With the Sugar Bowl coming up Thursday, Jason Kersey and I will post our picks for offensive, defensive and special teams most valuable players over the next three days. First up is offensive MVP.
Running back Brennan Clay is the Sooners’ offensive Most Valuable Player.
Clay rushed for 913 yards and six touchdowns, nearly doubling his overall ground production from his first three seasons in Norman.
He was never more valuable than in the Sooners’ 41-31 win at Kansas State on Nov. 23. In that game, Clay ran for a career-best 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first score, a 64-yarder, broke a 14-14 tie in the second quarter just more than a minute after Kansas State had tied the game. His second extended the lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter.
Clay also scored a critical 74-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter against TCU to help the Sooners escape with a 20-17 win.
His production was even more critical because of the uncertainty with the other running backs this season. Damien Williams, Oklahoma’s leading rusher a year ago, was suspended for a game early in the season and then was booted from the team late in the season. Roy Finch had several electric plays but still wasn’t utilized much. Freshman Keith Ford, who showed promise early in the season, struggled at times to hold onto the ball then was injured for much of the late part of the season.
Gabe Ikard: The center was the mainstay on the offensive line that had plenty of adversity this season. Ikard was a consistent blocker up front and one of the Sooners’ leaders, both on and off the field.
Trey Millard: Millard missed most of the second half of the season after tearing his ACL against Texas Tech but Millard’s versatility, both on offense and on special teams, was greatly missed after his injury. Millard’s raw numbers–17 carries and two catches–were far from overwhelming. But the ability for OU to use Millard as a running back, fullback and tight end to keep the same personnel packages while not having to take the time to sub out, was a critical piece of the Sooners’ offense.
Jalen Saunders: The senior wide receiver made quite a few huge plays at receiver, with 654 yards and six touchdowns receiving. He also was a big weapon on special teams, especially in the season’s last three games.