Jalen Hurts, who transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma for his senior season, made a strong debut in front of the 84,000 fans in attendance. The No. 4 Sooners beat the unranked Houston Cougars 49-31 on Sunday, with Hurts playing particularly well. So well, in fact, that he set new career-highs in offensive yards and touchdowns.
When Oklahoma was done with the spanking they gave to Houston, Hurts emerged as an early favorite to win the Heisman. Houston was unable to contain the new transfer, as he torched them through the air and on the ground. His final numbers Sunday included 332 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 176 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. The 508 total offensive yards produced by Hurts was a career-high for the Heisman hopeful.
Hurts joined Johnny Manziel as the only other player in the past 15 years to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and run for 150 yards and three touchdowns in the same game. Since being replaced by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama, Hurts has been openly hungry for this opportunity to shine.
“I’m back where I’m supposed to be,” Hurts said after the game.
If 508 total yards and six total touchdowns is where he’s supposed to be every week, expect Hurts to join the prominent club of Oklahoma quarterbacks to win the Heisman. The university has produced two straight Heisman winners: quarterback Kyler Murray in 2018 and quarterback Baker Mayfield in 2017.
Hurts looks to join that list and give Oklahoma bragging rights for a Heisman three-peat. Mayfield has enjoyed early success in the NFL, with him becoming the quarterback of the future for the Cleveland Browns. Murray is entering his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has already expressed his desire to cement Murray as the future franchise quarterback of the Cardinals, with Murray being named the starter right away.
If Hurts is to follow in their footsteps, continuing his dominance at Oklahoma will put him on that track. The brilliant coaching and offensive schemes at the program have produced smart quarterbacks that are capable of being a dual threat. Hurts is poised to carry that new tradition.