Top ranked Bears pull away from Sooners

(Photo by Michael Kinney)

By Michael Kinney

NORMAN –  Over the course of three days, Oklahoma had a chance to make a serious statement. Facing a pair of top five teams in back to back games, it was their opportunity to show the country and themselves that they can be a dangerous team in the NCAA tournament.

However, that was not what happened. After losing by 17 to No. 3 Kansas Saturday, they fell 65-54 to No. 1 Baylor Monday at Lloyd Noble Center.

Oklahoma dropped to 16-10 overall and 6-7 in the Big 12. The loss was only their second at home this season.

For Baylor, they remain undefeated in the Big 12 at 13-0. They have now won 23 games in a row and had into a matchup with Kansas on Saturday.

Oklahoma started the night knocking down shots from the perimeter. It allowed them to take a one-point lead early in the contests.

However, when they went cold, Baylor took advantage. They surged ahead by 11 with under five minutes left I the first half.

With 2:20 left, Brady Manek drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the lead down to 28-22.  Austin Reaves then threw an alley-oop to Manek and the Sooners were within four.

Baylor’s Matthew Mayer scored right before the half ended to give the Bears a 30-24 lead going into the locker room.

The Sooners picked up their defensive intensity to start the second half. Kristian Doolittle and Kur Kuath controlled the paint and forced the Bears Into difficult shot or blocked them outright.

Doolittle also did most of the heavy lifting scoring-wise. After being held to three points in the first half, he began to collect buckets and trips to the free-throw line.

With 12 minutes left, Oklahoma was down 39-38.

However, that is when Baylor decided to turn things around. They outscored Oklahoma 13-2 over the next four minutes to take a 12 point advantage.

Even though Oklahoma had put Baylor in foul trouble and were shooting free throws on each foul from the nine-minute mark on, they kept on throwing up 3-pointers.

With 2:33 left in the game, Oklahoma trailed 63- 54. They needed a stop if they were going to climb back into the contest. However, Jamal Bieniemy fouled Jared Butler. He missed his free throw attempt, giving the Sooners a chance.

Unfortunately for Oklahoma, Manek missed a contested 3-point attempt and Baylor got the rebound. That sent the crowd to the exits and signaled the end of the night.

Baylor edged out Oklahoma on the boards 37-35 and only had two fewer assists. The Sooners also made six more free throws.

However, Oklahoma’s lack of 3-point shooting prowess killed them. They made only five of 21 from behind the arc.

Butler led all scorers with 22 points on 8 of 20 shooting. Mark Vital added 10 points for the Bears.

Doolittle paced the Sooners with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Alondes Williams added 11 points in 19 minutes while Manek posted 10 points. However, he scored only one point after halftime.

Oklahoma travels to Oklahoma State Saturday.

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Oklahoma coach taking over Futsal squad

By Michael Kinney

Just over nine months ago Steve Scott seemed to be done with coaching.
The long-time soccer coach announced his retirement in May 2019 after 23 years on the sideline. That includes the last seven seasons as the Yukon girls’ coach.
Ultimately, Scott’s retirement lasted less than a year.
This year, he’ll be back to coaching on the sideline, except it won’t be on a soccer field. Scott has accepted the head coaching job of the USA Futsal Federation C15 boys National Team.
According to Scott, this allows him to still coach, but it also to be able to focus on his daughter, who is a sophomore.
“I just wanted to pull back a little bit from the high school side so I had more time on my hands to be able to go watch my daughter and not miss any of her games that she competes in,” Scott said. “Now I get to watch my daughter play in anything that she does.”
Futsal has been growing in popularity in Oklahoma for the past five years. For those unfamiliar with the sport, it can be described as a close cousin to soccer, as they share similar skills and traits.
However, the main differences are that it’s played between two teams of five on an indoor hard court that is the size of a basketball court. In addition, futsal balls are smaller and heavier than soccer balls.
Scott already had a vested interest in futsal. For the past few years, he had been the Southwestern Region director of the USAFF.
“When the USA Futsal Federation was established, I had gotten on, and I have been there for the last couple of years,” Scott said. “I’ve been the Southwest Region Director for the USA Futsal Federation and done a lot of stuff in growing the game of futsal in Oklahoma and other states in the region over the last couple of years.”
During his time as the regional director, Scott left an impression on the other members of the federation. So when it was time to find a coach for the C15 boys, Scott was the top choice.

