NORMAN —Oklahoma was in the midst of a nearly flawless quarter, a sparkling stretch in which the No. 6 Sooners put 28 points on Texas A&M on the way to a 41-25 victory Saturday afternoon.
That's when it happened. That's when OU's season changed course. With one stutter step and cut on the Owen Field turf, Ryan Broyles' incredible college career was over.
The senior receiver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. OU coach Bob Stoops said Broyles will have surgery in a couple of weeks, once the swelling subsides.
“Your heart drops when you first hear it,” Stoops said. “These guys work so hard and he's done so much … and then that.”
Broyles' will finish his senior year with 81 catches for 1,070 yards and 10 touchdowns. He will leave OU as the school's all-time leader in catches (349), yards (4,586) and touchdowns (45).
The Norman native set the NCAA career receptions record earlier in the season, at Kansas. He was gunning for the NCAA yardage mark, having moved Saturday into second place.
And it's all over. Just like that.
Broyles made his second catch of the game, a 30-yarder on a crossing route with about six minutes to go in the third quarter. An A&M defender tugged on his jersey, slowing down his progress long enough for a couple of other Aggies to come over and assist with the tackle.
When the defenders were in pursuit, Broyles tried to juke them to pick up an extra yard or two. The result was a torn ACL.
“I feel for Ryan,” Stoops said. “We're all disappointed for Ryan, for sure. He's such a special, special player. … For that to happen, it's just deflating, for him and for all of us.”
While his teammates continued the drive to go up 24 points, Broyles was 75 yards away, lying on a training table with a half-dozen or so medical staffers flanking him.
After a couple of standard ligament tests, a trainer leaned in to tell Broyles something. Broyles' expression immediately changed, his body language sinking. His head went into his hands. Tears soon filled his eyes and splashed out on to his cheeks.