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Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills might be best receiving duo in college football

BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, Modified: September 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm •  Published: September 21, 2011

NORMAN — If one is taken away, either by defenses or circumstances, the other is perfectly capable of beating you.

That is what Oklahoma's opposition has learned in its first two games in the cases of receivers Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills.

Independently, they're ultra-talented, among the nation's best. Put them together? Well, good luck. They are arguably the top receiving tandem in college football — Stills, the 6-foot-1 vertical threat, and Broyles, the 5-9 get-open-anywhere guy.

“It's kind of pick your poison,” Sooners co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “If we can put those types of playmakers in position to make plays, we should be able to hurt people defensively. That's really big.”

Stills, a sophomore from just north of San Diego, was suspended for the opener against Tulsa because of a January DUI arrest. No matter for the OU offense. Broyles, typically a slot-type receiver, seamlessly served as the team's middle-of-the-field and vertical options.

The senior All-American from Norman, who turned away from NFL overtures, had seven catches in the first quarter against the Golden Hurricane. He played three quarters in the blowout and ended up with 14 catches, one off the school record he set last year against Iowa State, for 158 yards. He had Landry Jones' only touchdown pass of the night.

So, that was Broyles' week, with Stills watching the game at home. That flipped, for the most part, last week at Florida State. It was Stills' turn to shine.

For one, the Seminoles were determined not to let Broyles get going, since OU's all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns destroyed them for 12 catches in the 2010 rout at Owen Field. Secondly, Broyles ate some bad fish the night before the game.

Throwing up all afternoon Saturday, he needed two IV treatments in the hours before kickoff and another at halftime.

“I was patched up,” Broyles said.

Still, he played. Still, he caught four passes on the opening drive, a 15-play odyssey of a touchdown march in the first few minutes.

When Broyles went quiet, Stills emerged, catching seven passes for 125 yards (both career highs). Stills and Jones accounted for the two longest plays of the game, a 38-yard completion in the second quarter – and then the 37-yard game-winning touchdown pitch and catch midway through the fourth quarter.

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