NORMAN — Herb Miller won’t soon forget the time Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro told him to blitz Kyler Murray.
Miller did as his coach said Saturday, creeping to the line of scrimmage from his position at cornerback and rushing the Oklahoma quarterback deep into the pocket.
Miller pursued and Murray floated away, making him miss once.
Next, Murray scurried clear to the left sideline before meeting a wall of more defenders, so he reversed back across the field, where Miller dived at his feet and missed again.
The crowd at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium cooed as OU’s quarterback scampered for a first down.
Murray confirmed Saturday he won’t be easily caught, while No. 7 OU revealed with its 63-14 demolition of FAU that it won’t easily beaten.
The Sooners romped past the defending Conference USA champion Owls, who had won 10 consecutive games and were considered a proper test for OU. Murray kicked off the dominant all-around performance with his best run of the day — a 15-yard gain that required seemingly hundreds of steps.
“I was gassed. It was hot. My adrenaline was going,” said Murray, who stumbled near the end. “The field has a little arch in the middle of it. I don’t want to blame it on that, but yeah, I was a little tired.”
Murray finished with a meager 23 yards rushing, but his dizzying run in the first quarter was enough to keep FAU honest the remainder of the game. There were also plenty of opportunities to pass during his highly anticipated debut as OU’s regular starter, and Murray didn’t disappoint there either.
He completed 9 of 11 throws for 209 yards and two touchdowns, both scores of 65 yards. He connected with receiver Marquise Brown six times for 133 yards and a 65-yard TD that put the Sooners (1-0) ahead 42-0 with under five minutes until halftime.
Murray possesses great speed but opted against other opportunities to use it against the Owls (0-1), indicating a comfortability in OU’s Air Raid offense that relies heavily on the deep ball.
“He’s not necessarily looking to run,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “If it’s there, he’s certainly gonna do it and can be dangerous. But one of the most dangerous things a quarterback can do is extend plays and still keep the throw alive, and he did that a couple of times today.”
Murray completed his first five passes before misfiring early in the second quarter. For the most part, he made things look easy.
Of course, everything around him came easy.
Midway through the first quarter, his Allen (Texas) High School teammate Lee Morris became the first OU player in five seasons to block a punt, foiling an FAU attempt that resulted in a touchdown when Curtis Bolton scooped the ball inside the end zone. The Sooners led 14-0, and FAU began trending downward.
Former OU reserve quarterback Chris Robison started behind center for the Owls and struggled with 11 incompletions. OU’s defense limited highly touted running back Devin Singletary to 69 yards on 19 carries, forcing punts on eight of FAU’s first nine possessions.
Meanwhile, eight different players scored the Sooners’ nine touchdowns.
Rodney Anderson ran five times for 100 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on a 65-yard run off an option pitch from Murray with 13:07 left in the second quarter to make the score 35-0.
After Murray’s run earlier, FAU had little choice but to respect where his legs could take him.
“My first spring here, I kind of chased him around for a good 100 yards. I mean, it’s 53 yards across the field, so him going back and forth, that got me pretty tired,” OU sophomore linebacker Kenneth Murray said. “Definitely a special player. Glad to have him as our quarterback. Him balling and doing that, that’s what he does on the daily.”
Coaches often cringe when players run backward or reverse the field in an attempt to gain positive yardage. Riley said he won’t discourage Murray from getting creative if he needs to be.
“You’re not always gonna call it perfect,” Riley said. “Things are not gonna happen exactly like you know ‘em, so you’ve got to have players who can make those plays even when they’re not there. So he did that. I’m good.”