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Kyler Murray Named Heisman Finalist

NORMAN — Quarterback Kyler Murray, who leads the country in total offense, points responsible for, passing efficiency rating and yards per pass attempt, took a sizable step toward realizing a childhood dream when he was named a finalist for the 2018 Heisman Trophy on Monday evening.

Joining Murray on the list of finalists who will be in New York for this weekend’s Heisman Trophy festivities are Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The winner will be announced Saturday during a 7 p.m. CT ceremony at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square that will air live on ESPN.

Murray’s finalist selection marks OU’s 10th such honor since Heisman finalists were first named in 1982, most nationally. OU has also produced a nation-leading nine Heisman finalists since 2000, which is three more than the school with the next most during the span (Alabama has six).

Also, the Sooners are the only program to ever produce four Heisman finalists in a three-year span.

OU’s other Heisman finalists were linebacker Brian Bosworth (1986), quarterback Josh Heupel (2000), quarterback Jason White (2003 and 2004), running back Adrian Peterson (2004), quarterback Sam Bradford (2008), wide receiver Dede Westbrook (2016) and quarterback Baker Mayfield (2016 and ’17).

Murray, who is also a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Manning Award, leads the nation in total yards (school-record 4,945), points responsible for (306), passing efficiency rating (205.7; FBS record is 198.9), yards per pass attempt (11.9; FBS record is 11.1) and yards per completion (16.8, tied). He also ranks second in completion percentage (.709; first among Power Five players).

The Allen, Texas, product has completed 241 of 340 passes this year for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He has also rushed for 892 yards and another 11 scores. He needs 108 rushing yards to become just the second player in FBS history to throw for at least 4,000 and run for at least 1,000 in a season (Clemson’s DeShaun Watson did it in 2015 with 4,109 passing and 1,105 rushing in 15 games).

Murray has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 12 of 13 games this season, and has thrown at least three TD passes in 10 contests. He had his school- and Big 12-record streak of eight games with at least three TD passes snapped in a win against Oklahoma State on Nov. 10.

Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winners were running backs Billy Vessels in 1952, Steve Owens in 1969 and Billy Sims in 1978, and White in 2003, Bradford in 2008 and Mayfield last year. Only two schools (Notre Dame and Ohio State with seven each) have produced more Heisman Trophy winners than the Sooners. The next most is three (by six schools).

No school has ever produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners who were quarterbacks.

No. 4-ranked OU, which behind Murray leads the nation in points per game (49.5), yards per game (577.9) and yards per play (8.7; FBS record is 8.6), will make its 52nd bowl appearance when it takes on No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN.

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