Drive Chart
ARMY
OKLA

Fifth-ranked Oklahoma braces for Army's triple-option

Way back in the spring, Oklahoma started preparing, a little at a time, for Army's triple-option offensive attack.

They did the same thing during preseason camp, before they started opponent-specific work for any other team they'll face this season.

The No. 5 Sooners (3-0) will put that preparation to the test Saturday against the Black Knights (2-1) when the teams meet in Norman, Okla.

"It's a challenge," OU coach Lincoln Riley said.

"It's one of those as a coach, you sit there and (think), all right, if we spend all this time preparing for them, then we're not preparing for the other however many games we play. And if we don't spend enough time, then they'll come in and beat you, and that's the reality of it.

"They're good enough to do it."

Army's triple-option attack is one that few college teams run, and one the Sooners haven't faced since 2010 when they played Air Force -- though Tulane used some option principles a year ago.

"Defending the triple-option is strictly assignment football," Oklahoma middle linebacker Kenneth Murray said. "If you don't do your assignment they can bust one for a touchdown. Everybody has to be honed in on their keys."

Murray's reads on the option -- especially against Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. and fullback Darnell Woolfolk -- will be important. The sophomore middle linebacker has 19 tackles over the last two games and has shown improvement from a year ago when he struggled at times, especially defending the run.

The Black Knights average just 140 yards per game through the air, among the lowest in FBS. Army has attempted an average of just 13 passes per game, but it is sixth nationally in rushing at 306.7 yards per game.

Hopkins, a 5-foot-10 junior, is in his first season as the starter, replacing standout Ahmad Bradshaw. Hopkins has a team-high 206 rushing yards and has completed 18 of 38 passes for 420 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

"He's gotten better every week he's played," said Army coach Jeff Monken, whose team beat Liberty and Hawaii after dropping its opener at Duke.

"That's encouraging. It's been fun to watch -- to see him lead and grow in his confidence. I think he is a confident young man, but to see his confidence in running this offense and being a leader of this team has been a lot of fun this week. And I hope he can continue to get better."

Oklahoma's new starting quarterback, Kyler Murray, has quickly established himself as a Heisman favorite as he steps into the shoes of 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield.

Murray is a flurry of activity at 5-foot-10, last week passing for a career-high 348 yards and three touchdowns, also rushing for 77 yards in a 37-27 win at Iowa State.

He ranks fifth nationally in yards per pass attempt (11.8), sixth in yards per completion (17.6), sixth in passing efficiency (199.8) and 11th in total offense (344.0 yards per game). Wide receiver Marquise Brown, whose big plays this season include touchdown catches of 75, 65 and 58 yards, has the kind of speed that Army rarely sees.

"Oklahoma is an unbelievable football team," Monken said.

"They are talented, well coached and very difficult to beat. They're really good. It's going to be a tremendous challenge for us. ... They've got several Parade All-Americans, and as (former Navy and current Georgia Tech coach) Paul Johnson used to say, we have several guys who have marched in a parade."

Oklahoma did lose running back Rodney Anderson to a season-ending knee injury, with sophomore Trey Sermon now the clear No. 1. Sermon rushed 13 times for 74 yards and a touchdown against Iowa State.

"I think a little bit is just seeing how he handles the whole deal, which he did a great job of in the first game against Iowa State," Riley said. "He's really close to breaking loose and making even a few more explosive plays as well. He's definitely one right now, but we're going to need more."

These teams haven't met since 1961, with Oklahoma holding a 2-1 edge in the series. Saturday's game marks the beginning of a home-and-home series, with the Sooners set to travel to West Point, N.Y., on Sept. 26, 2020.