“Steve Scott was the SW Regional director for Oklahoma and the Southwest Region when he joined AMF (precursor to USAFF),” said Mark Brown, USA Futsal Federation President. “He did a really good job. When I got promoted to President, it kind of moved everybody up and we needed a coach for that specific age group. I knew Steve’s experience and background and for me as a President, it was kind of a no-brainer. “I was really confident that Steve would be the right guy for the position.”

Every year the AMF holds a Futsal World Cup in the summer for a different category. This year it is the U15 boy’s turn. When the opportunity came to take over and take the national team to the U15 World Cup, Scott couldn’t pass on it.

“So this 2020 it will be to C15 boys that we’ll be putting a team together and going to the world cup,” Scott said. “It’s a whole national team program if you’re familiar with soccer and it’s a national team program set up. It’s a national team program within the USA Futsal Federation.”

Along with coaching, Scott’s duties include building a team from scratch that can compete against the world’s best. That means scouring the country for the top U15 futsal players.

“We’ve got some people also working with us in Oregon that we’ll host a combine in Oregon. Then we’ll have one in Arizona and we’ll have one in Oklahoma,” Scott said. “We’ll look to have around 12 to 15 players that we’ll look at to take. We’ll create a pool of players and then we’ll ultimately select 12. We’ll select 12 players to travel and actually make the squad and go to the world cup to compete.”

The AMF Futsal World Cup Invitation is set for July 24-31 in Paraguay. They hope to have the team finalized and intact by around May or June.

“It’s looking really great,” Brown said. “We’re going to have a great showing and a good representation for the USA when we get to Paraguay this summer.”

But even after the trip to the world cup, Scott’s duties may not be done. With the prospect of a pro Futsal league starting up later this year and more events, Brown wants Scott to stay around.

“What I am hoping is that after coach is done with this summer’s events, he will stay on with our national team and continue to build it out for the other age groups and with the adults,” Brown said. “And form the coaching continuity we will need to build that program out and keep it sustainable into the future.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Mustang goes green… and blue

(Photos by Michael Kinney)

By Michael Kinney

WASHINGTON D.C. — In its long history of producing high-powered automobiles, the Mustang has virtually stayed the same. Aside from a few design changes, the iconic car has been a staple of American power for decades.

That may be why it took Ford so long to decide to get into the green car game.

“In early 2018, we announced that we would significantly increase our planned investments and electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid fully electric vehicles in our model lineup,” said Ford Regional Development Specialist Brian Atkinson. “We’ve said that going forward our SUVs will have at least one electrified offering, and here we just discussed some

It wasn’t until this year that Mustang has produced its first-ever electric car with the 2021 Mustang Mach-E.

The all-electric SUV was unveiled at the Washington Auto Show.

“This is a new vehicle for Ford and it’s the first time that it’s here in D.C. For the first time in 55 years, Ford is expanding the Mustang lineup with an all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV, which will be joining the stable of sport coupes, convertibles, and special editions. It delivers power, it delivers style, it delivers freedom for a new generation,” Atkinson said. The Mustang Mach-E embodies the Mustang spirit. From its sleek silhouette and muscular curves, to exhilarating drive experiences and its top performance handling, it’s purely Mustang.”

Sitting in its Grabber Blue Metallic color, the Mach E stood out among the rest of the Ford displays at the auto show.

According to Mustang’s Rhonda Nelson, one major change is that with it being electric, the Mustang’s iconic sound that roared from the engine is not part of the Mach E. That may cause some longtime Mustang owners to be apprehensive about picking up the new generation.

But while the look and sound is completely different than any other Mustang that has ever been produced, Atkinson says pony lovers will still be impressed with the power behind it.

“Some will ask, “But is it fast?” The Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition brings the thrills that Mustang is famous for,” Atkinson said. “Targeting the 0-60 in the mid three-second range and an estimated 459 horsepower. So the answer? “Yeah, we think it’s fast.” Others might question if it has enough range. It will. The Mustang Mach-E instills confidence, targeting an EPA estimated range of at least 300 miles with an available extended battery.”

Ford has included built-in charging solutions that route customers to nearby public charging stations, recommending where to charge on trips, and providing access to over 12,000 public chargers within the FordPass Charging Network.

