NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma was just starting to get used to playing without one of its key defensive leaders when it lost one of its most indispensable offensive players.
Trey Millard sustained a season-ending knee injury on a fourth-quarter kickoff during the Sooners' 38-30 win over then-No. 10 Texas Tech on Saturday. No. 13 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) will play at No. 5 Baylor (7-0, 4-0) on Nov. 7 without the versatile senior, a starting fullback who also has been used as a tight end and a wide receiver.
Now, just like the defense had to do when losing senior linebacker Corey Nelson to a season-ending injury in a win over TCU on Oct. 5, the offense must figure out how to operate without Millard, a player who Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has praised for four years.
Millard carried 17 times for 97 yards and one touchdown and caught 11 passes for 78 yards and another score this season, but those statistics belie his importance. He often was the lead blocker for Sooners' tailbacks, including Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch, who have combined to rush for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns. The Sooners are averaging 234 yards rushing per game.
"When you watch all of those runs ... look who's in front of them all the time knocking somebody down, clearing somebody out of the way," Stoops said Monday. "Trey Millard is usually one of those guys out there in front of them clearing the path. He is consistently recognized as having a winning game, a great game with knockdowns, blocks, catching the ball, running the ball. He does so many things and plays so many positions. "
Millard's loss won't be felt just on offense. Stoops said Millard has been Oklahoma's best special-teams player the past three years.
"Obviously, Trey is the best in the country at what he does and all the things he can do," center Gabe Ikard said. "We're just going to have to take the talents of a couple of guys. Hopefully combine them into something close to what Trey is capable of. We'll see how that goes but we'll be ready to go. We've got good players. There's not another Trey Millard out there but we can take a couple of guys and make it work."
During Stoops' time as Oklahoma's coach, the Sooners have had players who could play both fullback and tight end, such as J.D. Runnels and Brody Eldridge, but none were as good at it as Millard, Stoops said.
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