Oklahoma had to hold their breath to escape this weekend’s game against Iowa State with a win, but the close call took a toll on the Sooners moving forward. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley announced on Monday running back Trey Sermon and defensive lineman Kenneth Mann will miss the remainder of the 2019 season with season-ending injuries.
Riley confirmed both players suffered injuries in the win over Iowa State that will require surgery. That will bring an early end to the collegiate career of Mann, a redshirt senior, but sermon will be eligible to return to the Sooners next season.
Sermon was Oklahoma’s third-leading rusher behind Jalen Hurts and Kennedy Brooks with 385 yards and four touchdowns in nine games this season. With Sermon no longer able to be a part of the running game, Oklahoma may rely more on Brooks while continuing to allow their quarterback to do what he needs with his feet. But this could also lead to some opportunities for Rhamondre Stevenson to continue increasing his role in the mix. Stevenson has 369 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season and figures to see his rushing totals see a slight bump for the remainder of the year as a result of the injury to Sermon.
“Will definitely create some opportunities for others and for us to continue to move on as a team and opportunities for other people to step up and grow, and that’s what has to happen in these moments,” Riley said when addressing how the team will move forward without their injured players, according to Sooner Scoop.
Mann played more of a reserve role and recorded five tackles, 1.5 TFL, and one sack this season.
Kyler Murray threw four touchdown passes and No. 9 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) got 100-yard days from two running backs to pull away from TCU (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) Saturday afternoon. Oklahoma’s 52-27 victory showed the ability Oklahoma had to make adjustments following a TCU quarterback change, but the concern after the game may fall on the status of running back Trey Sermon.
Sermon, who rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns, left the game with an apparent right leg injury in the fourth quarter. The status of Sermon was unclear, but the depth at running back would take another hit if Sermon’s injury is of any significance. Rodney Anderson went down for the year early in the season with his own injury.
Kennedy Brooks, along with Sermon, had a big day on the ground against the Horned Frogs Brooks rushed for a game-high 168 yards with one touchdown in the box score. Murray was 19 of 24 for 213 yards with four touchdowns. Lee Morris caught two of those touchdown passes from Murray, and CeeDee Lamb and Carson Meier caught the others.
In the first half, with Oklahoma leading 28-7, Gary Patterson chose to make a switch at quarterback. With Shawn Robinson struggling, he inserted Michael Collins to take over. The position change seemed to work as TCU went on a run to close out the first half and cut the Oklahoma lead to 28-24. But after halftime, the TCU offense was once again controlled by Oklahoma’s defense and there was not enough big plays by KaVontae Turpin in the TCU arsenal to keep things going. Turpin had a kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter and later added a 41-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass before halftime.
The win by Oklahoma did show some areas where the Sooners can improve moving forward but the result will keep Oklahoma in striking distance in the Big 12 championship hunt, and thus still alive in the College Football Playoff race.
Oklahoma will return home next week for a game against Kansas State. TCU will be on the road to play Kansas.
No. 5 Oklahoma (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) was finally given a stiff test after two easy wins to start the year, but Iowa State (0-2, 0-1 Big 12) was unable to pull a second straight upset over the Sooners. Kyler Murray passed for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 77 yards to help Oklahoma stay ahead of the Cyclones, 37-27, in the Big 12 opener for both schools.
Iowa State cut Oklahoma’s lead to 34-27 with a field goal at the end of an 83-yard drive in the fourth quarter. Murray then got to work on leading an important drive for Oklahoma, beginning with a 15-yard run and running for 15 yards once again two plays later. Although the drive did not end with a touchdown, a 42-yard field goal was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Iowa State’s upset bid on this day. Iowa State quarterback Zeb Noland had a pass picked off on the ensuing drive, which allowed Oklahoma to run out the bulk of the remaining 1:11 in the game.
Noland completed 25 of 36 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns, and Hakeem Butler was a breakout star for the Cyclones with five catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. But it was not enough to overcome Murray’s performance. Sooners receiver Marquise Brown caught nine passes for 191 yards and a touchdown as well.
Playing their first game without standout running back Rodney Anderson, who suffered a season-ending injury last week, the Sooners found the production they needed with Murray and running backs Trey Sermon and Marcelias Sutton. The two running backs charged the offense on their second possession of the third quarter with Sutton hurdling a defender for some extra yardage and Sermon breaking loose from some poor tackling by Iowa State’s defense for a touchdown. Sutton had left the game at one point with what looked like it might be a serious leg injury, but he returned to the game later despite needing assistance off the field.
Oklahoma returns home next week for one last non-conference game on their schedule. The Sooners host Army in what will be the first meeting with the service academy since 1961. Oklahoma returns to Big 12 play the following weekend at home against Baylor.
Iowa State also jumps back to non-conference play next week with a home game against Akron. It is the second game of a home-and-home series that started last year with Iowa State winning 41-14 at Akron.