NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops insisted Samaje Perine could have re-entered the game after suffering a “slight muscle pull” in the first half of Saturday’s victory over Kansas State.
“If forced to play, he could have,” Stoops said.
According to reports Monday, Perine is expected to miss two or three weeks with a pulled muscle in his leg. Perine was injured diving for a touchdown on the first drive of Saturday’s 38-17 win.
He’ll be sidelined for sure when OU faces Texas Tech at 7 p.m. Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.
In two previous meetings against the Red Raiders, Perine has rushed 414 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
OU is down to two running backs. Sophomore Joe Mixon can be a workhorse. His 19 carries against Kansas State was a career high. He also gets three to five receptions a game.
Freshman Abdul Adams had six carries against Kansas State. It was the first time he had a carry since the Sept. 10 game against Louisiana-Monroe.
Mixon, Perine and Adams are the only scholarship running backs OU still has. Redshirt freshman Rodney Anderson suffered a season-ending neck injury in August. Fifth-year senior Daniel Brooks retired due to concussions a little over a week ago.
Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said Perine’s absence doesn’t change his play-calling.
“Luckily it doesn’t change a ton when you have Joe. And we have a ton of confidence in Abdul,” Riley said. “…Abdul has been doing a great job in practice. We think he’s going to be a really, really good player. The thing that he’s done that’s always hard for freshmen is he’s picked up the scheme so well. We have a ton of confidence in him. Does it change maybe the style of runs here or there? Sure. But those guys did a great job filling in and keeping us productive.”
Stoops said fullback Dimitri Flowers could see time at running back with Perine out and Mark Andrews and Carson Meier could need to be in Flowers’ role.
The injury also puts a big dent on Perine’s push for Billy Sims’ school career rushing record. Perine is 581 behind Sims’ record of 4,118.
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook has 26 catches for 574 yards and eight touchdowns in the last three games. Those totals included nine receptions for 184 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas State.
All he thought about after the game was the one that got away. Mayfield had him all alone for a potential 49-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. Westbrook didn’t come down with it.
“I’m really down on myself about that, the reason being that that’s something I can control,” Westbrook said. “It was just lack of focus on my part. Probably after this, I’m going to go catch 10 or 15 balls for doing something like that.”
Westbrook hasn’t missed many opportunities. OU’s targeted him 29 times over the last three games.
Play the wind
The bowling in of Owen Field does have an impact on the game. The wind, which blew more than 20 miles per hour out of the south Saturday, swirled down on the field.
“It was incredible. I’d never seen it that way. It was 20 miles per hour out of the south, but on the field, it was more (from) the north,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “Going into the start of the second half, we had a discussion about which way we wanted to kick. I had never in 18 years experienced that out here.”
OU quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 25 of 31 passes for 346 yards with four touchdown passes. It was one of his best games of the season.
“You have to spin it a little more because spirals rip through the wind. The one time it affected us today was the deep ball to Dede,” Mayfield said. “I think he just misjudged it, or the wind might have caught. I didn’t see it, but I think that was the case. Other than that, it wasn’t a factor for us.”