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OU football: Sooners abandoned the run vs. Kansas State and it proved costly

NORMAN — The question was simple.

“Do you wish you’d gotten them the ball more?” one of the many reporters crowded in the small room asked, bringing up Oklahoma’s tailback combination of Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon.

“Yeah,” Riley said succinctly. “It’s definitely — you know it got tough there at the end of the game just with the scenario of having to score a bunch and in a short amount of time, so that obviously was a factor. But yeah, we didn’t run the ball the way that we’re accustomed to running it from the tailback position.”

Brooks and Sermon combined for just six carries — three each — in Saturday’s stunning 48-41 loss to Kansas State. The pair combined for just 11 yards.

And while certainly the way the game played out in the second half dictated that the Sooners try to push the ball through the air to close the gap quickly, it wasn’t until the Wildcats extended their lead to 18 with 5:34 to play in the third quarter that Oklahoma really was forced to abandon the run.

But they’d done it much earlier when it came to the running backs.

The only second-half carry by either tailback came on Oklahoma’s first offensive play of the second half, when Brooks gained 5 yards.

This for a group of tailbacks — those two plus Rhamondre Stevenson — that came into the game averaging nearly 8.5 yards per carry.

The six combined carries were the fewest for Oklahoma tailbacks since at least the start of the 1999 season — and likely for much, much longer.

In the 1999 loss to Notre Dame, Sooner tailbacks had just 12 carries as Oklahoma had just 14 rushing attempts total — the fewest in school history.

Since Lincoln Riley’s arrival as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator before the 2015 season, OU tailbacks have totaled fewer than 20 carries only five times.

Two of those have come this season though.

For Brooks, it was tied for the fewest carries he’d gotten in a game during his career. He’d never finished with less than 21 yards rushing. Saturday he had two yards.

Sermon had a couple other games with little production but had only had three other games with three or fewer carries before the loss to Kansas State.

While Jalen Hurts’ running ability certainly takes away carries from Brooks and Sermon, those two have also been able to take care of the ball more effectively.

Brooks has fumbled only once in 167 carries at Oklahoma. Sermon has fumbled just twice in 338 career carries, only one being recovered by the opponent.

Hurts has fumbles three times in 103 carries this season, losing two. Saturday, he fumbled on the game’s first drive, though offensive lineman Tyrese Robinson recovered it.

“They game-planned very well against us,” center Creed Humphrey said. “They did some things that we weren’t really prepared for. I think on our part we could have done some things. We could have adjusted better than we did.”

******************************************

Iowa State at No. 10 OU

When: TBA, Saturday, Nov. 9

Where: Owen Field

TV: TBA

Radio: KRXO-FM 107.7

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon had only three carries during Saturday's 48-41 loss at Kansas State. Sermon and fellow back Kennedy Brooks combined for just six carries and 11 yards rushing. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel]</strong>

Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon had only three carries during Saturday's 48-41 loss at Kansas State. Sermon and fellow back Kennedy Brooks combined for just six carries and 11 yards rushing. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f2a55c799f4ee7c02b14613cdf4c25a7.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon had only three carries during Saturday's 48-41 loss at Kansas State. Sermon and fellow back Kennedy Brooks combined for just six carries and 11 yards rushing. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel] " title=" Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon had only three carries during Saturday's 48-41 loss at Kansas State. Sermon and fellow back Kennedy Brooks combined for just six carries and 11 yards rushing. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel] "><figcaption> Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon had only three carries during Saturday's 48-41 loss at Kansas State. Sermon and fellow back Kennedy Brooks combined for just six carries and 11 yards rushing. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel] </figcaption></figure>
Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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