In the history of OU football, never had three Sooners produced at least 150 all-purpose yards in a single game. Until Saturday. In a 63-21 rout of Texas, not only did OU have three 150-yard all-purpose men, the Sooners nearly had four.
All-purpose yardage is determined by rushing, receiving and return yards.
Against Texas, Damien Williams rushed for 167 yards and had a 10-yard reception. So that’s 177 yards.
Trey Millard rushed for 45 yards and had 119 yards receiving. So that’s 164 yards.
Brennan Clay rushed for 59 yards and had 96 yards on three kickoff returns. So that’s 155 yards.
And flanker Justin Brown had 73 receiving yards, plus 67 punt return yardage. So that’s 140 yards.
Amazing. The nugget comes from OU historian Mike Brooks, who has an affinity for all-purpose yards. In fact, he’s trying to get the NCAA to recognize fumble return yardage in all-purpose, since the NCAA includes interception return yardage. To not count fumble yardage makes no sense.
But we digress. The all-purpose onslaught shows the versatility of the Sooners, at least against Texas.
Williams largely was a one-dimensional player against the Longhorns, though he had a big receiving day the week before against Texas Tech. But Millard was a monster running and receiving. Clay might have had his best game as a Sooner; good running, plus excellent kickoff returns. And Brown showed his first flashes of punt return prowess, which was promised from his days at Penn State.
All-purpose is a fun stat, since we don’t really look at it much. Here are the five best single-game all-purpose totals in OU history:
1. Greg Pruitt, 1971, Kansas State: 374 yards. 294 yards rushing, 34 yards receiving, 46 yards on kickoff returns. One of the most individual games in OU history. Pruitt ran wild in a 75-28 victory.
2. Mike Gaddis, 1989, OSU: 317 yards. 274 yards rushing, 43 yards receiving. Part of Gaddis’ amazing Bedlam career. In three games against OSU, Gaddis rushed for 690 yards.
3. Ryan Broyles, 2009, OSU, 316 yards. Four yards rushing, 103 yards receiving, 209 yards on punt returns. Remember, Broyles once was a big-time punt returner.
4. DeMond Parker, 1997, Texas: 307 yards. 291 yards rushing, 16 yards receiving. The great Parker-Ricky Williams one-on-one duel.
5. Billy Vessels, 1950, Nebraska: 302 yards. 208 yards rushing, 94 yards on kickoff returns. A monster game for 1950.
Here are the five career leaders in OU all-purpose yardage:
1. DeMarco Murray, 2007-10: 3,685 rushing; 1,571 receiving; 1,462 kickoff returns. Murray was a heck of a player, in case that was still in question.
2. Ryan Broyles, 2008-11: 97 rushing; 4,586 receiving; 1,187 punt returns; 113 kickoff returns. Think about that. The two greatest all-purpose players in OU history spent three years together as teammates.
3. Joe Washington, 1972-75: 4,071 rushing; 253 receiving; 829 punt returns; 728 kickoff returns. Two of Washington’s most famous plays were a halfback pass for a touchdown against Texas, and a monster quick kick against the Longhorns. I’d say all-purpose describes Little Joe.
4. Quentin Griffin, 1999-02: 3,938 rushing; 1,337 receiving. Sometimes we forget how productive was Griffin.
5. Juaquin Iglesias, 2005-08: 109 rushing; 2,861 receiving; 12 punt returns; 1,664 kickoff returns. What a productive player.