NORMAN — Recognized for his consistently extraordinary play throughout the 2018 season, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was named one of three finalists Monday for both the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.
Murray joins Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as a finalist for both awards, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew as a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award.
The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the nation’s top player, while the Davey O’Brien Award goes to the nation’s top quarterback.
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield won both awards last season before winning the program’s sixth Heisman Trophy. Other Sooners to win the Maxwell Award are quarterback Jason White in 2004 and halfback Tommy McDonald in 1956. OU quarterback Sam Bradford in 2008 and White in 2003 and ’04 also won the Davey O’Brien Award.
A redshirt junior, Murray ranks second nationally in passing efficiency rating (205.8; the NCAA single-season record of 198.9 was set by Mayfield last year), yards per pass attempt (11.9), yards per completion (16.9) and points responsible for per game (24.0; first among Power Five players), third in total offense per game (368.1 yards), fifth in passing touchdowns per game (3.1) and sixth in completion percentage (.703).
No FBS player has ever averaged at least 300.0 passing yards and at least 60.0 rushing yards per game for an entire season (minimum 75 percent of team’s games played), but Murray is averaging 300.9 and 67.2. He has also accounted for 44 touchdowns (34 passing, 10 rushing).
The Allen, Texas product has thrown at least two touchdown passes in all but one game this year, and has thrown at least three TD passes in eight of 11 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 two weeks ago.
At Texas Tech on Nov. 3, Murray became the first player in OU history to throw for at least 300 yards (360) and rush for at least 100 yards (100) in a game. He has surpassed 300 passing yards seven times this season.
Only nine times since the start of the Big 12 Conference in 1996 has a Sooner thrown for at least 300 yards and rushed for at least 65 in a game, and Murray has done it on five occasions this year. He passed for 306 yards and ran for 69 against UCLA, threw for 348 and rushed for 77 at Iowa State, and went for 304 and 92 against Texas, a career-high 360 and 100 at Texas Tech, and 349 and 66 against Oklahoma State.
In OU’s 66-33 win over Baylor, Murray finished 17 for 21 for 432 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 45 rushing yards and a score. His 348.0 passing efficiency rating set school and Big 12 records (as did his 20.6 yards per pass attempt and 25.4 yards per completion), and was the highest in the FBS since at least 1996.
Murray, who was named the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week on Sept. 13 (OU beat UCLA 49-21) and the Maxwell Award Player of the Week on Sept. 19 (OU won 37-27 at Iowa State), engineers an Oklahoma offense that averages an FBS-best 0.73 points per offensive play and 3.87 points per offensive possession this season. The Sooners lead the country with their 6.9 yards per rush (Murray averages 7.1) and rank second nationally by averaging 11.4 yards per pass attempt (Murray averages 11.9).
OU is the nation’s only team this year with at least 30 rushing touchdowns (36) and at least 30 passing TDs (35). It has scored at least 45 points in each of the last seven games, tied for the longest streak in school history (also in 2008).
The 2018 Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award winners will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 6. The show, to be held in Atlanta, will air on ESPN.
Voting for the Maxwell Award will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and close on Sunday Dec. 2. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and select national media.
The Davey O’Brien fan vote at VoteOBrien.org will reopen today (Nov. 19) and remain open until 5 p.m. CT on Dec. 2. Fans are invited to cast their vote as often as once daily per email address.
No. 6 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) plays at No. 12 West Virginia (9-2, 6-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN.