WVU provided launching pad for Samaje Perine

Perine emerged as an elite running back after last year's game against Mountaineers

Before Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine even put on a uniform for the Sooners, the rumors were flying about his weight-lifting ability and his work ethic.

He muddled through the first three games, stuck behind Alex Ross and Keith Ford on the depth chart. Perine never had more than 80 yards in a single game and had just one touchdown in the non-conference season.

When Ford went down this an injury, Perine had a chance to prove what he could be. He became Oklahoma’s workhorse back with a 242-yard, four-touchdown performance against West Virginia to open Big 12 Conference play.

“That's when you really first saw it to that extent,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

From that point on, Perine scored a touchdown in seven of Oklahoma’s final eight regular-season games. Except for the Sooners’ loss to Baylor, Perine never had fewer than 17 carries.

He closed the season with four-straight, 100-yard games.

It started last year against West Virginia.

“We saw the fight and how much he wanted it and how much he wanted to do for the team as well,” Oklahoma guard Nila Kasitati said. “Even after the game, and the amazing game that he had that day, he wasn’t one to talk a lot. He was all about the team. He showed us he had a great attitude.”


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories