Several Oklahoma freshmen not only are playing; they're playing key roles.
In OU's 28-20 win over Texas Saturday in the Cotton Bowl, freshmen helped the Sooners dominate the first quarter. Forced to play catch-up the entire game, the Longhorns never recovered.
"Look at the freshmen that stepped up," said coach Bob Stoops. "Aaron (Colvin) had a great game. He was really solid. Kenny Stills. Tony Jefferson. Trey Millard. Those guys played big minutes, made big plays."
Big first-quarter plays when OU seized control.
On the Sooners' first possession, Millard, an athletic fullback, moved the chains on third-and-short. Millard helped cap the drive with yet another kick-out block that sprung DeMarco Murray free for an 18-yard touchdown run.
Jefferson set the tone defensively on Texas' first play from scrimmage when he blasted James Kirkendoll for a 2-yard loss on a bubble screen. The Longhorns went three-and-out and punted, and the Sooners snuffed out Texas' short passing game much of the day.
On OU's next offensive possession, Millard once again converted a third-and-short to move the chains. Stills' 16-yard TD reception capped the drive for a 14-0 lead.
Blanketed by linebacker Emmanuel Acho, Stills leapt high to win a one-on-one matchup. The acrobatic catch sent a statement.
Texas' game plan was to double-cover Ryan Broyles. It worked, as the Longhorns negated Broyles' impact, but Stills stepped up with a team-high 78 yards on five catches.
Stills also provided a pivotal 32-yard fourth-quarter reception that helped milk the clock. On the play, Broyles once again was double covered. Stills turned around UT cornerback Curtis Brown and used a spin move to turn a medium gain into a long-gainer.