“This is not just a compliance vehicle. It wasn’t designed to check a box. The Mustang Mach-E was purposefully built,” Atkinson said. “We knew it had to go at least 300 miles, we knew it had to have an all-wheel drive option, that it had to be fast, fun and beautiful. We needed to create a vehicle that was true to the heritage of one of our most beloved icons, the Ford Mustang.”

Because the battery is located on the floor of the Mustang E, it provides for cargo space in the back and the front.

Other extras include a floating, flip-up armrest on the center console, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless charging and a panoramic sunroof. It also has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

Starting sale price is around $45,000. The G.T is closer to $62,000.

“When we first shared this vehicle with the world in November, we began taking reservations,” Atkinson said. “Our first edition electric Mustang is now sold out, but we continue taking pre-orders for all the other versions, including the Premium and the GT. This vehicle will arrive in the market later this fall.”

Inside Mustang.jpg

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Maserati unveils new line in D.C.

(Photo by Michael Kinney)

By Michael Kinney

WASHINGTON D.C — Maserati has always found a way to stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s been with its sleek and elegant look or high-powered performance, the Italian brand is known for creating its own path.

That has been the Maserati way since its inception a century ago.

“It’s a very historic Italian luxury vehicle manufacturer founded over a hundred years ago by the four Maserati brothers,” says Karl DeBoer, Brand Manager at Maserati North America, as we check out the cars on display. “The Maserati brothers got into racing and then ultimately production vehicles, and it’s because of that heritage that we’re here today with these gorgeous Italian-crafted vehicles. We’re very proud of that Italian heritage.”

Because of that rich European craftsmanship, whenever the car company introduces anything new to the Maserati family, it tends to be bold and aggressive. That’s the case with the Limited Series Edizione Ribelle and the GT Sports Package, which were both on display at the Washington Auto Show.

“We really want to communicate all of the new value that we’re adding for consumers along with this limited-production series: the Edizione Ribelle, and our brand-new GT Sport Package,” adds DeBoer.

The Ribelle line will include the Ghibli S Q4, Levante S and the Quattroporte S Q4 in the GranSport trim.

“The name ‘Ribelle’ means rebel in Italian and pays homage to the rebel nature of Maserati,” says Al Gardner, CEO of Maserati North America. “These distinctive vehicles showcase the high level of Italian design and craftsmanship that Maserati is known for.”

“We’re only producing 225 of these vehicles,” adds DeBoer. “One hundred Ghiblis, 100 Levantes, and 25 Quattroportes, and that’s for all of North America. We are so excited to launch this very exclusive vehicle.”

The package’s sleek black trim is highlighted on the window surrounds, exhaust tips, vertical grille bars and the 20-inch dark wheels with contrasting red brake calipers. The Ribelle is just as intense inside, with premium leather seats in contrasting two-tone black and red stitching. Also, the steering wheel and front and rear seats are heated.

Maserati’s all-new GT Sport Package will be available in the Ghibli, Levante and Quattroporte models. The package includes aggressive front and rear GranSport fascia, unique wheels and a selection of red, blue or black painted brake calipers.

“We added more standard features and content to the 2020 model year vehicles,” says DeBoer. “For example, on our GranSport, trims, our GTS trim, and then also on all Quattroporte models, we added our level two autonomy driver’s assistance package, and this comes with highway assist, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, a whole suite of features.”

According to DeBoer, the limited series Ribelle will hit North American showrooms in March.

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

 

 

Miss Saigon begins week-long run in OKC

(Photo by Matthew Murphy and Johan Persson)

By Michael Kinney

OKLAHOMA CITY– The award-winning musical ‘Miss Saigon’ began its six-day run in Oklahoma City Jan 14 at the Civic Center.

The story revolves around the last days of the Vietnam War, and a 17-year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run the Engineer. There, she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.

For years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son.

Miss Saigon comes from the creators Les Misérables. It features a stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World” and “American Dream.”

Along with the theatrical component, Miss Saigon has a historical element that dives into the atmosphere surrounding the Vietnam war and other factors of the time.

Main cast performers include Red Concepcion (The Engineer), Emily Bautista (Kim), Anthony Festa (Chris) and J. Daughtry (John).  Miss Saigon was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Laurence Conner.

