MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Kyler Murray walked down a Hard Rock Stadium corridor like his feet were killing him. They probably were since he’d just spent the past four hours running from Alabama defenders.
His white uniform was stained with grass and blood. He had a small welt under his left eye. He looked like most quarterbacks do after playing the Crimson Tide.
Oklahoma’s quarterback had more success than most — he finished the Orange Bowl with 308 yards passing, 109 more rushing while accounting for three touchdowns. He didn’t, however, get what he came for.
The fact the Sooners lost 45-34 hurt him a lot more than Alabama did.
“I don’t know. I wanted to win the national championship,” Murray said. “I mean, I know it was a great season and we’ve got a lot to be proud about. But coming up short wasn’t the goal.”
It was difficult coming to grips with that, with the 28-0 hole OU fell into (“Early there were jitters, hadn’t played in a month. I don’t know, I wish I could tell why we played… Didn’t play bad we just didn’t execute the first quarter.”) or the fact Marquise Brown wasn’t fit (“It’s unfortunate for him. It’s a big game. He wanted to be part of it so bad. For him not be healthy just sucks.”)
Murray spoke highly of Alabama.
“It shouldn’t have been any other way but against them,” he said. “To be the best you’ve got to beat the best. I wanted to play them, let’s put it that way.”
He spoke highly of Tua Tagovailoa, the opposing quarterback he got to know at the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and who got the better of him here.
“He’s a great dude,” Murray said. “You’ve gotta respect good quarterback play… He plays the position well. He’s got my respect for sure on and off the field.”
He spoke regrettably about the end of his run in Norman.
“That’s the part that hurts the most,” Murray said. “Spending the last couple years here, this place has been home to me. I’ve loved every part of it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Murray leaves this career behind and begins plans for a new one, whether in baseball or football or both.
“I really haven’t even thought about it right now,” he said when asked if it’s time to consider the NFL. “Sorry about that.”
He really didn’t have anything to apologize for. Not about any indecision over his career, or about anything he did or didn’t do on this night.
“Most teams in the whole damn country would have given up against a team like that. As you saw we continued to fight,” Murray said. “Pretty damn close to winning the game. I couldn’t ask for much more from my teammates.”
They couldn’t ask any more from him.