murray recorded 28 tackles. That’s
not a typo, that’s a career!
Of Murray’s 28 tackles, 22 were unassisted. It was the
most tackles by an Oklahoma player since 1965, and the
most anyone in big-time college football can remember
anywhere. The result was a National Defensive Player of
the Week honor for Murray as well as a Big 12 Defensive
Player of the Week honor, naturally.
Army’s triple-option, ball-control game plan certainly
helped the record take shape, as the Black Knights had the
ball for almost 45 minutes of game time. In fact, Barkley
wasn’t even the only Sooner with over 20 tackles as
teammate Curtis Bolton took part in 23 stops of his own.
But Murray’s 28 shutdowns, including one on Army’s
final drive in overtime, provided the eye-popping stat
sheet that could not be ignored.
PHOTO: JOSH GATELEY/OU ATHLETICS
TOP PERFORMER: WEEK 4
KENNETH M U RRAY, OKLAHOMA