NORMAN — Facing third-and-long, quarterback Sam Bradford chucked a jump ball down field.
Five-foot-11 Ryan Broyles jumped over a Cincinnati defender two inches taller to snag the pass for a first down, a 43-yard gain and, perhaps, the biggest play of the game.
“It was great to finally get out there,” Broyles said. “I felt just like I did in high school, I had the whole feel for the game like I did in high school.”
After sitting out the first 15 games of his career, Broyles proved he was worth the wait. The redshirt freshman caught seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, the best debut by a receiver in Oklahoma history.
Thanks in part to Broyles' impressive unveiling, the Sooners held on for a 52-26 victory Saturday at Owen Field that was closer than the final score indicated.
“He has a chance, if he keeps doing the things he's been doing here lately, to be a special player,” coach Bob Stoops said.
It didn't take long for Broyles to prove he's going to be an integral piece of what already was a multi-pronged attack.
On OU's opening drive, Broyles caught a quick out pass out of an empty formation, then outran the nearest defender for a 31-yard play.
On the next snap, he sliced through the Bearcat secondary on a corner route to reel in a 27-yard touchdown grab, giving the Sooners a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
“Heck of a debut,” said Bradford, who threw for five touchdowns and a career-high 395 yards. “It was a great way for him to start.