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Oklahoma football: Kyler Murray gives Sooner fans glimpse into OU's future

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Kyler Murray

Sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray looks down the field for an open teammate during the fourth quarter of the game against West Virginia Nov. 25.

With a big focus Saturday on senior quarterback Baker Mayfield and the other Sooners who played their last game on Owen Field, a glimpse of the potential future for Oklahoma was also seen. 

Sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray started at quarterback and came back in with just over three minutes left in the third quarter for Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) in its 59-31 victory over West Virginia (7-5, 5-3 Big 12).

Coach Lincoln Riley said he planned ahead of time to have Murray play only the first drive for the Sooners before Mayfield, who did not start as part of punishment for his actions against Kansas, went in the game.

"I knew in the game I only had one drive so I was going to try and make the most of it," Murray said of his 66-yard run on the Sooners' first offensive play of the game. "(The defensive end) gave me a little bit of room and from there — y'all saw what happened."

Having been the backup all year, Murray has known he is always just one play away from going in but, Murray said, knowing he would be in the starting spot this week — if only briefly — made it easier for him to mentally prepare for the game.

Murray's position is not one unfamiliar to Mayfield, who said he can understand where the sophomore is mentally right now. Both Murray and Mayfield played their freshman years at different schools before transferring to Oklahoma and being forced to redshirt a year as a result of transfer rules. Unlike Mayfield though, Murray has had to wait an extra year as the backup.

It has been tough waiting his turn, Murray said, but he thinks he's done a good job of it.

"I knew the circumstances when I left (Texas) A&M — I would have been starting. I'd probably be starting now if I didn't leave," Murray said. "Everything happens for a reason, and God's put me in this position. It's been a hard time learning, trying to have patience, but I think it's all going to pay off."

Next season, Murray may be handed the keys to the best offense in the country. While the Sooners still have up to three more games left to play this year, with the regular season over talk of what Oklahoma will look like when the Mayfield era comes to a close is looming.

“To be honest it’s kind of hard to look at the future with so much going on right now, but I’m confident in whatever God has planned for us in the future,” sophomore running back Rodney Anderson said. “I’m excited.”

As Mayfield left the field for the last time to thunderous applause from the stands, he stopped and embraced Murray in a moment resembling a changing of the guard.

"This program's going to be in great hands," Mayfield said. "We've got a great coaching staff, and then obviously with Kyler at the reins next year. ... He's a special player."

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Abby Bitterman is a journalism and political science senior covering sports for The Daily.

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