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Thunder star provides a safe place for victims of abuse

(Photo by Michael Kinney)

By Michael Kinney

The staff at the Family T.R.E.E. in Oklahoma City has a tough job. The children who show up the facility have had to live with unimaginable pain and sufferings and it’s up to the staff workers to help them.

Family T.R.E.E., which is part of the Department of Human Services, is designed as a transformative space for hope, strength and positive change to take root. In this space, families involved with the Child Welfare System are supported through Team, Resources, Evaluation and Education (T.R.E.E.), all purposefully dedicated to renewing and reunifying their family.

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul decided to give them a little help recently when he spearheaded a charge to refurbish a nearly 30-year old basketball court at the Family T.R.E.E. that will be used to benefit victims of child abuse and child neglect.

“This building serves kids on some of their darkest days,” said Justin Brown, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. “For them to have a space like what Chris Paul dedicated today, it’s sort of a fray of light in what sometimes can be a very dark time in their lives.”

The refurbishment was completed in partnership with the Chris Paul Family Foundation, Spalding and State Farm. Along with Paul and Brown, Jack Marquardt, Spalding, Vice President of Brand Communications also delivered a message to the two dozen kids and family members on hand for the unveiling Jan. 10.

“I’ve always had a unique perspective to think back to when I was a kid sitting in those seats and I always look and picture my kids to,” Paul said. “When you’re a kid, your attention span is not very long. Just understand that they just want somewhere to be able to play, a safe haven. And that’s what kids should have.”

The basketball court will be another tool for Family T.R.E.E. and the Department of Human Services as they look to help children in difficult situations.

“We serve a million people in the state of Oklahoma with 6,000 employees. We cannot do this alone.,” Brown said of DHS. “So partnerships with people like Chris Paul and organizations like Spaulding are critically important for us being able to serve our community in the best way. It is truly reflective of what this place is. It’s a place of collaboration and service. That’s what Chris personifies.”

Brown also didn’t forget the main reason for refurbishing the court, which is to help children and their families.

“We serve kids all across the state. We investigate 81,000 cases of abuse every year. Some 240 kids a day are reported potential abuse claims,” Brown said. “So we investigate all those. And this facility here is to reunite families by providing space for them to be together, to work with counselors and really work with therapists to understand how to interact in better ways as they potentially leave our system and we reunite families.”

The court was designed by Paul and his 10-year old son. Surrounding by a variety of bright and illuminating colors, the floor features astrology symbols for Gemini, Aquarius, Taurus and Leo, which belong to each member of Paul’s family.

The word’s “Family First, Family Last. Family Always” painted on the Thunder blue walls.

Paul explained the significance of the design element that went into the court. And gave a brief history of how he first came to Oklahoma City when as a member of the New Orleans Hornets, Hurricane Katrina forced them to find a new home as a rookie.

The walls are also adorned with the names and numbers of Rasual Butler and Jackson Vroman, both of whom were teammates of Paul during his first stint in Oklahoma City. Butler and Vroman passed away in recent years and Paul wanted to honor them.

“Those two guys played with me here in Oklahoma,” Paul said. “I felt it would be fitting to put Jackson and Rasual up there. In this league sometimes you play with a guy for a few months, maybe a few years. I played with Rasual for I think six years. Rasual is like a brother to me.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

 

Learning on the job

Photo by Torrey Purvey

By  Michael Kinney

NORMAN– Antonio Gordon was hoping for a better homecoming. With the stands at Lloyd Noble Center full of family and friends from Lawton, the Eisenhower product was looking to put on a show and help lead his Kansas State squad to pull off an upset against Oklahoma.

However, Gordon could only watch as his Wildcats squandered a double-digit lead and fell 66-61 to the Sooners Saturday in both teams Big 12 Conference opener.

“I feel like we just got to do better at finishing out the end,” Gordon said. “We’re a great team, we know that. It’s just little things that is going to push us over the edge. Once we get better at that I think we’ll be tough to beat.”

Gordon, a true freshman with KSU, didn’t have his best scoring night in his first trip back to his home state. He shot 1 of 9 from the field and scored 3 points to go along with posting 8 rebounds, one steal and a blocked shot.

“I didn’t shoot it very well,” Gordon said. “I know I got some stuff I need to work on. I know I played the hardest I could. I definitely put it out there on the floor. Definitely need to get more shots up.”

