NORMAN, Okla. – Jalen Hurts entered his biggest game as Oklahoma’s quarterback without his security blanket.
Now, he’s even more secure.
CeeDee Lamb, a member of the Associated Press’ midseason All-America team, ranks in the nation’s top 10 in touchdown receptions, yards per reception and yards receiving per game. He was ruled out of last Saturday’s showdown with Baylor for undisclosed medical reasons. Oklahoma’s remaining pass catchers filled the void. Hurts completed 30 of 42 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns as the Sooners rallied from a 25-point deficit to top the Bears, 34-31.
Coach Lincoln Riley said Lamb could miss Saturday’s game against TCU, but Hurts is confident in the other skill position players. And why not? They helped him complete the biggest comeback in school history last week, on the road against a previously unbeaten team.
“I have complete trust in everybody who’s on the field,” Hurts said. “I think we all trust each other to make plays, to do their jobs and to go out there and execute. Guys stepped up and took advantage of opportunities to make plays. That’s what good football teams do.”
Lee Morris, a seemingly forgotten man in the offense for much of the season, re-emerged as a star for the eighth-ranked Sooners (9-1. 6-1 Big 12, No. 9 CFP). The senior had eight catches all season before pulling in all seven passes thrown his way against Baylor for 86 yards.
“He’s as poised as can be,” Hurts said. “Kind of like a silent assassin at times. Doesn’t say much but plays with his heart on his shoulder and plays really hard. He stepped up for us big time, made some really good catches and some really nice conversions.“
Morris was a proven threat who has scored 11 career touchdowns, so Riley expected that he could handle a bigger load.
“Lee just made some clutch, big time catches,” Riley said. “I mean, several of the catches, he got hit a little bit and was able to hang on. I mean, it’s what he’s done his entire career here.“
Morris was one of several experienced players who came through. Sophomore Charleston Rambo pitched in with five catches for 50 yards, senior A.D. Miller caught three passes for 47 yards and senior Nick Basquine had two catches.
Younger, less experienced players left impressions, too.
Freshman Austin Stogner, who hadn’t caught a touchdown pass all season, scored on both his receptions. Sophomore Brayden Willis caught a 2-yard touchdown pass. Freshman Theo Wease caught a 19-yard scoring pass and freshman Jadon Haselwood had a 16-yard reception.
“That’s pretty fun to see,” Riley said. “It can be a great confidence boost for those guys and confidence in our older guys to give them opportunities and confidence in our coaches to give them opportunities. We’re certainly going to need them.”
The running backs helped, too. Kennedy Brooks had four catches for 22 yards and Rhamondre Stevenson had three catches for 24 yards.
In all, 10 players caught at least one pass.
“When we have the right focus, the right energy, the execution, I think we’re pretty good,” Hurts said. “I think it all comes down to how we execute. We’ve got complete trust in everybody and anybody who touches the field. It’s a matter of if we execute or not. That’s something that we control.”
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