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No doubt, Broyles is one of the greats

by Jenni Carlson Published: October 16, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Ryan Broyles held tight to the football.

Ball security has never been a problem for the Oklahoma receiver, but this was a catch like no other and required a vice grip like never before.

It was the catch that broke the NCAA record for career receptions, the moment that put Broyles at the top of the record books. And it came in the most fitting of ways — a big-time touchdown in a closer-than-expected game against Kansas.

In what would become a 47-17 rout, Broyles' 57-yard touchdown catch essentially broke open the game.

“Ryan Broyles was just out of this world,” Sooner coach Bob Stoops said. “When you set a national record, that's pretty special.

“When you do it like he did with over 200 yards ... ”

Broyles, you see, was hardly done after he broke the national record, a mark of 316 catches previously held by Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield. Broyles broke the record and kept right on going.

And going.

And going.

Broyles finished with 13 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. It was another big night in a big career for one of the best receivers that the college game has ever seen.

"Just coming coming out of high school, a lot of guys didn't think I would be able to do it," Broyles said of playing big-time Division-I football. "Too slow. Too short. It just shows how hard work pays off.

"I feel like I've always been an underdog."

Now, he's one of the greatest receivers in college football history.

How do you not put him among the greats?

Sure, he's not a prototypical pro receiver with a big body and blazing speed, but this night reminds us that it's not about what Broyles isn't but rather about what he is -- an amazing player.

He catches everything thrown his way. He makes tough plays in traffic. He delivers clutch plays for his team.

There are so many legacies that Broyles will leave, but it's hard not to think about the how high he could set the bar.

He entered the game Saturday with 313 career receptions. He left Lawrence with 326 and counting. The Sooners have six regular-season games and one bowl game remaining. Broyles has a career average of 7.2 catches a game, so if he manages that during these next seven games, he'll add another 49 catches to his career tally and finish his days in Soonerville with 375 catches.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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