Gordon was on the KSU bench during the final minutes of game action after he put up a shot that hit the side of the backboard. He could only watch as his teammates tried to hold on to the game on the road.

That is something Gordon didn’t have to deal with at EHS, where he scored nearly 1,600 points in his prep career, averaging 22.8 points in 70 career games.

Gordon will most likely chalk the entire game up to another learning experience. As he goes from high school standout to DI athlete, he has learned quickly it is definitely a different level.

“What has stood out is definitely the game speed,” Gordon said. “Transitioning from high school to college the game definitely sped up. Dudes got bigger, stronger, faster, so that’s something that’s definitely been a big thing for me. Just the college lifestyle. Being around older dudes, knowing that you got to raise your game to their level. In high school, I was better than most kids my age, so I definitely have to raise my level, because those dudes are smarter as well. They have been playing here for four or five years.”

On the season, Gordon is averaging 6.0 and 4.6 rebounds a game. He’s shooting 41 percent from the field and just 25 percent from behind the arc.

As Gordon gets more acclimated to his surrounds and the college game, those numbers should get better.

“The rest of the freshman season, I just want play my heart out,” Gordon said. “Leave everything on the court like it’s my last game.”

Despite the loss, when the game was over Gordon was all smiles when he walked back onto the court. He was met with hugs and pats on the back from his family.

Gordon said it’s because of them that he’s in this position and doesn’t want to let them down.

“Once I saw myself on the TV for the first time I was like dang, this is what I always dreamed of, and now I’m actually here doing this so I got to make the most of it,” Gordon said. “It was like an eye-opener like I can’t mess this up. It was a blessing from God. Made my mom proud, made my family proud so just got to continue doing it.”

Gordon also knows he has young athletes back home in Lawton watching him and before he left Norman to head back to school, he had a message for them.

“Just keep working hard, nothing’s impossible,” Gordon said. “Don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do something.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

What will Hurts’ legacy be at Oklahoma?

Photo credit: Jason Parkhurst

By Michael Kinney

ATLANTA – For what may have been the first time all season, Jalen Hurts was human, so to speak. When the Oklahoma quarterback took to the podium after his Sooners were decimated 63-28 by No. 1 LSU in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, Hurts had done something he hadn’t done the entire season. He opened up.

“It’s hard to just sit here and reflect on four years, a whole year with my brothers this year, all of that right now. It hurts me,” Hurts said. “You talk about how much it means to you and the team. It’s supposed to hurt. This is not a good feeling. This is a feeling I’ve never felt before.”

Hurts unprecedented college career came to an end on the turf of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium Dec. 28 with the loss to No. 1 LSU. So it’s understandable why he was reflective.

Yet, when Hurts first arrived on the University of Oklahoma campus, he had envisioned a different outcome.

“It hurts me in my heart, you know,” Hurts said. “When I decided to come to this school, I told Coach (Lincoln) Riley, I’m going to go win you a National Championship, and I failed to do that.”

At times this season it looked like a one-man show to fans and opponents. That includes members of the LSU defense, who said going into the Peach Bowl that if the stop the Heisman trophy runner-up then they would be fine.

While it sounded like bold talk from the Tigers, it ended up being true. Once LSU was able to stop Hurts running the ball, he was unable to get the passing game going. Some of that had to do with a porous offensive line that was unable to stand up to the physical Tigers front.

But it was also Hurts unable to complete passes into tight windows, an issue he had during the regular season. While he improved immensely as a passer in his one season at Oklahoma, he wasn’t where needed to be to knock off a squad like LSU.

In his one season with the Sooners, Hurts accomplished a lot. Despite having to learn an entirely new offense, he threw for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns while completing 69.7 percent of his passes.

Hurts also led the Sooners in rushing yards (1,407), carries (233) and rushing TDs (20) while earning runner-up status in the Heisman.

“I’m incredibly proud of Jalen,” OU center Creed Humphrey said. “He did a great job for us. He was a great leader for us. I’m really happy I got to be a part of his football journey. He was a part of mine. It takes a really extraordinary person to do that. He is an extraordinary person. I’m really happy that he came and spent this year with us.”

Whether Hurt’s stint at Oklahoma will be looked at as a success or not could be determined on what happens in the future.