Copyright 2018 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

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Scoring Summary
No Scoring Plays
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Army West Point 2-1 -----
5 Oklahoma 3-0 -----
0 AVG PASS YDS 0
0 AVG RUSH YDS 0
0 AVG TOTAL YDS 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
K. Hopkins Jr. 8 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
-% - - - -
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
47.4% 420 2 0 157.6
K. Hopkins Jr. 18/38 420 2 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
K. Hopkins Jr. 8 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
48 206 3
K. Hopkins Jr. 48 206 3 26
C. Slomka 25 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
26 153 2
C. Slomka 26 153 2 48
C. Holt 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
20 150 1
C. Holt 20 150 1 25
F. Cooper 1 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
16 110 0
F. Cooper 16 110 0 18
K. Walker 5 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
13 40 0
K. Walker 13 40 0 8
S. McCoy 36 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 16 0
S. McCoy 2 16 0 10
A. Hobbs IV 32 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 16 0
A. Hobbs IV 4 16 0 6
C. Thomas 4 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
C. Thomas 1 4 0 4
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
C. Harrison 88 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 92 1
C. Harrison 3 92 1 45
C. Hayes 86 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 87 1
C. Hayes 3 87 1 44
K. Walker 5 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 77 0
K. Walker 3 77 0 32
C. Holt 22 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 63 0
C. Holt 1 63 0 63
G. Coates 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 52 0
G. Coates 4 52 0 29
A. Hobbs IV 32 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 15 0
A. Hobbs IV 1 15 0 15
F. Cooper 1 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 12 0
F. Cooper 1 12 0 12
Defense T-A SACK INT
J. McClinton 7 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
- - -
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
J. McClinton 0-0 0.0 1
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
L. Salyers 1 K
IN-GAME FG XP
-/- -/-
SEASON FG XP
1/4 11/11
L. Salyers 1/4 0 11/11 14
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
Ky. Murray 1 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
-% - - - -
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
67.1% 863 8 1 199.9
Ky. Murray 49/73 863 8 1
A. Kendall 10 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
-% - - - -
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
80% 88 1 0 186.9
A. Kendall 8/10 88 1 0
T. Mordecai 15 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
-% - - - -
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 37 0 0 127.7
T. Mordecai 2/4 37 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
Ky. Murray 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
29 169 2
Ky. Murray 29 169 2 15
T. Sermon 4 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
29 156 2
T. Sermon 29 156 2 22
R. Anderson 24 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
11 119 3
R. Anderson 11 119 3 65
M. Sutton 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
18 92 2
M. Sutton 18 92 2 22
T. Pledger 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
15 84 0
T. Pledger 15 84 0 17
K. Brooks 26 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 51 1
K. Brooks 4 51 1 41
A. Kendall 10 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
- - -
SEASON ATT YDS TD
3 0 0
A. Kendall 3 0 0 12
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
M. Brown 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
19 412 3
M. Brown 19 412 3 75
C. Lamb 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
12 225 2
C. Lamb 12 225 2 45
L. Morris 84 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 73 1
L. Morris 2 73 1 65
G. Calcaterra 80 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 70 0
G. Calcaterra 6 70 0 28
A. Miller 12 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 60 2
A. Miller 5 60 2 17
M. Jones 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 37 0
M. Jones 2 37 0 33
C. Meier 45 FB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 32 0
C. Meier 1 32 0 32
J. Robinson 89 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 28 0
J. Robinson 3 28 0 11
D. Stoops 25 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 16 0
D. Stoops 2 16 0 8
M. Tease 87 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 15 1
M. Tease 2 15 1 8
M. Sutton 21 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 14 0
M. Sutton 2 14 0 11
T. Sermon 4 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 4 0
T. Sermon 2 4 0 2
N. Basquine 83 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
- - -
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 2 0
N. Basquine 1 2 0 2
Defense T-A SACK INT
P. Motley 11 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
- - -
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
P. Motley 0-0 0.0 1
R. Barnes 20 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
- - -
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
R. Barnes 0-0 0.0 1
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
A. Seibert 43 K
IN-GAME FG XP
-/- -/-
SEASON FG XP
3/4 19/19
A. Seibert 3/4 0 19/19 28
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD