Back in the lineup
Caleb Kelly returned to the starting lineup as an outside linebacker Saturday during Oklahoma’s 48-47 victory over Oklahoma State in Norman.
Kelly said the decision to move on from a seven-game experiment at inside linebacker was made on Monday, and defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill said the change is permanent.
“It comes to a point where we went to Caleb — and Caleb’s a team player — and we said, ‘Caleb, we need you on the field here.’ So it wasn’t like we had to twist his arm. He was ready to go,” McNeill said.
Kelly said he was happy with the move.
“Yeah, I get to play football,” he said. “I’m not going to be mad about that.”
Kelly finished with a season-high seven tackles.
Defensive end Jalen Redmond and center Alex Dalton have been lost to season-ending injuries, OU coach Lincoln Riley announced after the Bedlam victory.
Redmond had an issue with blood clots and was expected to miss 2018 before playing in three games leading up to the Oklahoma State game. Riley was sensitive to his player’s privacy but said there has been a recurrence of his past issue and, while the outlook is “really, really good,” Redmond will miss the rest of the season.
“He was telling me on Monday,” Kelly said. “He said, ‘It came back,’ and I told him we would continue to pray for him. He beat it once; he would beat it again.”
Dalton suffered a torn ACL Tuesday during practice. It’s the third knee injury of his career.
“We’ve had a couple of those the last few weeks, just some gut-wrenching injuries that have, I don’t want to say they’ve damaged the psyche of this team, but I mean, you’re talking about some of those most beloved figures on this team,” Riley said, “and to see some of that happen in the manner it has been, our guys have had to fight through it a little bit.”
With Jonathan Alvarez retired from football after injuries, Dalton was the backup center behind Creed Humphrey.
Who is the backup center now?
“That’s a good question,” Riley said.
Oklahoma had 702 offensive yards (353 passing, 349 rushing) and topped the 700-yard mark for the second time this season. The Sooners also had 702 yards at Kansas State.
It was the 12th time that OU has gained at least 700 yards in a game, with half of those occurring after Riley began calling plays in 2015.
Oklahoma also rushed for 300 yards and passed for 300 yards for the third consecutive week and for the fourth time this season.
Kicker Austin Seibert set the Oklahoma and Big 12 scoring record Saturday.
The senior finished the game with 12 points — two field goals, six extra points — and currently has 458 career points. He topped his predecessor, fMichael Hunnicutt, who finished with 450 points. He also moved above former Big 12 record-holders Aaron Jones (Baylor, 2010-13) and Jaden Oberkrom (TCU, 2010-13).
The NCAA kick scoring record is 494 points by Arizona State’s Zan Gonzalez (2013-16).
The Sooners will celebrate Senior Day with next Saturday’s home game against Kansas. A start time had yet to be announced as of Saturday night.
— Eric Bailey, Tulsa World