In many people’s eyes. Hurts was the bridge between Baker Mayfield-Kyler Murray era to the Spencer Rattler.

Rattler was the top-ranked quarterback coming out of high school this past season but sat the bench for a season behind Hurts and red-shirted this year. At 6-0, 197 pounds, Rattler fits more of the style Riley has built during his time at Oklahoma. With a live and accurate arm, many predict he will pick up the Heisman torch Mayfield and Murray left behind.

Yet, he needed the year of seasoning on the bench to prepare him to be the face of the Sooner’s program.  If he was able to learn from Hurts on and off the field, then Hurt’s legacy could, in the end, lead to a championship in the near future.

“Moving forward, I definitely hope — I’ve already told them, I hope that you guys learn from this,” Hurts said. “I hope everybody learns from this. It hurts me the most because usually, when you come up short in something, you can come back and you can fix it. I can’t come back and fix it. I’ll never play college football again.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Oklahoma can’t put it all together on the biggest stage

(Photo by Michael Kinney)

By Michael Kinney

ATLANTA- Parnell Motley looked exhausted. As he sat down to talk to the media after the 2019 Peach Bowl, the senior cornerback had almost a blank stare on his face as he answered questions.

It was almost as if the realization that his college career was over and the lasting image he and Oklahoma fans will have of this year team was the performance they put on the field Saturday afternoon. That was something Motley and all of the Sooners seem to be having the biggest problem with.

“It’s very disappointing,” Motley said. “This one really hurt because we prepped for the game and thought we had a great game plan and just didn’t execute.

No. 4 Oklahoma suffered a 63-28 loss to No. 1 LSU at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs. The Tigers advanced to the College Football Championship game instead of the Sooners.

“Had to fight through a lot just to get here, and it’s kind of the disappointment — you balance right now the disappointment of not winning and accomplishing your ultimate goal here,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “On top of that, just not playing our best.

For three straight years under Riley, the Sooners were on the verge of making it to the final game of the college football season. But each time they reached the playoffs, they found themselves falling short.

However, what made this year’s version so painful for the players and its fanbase was just how uncompetitive the game was. From start to finish, the undefeated Tigers had total control of the contests and there seemed to be nothing the Sooners could do to take it from them.

“It doesn’t really go away honestly,” junior wideout CeeDee Lamb said. “You have to live with this one, I have to go to sleep with the loss. It’s going to be a hard one.”

Lamb probably knew at that moment that he would never have a chance to get the redemption he had been looking for after each playoff defeat. The all-American declared for the NFL draft Sunday, just a day after his season ended.

“After much thought and prayer, I am officially announcing that I will be declaring for the 2020 NFL draft,” Lamb posted on social. “It has been my dream for as long as I could remember to play for the NFL, and I believe it’s the right time to take that next step.”

In his junior season, Lamb accounted for 62 receptions, 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns and was named a consensus All-American, He ends his collegiate career

Another player who many believe will be leaving Oklahoma for the NFL is linebacker Kenneth Murray. He totaled seven tackles against LSU to push his season total up to 102.

“I just wasn’t raised to stop fighting. That’s what I did. That’s what we did,” an emotional Murray said. “We just didn’t play well enough. I’m not going to sit in front of these cameras and make any excuses. It’s extremely frustrating.”

The 63 points the Sooners allowed set a new record for the Peach Bowl and the College Football Semifinals. It was also the most points the Sooners have allowed in a bowl game since giving up 55 to USC in 2005.

The offensive side was also setting low-light records for the program. Oklahoma accounted for only 322 total yards and 97 rushing yards. Both were a season low for the No. 5 offense in the nation.

“When you play this game, you talk about the controllables, what you can control,” OU quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities, and that’s something that we can control. They play really good defense, but we were too inconsistent to come out on top of this game, and I think that’s the blunt reality of it.”

Oklahoma closes out the season with a 12-2 record for the third consecutive season. Each ensuing defeat has been worse than the other.

But the Sooners remained confident they are on the right track to winning the national championship, something they haven’t done since 2000.

“I think there’s a lot of valuable lessons going throughout the season, as a defense, that we’re able to learn from, and even on offense. I know for defense that it’s time to keep climbing,” Murray said. “We took some strides this year, but it’s time to keep climbing and reach that elite status. I think it’s going to take a lot, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Sooners go down for the count

By Michael Kinney

ATLANTA– For weeks Oklahoma was told they had no chance. Facing No. 1 LSU, it seemed everyone gave the fourth-ranked Sooners no chance to topple the Tigers.

