MANHATTAN, Kan. — Brennan Clay craved more carries and a greater role in Oklahoma’s offense, and wasn’t afraid to admit it publicly.
The senior has split carries in a running back by committee system most of the season, and argued Monday that to build rhythm throughout a game, he needed at least a few more touches than the 10 he’d averaged over the Sooners’ first 10 contests.
Just five days later, Clay got exactly what he wanted and delivered, rushing for a career-high 200 yards on a career-high 31 carries and helping lead Oklahoma to a 41-31 victory at KansasState.
“I just think it's hard as a running back, especially in college ball, getting six or seven carries a game,” Clay said. “Between myself, Damien (Williams) and Roy (Finch), we all do a great job with the ball in our hands. It's hard for us all to get a rhythm.
“I had to carry the load a little more today. I found that rhythm, and we kept running.”
Williams, suspended for the second time this season, didn’t make the trip to Manhattan. Clay started Saturday’s game, and ran the ball on 12 — nearly half — of Oklahoma’s first 25 offensive plays.
The Sooners took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, but Kansas State battled back and tied the score with two long touchdown passes from Jake Waters to Tyler Lockett.
Only three plays after the Wildcats pulled even, Clay broke free for a 64-yard touchdown.
KansasState quickly responded when Lockett sprinted past the Oklahoma secondary and hauled in a 90-yard touchdown reception.
The Sooners, though, ran out the second-quarter clock with a 12-play, 44-yard drive, capped by a Michael Hunnicutt field goal that gave Oklahoma a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Clay carried the ball five times for 21 yards on the critical drive.
“The thing about Brennan is, he’s always stepped up when he’s been needed,” said running backs coach Cale Gundy. “He’s been a most consistent and solid player for us the last two, three years.
“Sometimes he probably gets overlooked because he’s not flashy, but he’s very productive.”
Clay has never been more productive, though, than he was Saturday.
In fact, his 31 rushes against KansasState were more than the 30 he recorded in the Sooners’ previous four games combined.
“Brennan Clay was sensational,” said OU coach Bob Stoops, who surpassed Barry Switzer as the program’s all-time winningest coach Saturday. “He had a great day running the football. Let’s give the offensive line and Aaron Ripkowski credit. They were great blocking to help Brennan.”
Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) is off next week before traveling to Stillwater to face Bedlam rival OklahomaState on Dec. 7.
“We have an off week, which is a little upsetting because you always want to get out on the field,” Clay said. “But we'll prepare for OkieState. We'll get right back to it.”