Shepard has taken advantage of his opportunity as well. He's started all four games so far and is averaging more than 14 yards per reception.
He's been more consistent this season, staying on the field in every situation instead of just coming on in four-wide sets.
“I think Sterling is a little different than a lot of slot guys,” co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. “He's a pretty strong kid. He's built like a pit bull. He can handle blocking those bigger guys, and he did a lot of that Saturday.”
Never was that more evident that early in the third quarter against Notre Dame when Blake Bell hit Damien Williams on a swing pass. Shepard's block helped Williams get about 10 more yards for a 17-yard gain and helped set up an eventual field goal.
“He was just outstanding,” Bob Stoops said. “What you don't see unless you go back and watch the game again is you should see the way he played without the football in this game. It's really fun to watch. The guy was blocking everywhere, hustling. That's what I'm most proud of. He was outstanding when he didn't have the ball.”
Early in the fourth, Shepard all but put the game away with his long touchdown.
Shepard looked like he might get brought down by converging Irish defensive backs inside the 20, but he was able to outrun both defenders to get to the end zone.
“I saw how open it was and was kind of surprised when I came out of it,” Shepard said. “I just tried to have tunnel vision and get to the end zone.
“It was probably the fastest I've ever run.”
Sooners co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said the game went beyond just Shepard's best game as a Sooner.
“He played as complete a game at the wide receiver position as we've had played around here in a long time,” Heupel said. “Catching the football. Competitive plays. But he played a physical game. I'm extremely excited about what I saw from him.”