However, the Sooners said this year was going to be different. With it being the program’s fourth time making it to the College Football Playoffs, they expressed a belief that they could shock the world.

Unfortunately for OU, it was a different kind of shock that came out of Saturday’s game. Oklahoma loss 63-28 to LSU in the 2019 Peach Bowl to close out their season.

“I felt like if we played well, we would be able to stand in there and trade blows with them,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “I really did. And we did early. But when you start making mistakes, combination of that and a talented team playing well, they go on a run like they do.”

The 63 points the Sooners allowed set a new record for the Peach Bowl and the College Football Semifinals. It was also the most points the Sooners have allowed in a bowl game since giving up 55 to USC in 2005.

The offensive side was also setting low-light records for the program. Oklahoma accounted for only 322 total yards and 97 rushing yards. Both were a season-low for the No. 5 offense in the nation.

“Just talk about the missed opportunities we had, leaving money on the table, going out there and not taking advantage of every opportunity we have against teams like this,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “I mean, games like this, you’ve got to maximize it. We failed to do that.”

Three minutes into the contest LSU had scored and the Oklahoma offense looked in trouble. Throw in a special-teams gaffe and the start to the game almost couldn’t have gone any worse for the Sooners.

However, Oklahoma didn’t collapse. The defense came up with a stop to get the ball back. That set up a 51-yard pass from Hurts to CeeDee Lamb down to the three-yard line. Tailback Kennedy Brooks took it in from there on a short power run up the middle to tie the contest at 7-7.

However, the Tigers came right back and answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow was able to pick apart an OU secondary that was playing 10 yards off the LSU receivers. That was especially true for Justin Jefferson, who broke seemingly every receiving record with his 227 yards and four touchdowns on the night.

After the Sooners were unable to score on their next drive, Burrows added another touchdown pass to Jefferson that put the Tigers up 21-7 with 1:16 left in the 1st quarter.

Oklahoma found itself down another defensive starter when safety Brendan Radley-Hiles was ejected from the game on a targeting call to start the second quarter.

“He’s got to be smarter,” senior Parnell Motley said of Radley-Hiles. “He’s a great player. I hope he thought it through and what happened. I can’t fault it him because I did something like that that hurt the team. But he has to keep his head up. He’s a young dude with a bright future ahead of him.”

Burrows made the Sooners pay when he and Jefferson connected again for a touchdown to push the lead to 21 points.

From there, the game just got out of hand. The defense couldn’t slow down Burrows and his deep receiving core. He finished the first half a College Football Playoff record 403 yards and seven touchdowns. (493 yards, 7 Tds for the game).

Unfortunately for Oklahoma, Hurts was unable to match him. His deficiencies as a passer were highlighted even more against an LSU defense that was forcing him to beat them with his arm.

The Tigers led 49-14 at halftime. Both teams just played out the string in the second half.

In what may have been his last game at Oklahoma, Lamb collected four catches for 119 yards. However, he was held out of and only caught three passes after the first quarter bomb.

Hurts finished the final game of his college career completing 15 of 31 passes for 217 yards. He also rushed 14 times for 43 yards and two scores.

However, Oklahoma needed Hurts to be more than that. They needed him to match Burrow, which he was unable to do.

“You talk about how much it means to you and the team. It’s supposed to hurt. This is not a good feeling,” Hurts said. “This is a feeling I’ve never felt before. It hurts me in my heart, you know. When I decided to come to this school, I told Coach Riley, I’m going to go win you a National Championship, and I failed to do that.”

Oklahoma closes out the season with a 12-2 record for the third consecutive season. It was also the third consecutive season their year came to an end at the hands of an SEC squad.

“We’re continuing to make strides. There’s no doubt about it,” Riley said. “I mean, just putting yourself here four times in five years is — I mean, that’s so hard to do, man. I mean, it’s so hard to do. So I think we’ve made some great improvements with the program. I’m excited about where we’re heading defensively. I think we’ve just scratched the surface about how good we can get on that side. This program has championship DNA. We kind of find a way, and we’ll be back.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider