Chasing History

As the Sooners move further into conference play, running back DeMarco Murray continues to move into a league of his own.

With just two more touchdowns, he will tie the OU record set by former Sooner great and Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens back in 1969 for the most all-purpose touchdowns.

Murray currently sits at 55 after his latest two touchdowns against Texas and stands to shatter the mark of 57 if he can get three more.

"You know, just kind of breathtaking, you know, just to be mentioned in the same categories as those former players," Murray said. "And I know what they've done here in the past and the tradition that they left here, and, I mean, it's just unbelievable and just loss of words. I have no [words]. I don't know, it's just crazy."

Yes, it is, considering Murray has only 607 carries for 3,022 yards in 41 games compared to Owens' 958 carries and 4,041 yards in 32 career contests.

Break it down further and Murray is averaging less than 15 carries per contest during his career compared to Owens' near 30 per game.

And sometimes it was more than that for Owens.

"Yeah, I can't do that," Murray said. "Fifty-five, that's a lot."

But where Murray makes it up is in the receiving game.

"A lot of his touchdowns have come, he's got a lot more passing mix than some of those guys back in the years back of all the running and the wishbone days," said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

In fact, throughout his career, he's managed to rack up more than 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns on 106 receptions, and he even recorded a pair of kickoff returns for scores back in 2007.

So, he's truly been a threat all over the field.

"Yeah, he's been very consistent and an excellent player for us for a long period of time here," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "Obviously when you look at breaking that record with all the great players we've had here and great running backs and, you know, but DeMarco has consistently been a great worker, you know, a big play guy for us and, you know, has had a lot of success."

Even with that, though, Murray's role has changed from more of a home run threat early in his career somewhat to that of a power runner at times now.

"I think my freshman year I didn't get a lot of carries, so I was always trying to hit the home run," Murray said. "And as I got older I started to play a little bit more, so those runs weren't in me as much. You know, I wasn't trying to hit the home runs. I was being patient with them."

Murray's physicality is something Stoops said he's been aware of for awhile now.

"I believe he's always been a physical runner and I've talked about that," Stoops said. You guys go back, and you know I've talked about that before. He's always been more physical maybe than people realized."

But that doesn't take away from the name of the game, and that's exploding those short runs into long ones.

"Well, we'd still like to have some of those 60 and 70 yard runs," Stoops said. "And again I think it gets down to some assistance with whether it be better seams or downfield blocking or, you know, in all cases there's something sometimes that leads to those big runs, but he's still very capable of them. He still has excellent speed and, you know, quickness."

As for the record, this weekend's home matchup against Iowa State will give the back currently with the second most all-purpose TDs in school history a chance to break the mark at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with more than 85,000 in attendance.

"A lot," Murray said when asked how much more special that would make it. "I don't pay attention to records. I don't know where I'm at or when I'm going to do it, what not, but I mean, it would be great to do it here."

Quarterback Landry Jones even made a joke about what they would do to ensure he gets the record at home.

"Yeah, we're just going to hand it off to DeMarco every play," Jones said.

In all seriousness, though, players said it will be a great honor to be a part of that accomplishment.

"It would be good," said offensive guard Stephen Good. "I could always say, ‘You know, I blocked for a guy who has the most touchdowns at OU. You know, I was a part of that. I helped that guy out.' You know, so it's kind of a big deal."

And that's even more incentive to get the job done.

"Yeah, I mean as an offensive line, knowing that, I mean, we're just going to want to come out and block that much harder for him and get him those touchdowns just so he can kind of go in the record books because he's an incredible back," said center Ben Habern. "And he's one of the best backs in Oklahoma history, so for us, I mean, we want to get him that award."

Whether or not he sets the record at home or on the road or this week or the next or after that, Murray's formed a legacy, one that he hopes is more than just a number.

"Just someone who made a lot of plays, someone [who's] a hard working guy who cares for others and puts the team, you know, before himself, and that's pretty much it," Murray said. "You know, I work hard, and, you know, I've been through a lot and, you know, it's only made me a stronger person, so I mean, I love this university. I love being here. I love playing, you know, for Coach Stoops and just an honor."

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