Kenney's Progress Keyed Late Run

Years down the line, when Sooner Nation looks back at OU's Big 12 Championship run and Fiesta Bowl victory in 2010-11, they'll come back to several key plays that allowed them to get there, one of which was a long third down conversion late in the game against Oklahoma State.

With just more than three minutes remaining in Bedlam and the Sooners facing a 3rd-and-12 on their own 14-yard line, quarterback Landry Jones dropped back and hit not star slot receiver Ryan Broyles and not freshman sensation Kenny Stills, but senior wide receiver Cameron Kenney on a deep slant that turned into an 86-yard touchdown, a crucial touchdown that made it 40-31 at the time.

The Sooners went on to win that game 47-41 en route to an appearance in the final Big 12 Championship game, which they ultimately won in comeback fashion over Nebraska 23-20, before defeating UConn 48-20 in the Fiesta Bowl.

But what can't be lost here is the impact Kenney had in the last three games of the season.

After catching only 14 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown in the Sooners' first 11 outings, he finished the final three games with 19 receptions for 360 yards and three touchdowns, more than doubling his production in the last three weeks.

That included six catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma State, equal as many catches for 65 yards vs. Nebraska and seven receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown in the latest game against UConn.

It's a turnaround and impact that even head coach Bob Stoops said he hasn't seen before.

"No, emerge like that? No [I haven't seen it]," Stoops said. "But I, again, I kept telling him I was just so pleased for him, just his games here down the stretch. He's just been huge."

For those that know and understand the game and the subtleties of it, the development for him was nothing less than obvious.

"It just finally clicked for him, you know, the confidence," Stoops said. "And that's a big thing, confidence and understanding to run your routes. Instead of running them like you think, you know, just in a way that you know it's going to work, you know, and decisive and you play faster that way."

To use an accurate metaphor, it was like watching clockwork.

"It's like I was watching him on his late in the game, a little slant and go and he just hit it perfectly, isolated on him and took a stutter step or two, gave him a foot inside and he was clean," Stoops said. "You know, got outside and then it's just fun to watch. You can tell that that's a guy that now really gets it."

Kenney just credited it to those around him.

"Coach put us in a great position," Kenney said after his breakout Fiesta Bowl performance. "Like I said, play calls were excellent. Landry just continues to get better and better. He is having the confidence in us to make the plays whenever we need them on crucial downs. Just a good opportunity for us to go out there and execute them when we need to.

"Like I said, Landry has given us an opportunity to come together as an offense. And everyone has a lot of confidence in him. I would have to give it all to him and the O-line and the coaches getting us prepared. It is not just me being out there. It is them having confidence in me to come in on crucial downs and make the plays whenever I get those opportunities. And just never give up on anything you have the opportunity to do whenever you get your chance. Just go at it."

And that pretty much sums it up.

It's just too bad Kenney doesn't have a couple more years to progress as a player, since he's only been in the OU system for two years.

"Yeah, he is [like a sophomore]," Stoops said. "Exactly. And that's the truth. It is sad he doesn't have more time because it's finally clicked for him in the last few weeks."

At least it did, though.

Otherwise, the Sooners may not have gotten where they did.

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