The Oklahoma Sooner football program has made history. For the first time in the history of the award, Oklahoma produced back to back Heisman Trophy winners at the same position. In front of the College Football world, Kyler Murray wins the 2018 Heisman Trophy. Murray is the seventh Sooner to win the award. He has joined Billy Vessels (1952), Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003), Sam Bradford (2008), and Baker Mayfield (2017) as winners.
Only One Year
Murray will have the most influential season in Sooner football history. Coming out of Allen High School in Texas, Murray was the number one recruit in the country. After a short stint at Texas A&M, Murray transferred to Oklahoma in 2016. He spent his first season sitting out due to the transfer rule. Then, last year he served as Mayfield’s backup before taking over the job this season.
Most experts expected a bit of a drop off on the offensive side of the ball in 2018. Replacing a legendary quarterback, a Mackey Award-winning tight end in Mark Andrews before the season would prove difficult to replace. And, replacing Rodney Anderson after just two games would be too much to ask of a first-year starter. Also, key starters across the offensive line would need to be replaced at left tackle and at center.
A New Standard
Under the leadership of Murray, the offense has flourished. The offense has went from averaging 45 points per game in 2017 to 49 points per contest this season. Also, the Sooners have eclipsed Hawaii’s FBS record of 8.58 yards per play by amassing 8.75 this season.
In 2016 and 2017, Mayfield passed Russell Wilson as the highest passer rating in a season with a 196.39 and a 203.76 rating. This season, Murray has set the new single-season passing efficiency record at 205.7.
Murray has thrown 40 touchdown passes against only seven interceptions on the season. He is only the sixth quarterback in Sooner history to eclipse 4,000 yards passing in a season. He’s also added 892 yards and an additional 11 touchdowns on the ground. After the victory over Texas in the Big 12 championship game, Murray became the single-season total offense leader for Oklahoma.
Putting this season into perspective
Realistically, the Sooners were looking at a little bit of a rebuilding season offensively in 2018. Any time you replace a legend, it’s uncommon for production at all levels to be improved. Murray will presumably be playing baseball next year within the Oakland Athletics organization. However, with his fantastic 2018 season, he has drawn interest at the NFL level as well. With Oklahoma breaking in a new quarterback in 2019, replacing back to back legendary quarterbacks the bar has never been set higher.