CINCINNATI — Before the season, Bob Stoops said this Oklahoma freshman class had the chance to be the best he'd ever coached.
Saturday night, OU's freshmen sure lived up to that, spearheading the Sooners' 31-29 victory over Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium.
"They're really good players. We keep saying it," Stoops said. "You feel good with them out there. That for me says a lot. That doesn't happen to me a lot with young freshmen."
Especially on the road, where true freshmen often wilt.
Instead, in their first test away from Norman, OU's true freshmen performed like savvy upperclassmen.
Wideout Kenny Stills made a couple of replay-worthy catches to keep drives alive, including one along the sidelines where he somehow kept his feet inbounds while going horizontal to make the grab. Stills finished with four catches for 72 yards, and had a 27-yard reception wiped out by an illegal shift.
"It was our first away game," Stills said. "We felt like we needed to go out there and prove we can play well away from home."
Stills was hardly alone.
Fellow freshman wideout Trey Franks played most of the night as OU's third receiver, and showed his top-end speed on a 9-yard reverse and a 19-yard reception, which set up a first-half touchdown.
But the biggest Sooner score went to freshman fullback Trey Millard, who popped open in the flat on a play-action pass from Landry Jones, a touchdown that put the Sooners up 31-22 with under 5 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
"This was a tough win, a tough game," said Millard, who finished with three catches for 30 yards, and delivered several devastating blocks in the run game. "It was a great experience. The more experience you have the more confidence you have."Box Score: OU, 31 - Cincinnati, 29