NORMAN — Oklahoma senior Ben Powers was named one of eight semifinalists for the 2018 Outland Trophy on Wednesday by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and the Football Writers Association of America.
The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense.
Powers, a 6-4, 313-pound left guard from Wichita, Kan., has started all nine of his games this season for an offense that ranks first nationally in yards per game (577.1), yards per play (averaging 8.9; next highest this season is 7.8; the FBS record is 8.6 by Hawaii in 2006), yards per rush (6.83), yards per pass attempt (11.8), passing efficiency rating (205.3; OU set the FBS record last year at 202.7) and percentage of plays that go for at least 10 yards (32.3; next highest is 28.8). The Sooners also rank second nationally (first among Power Five schools) in scoring offense (49.0 ppg) and fifth in red zone offense percentage (95.5). Among Big 12 teams, they rank second by allowing just 1.3 sacks per game (leader is at 1.2).
Oklahoma is the nation’s only team this year with at least 30 rushing touchdowns (31) and at least 30 passing TDs (33), and has rushed for at least 300 yards and passed for at least 300 a school-record four times already this year, including each of the last three games. The feat had been accomplished just six times in school history entering the season.
A midseason All-American by ESPN and USA Today, Powers has not allowed a sack this season and has allowed just one pressure while registering 59 knockdowns.
The 2018 team captain has started 31 of his 34 career games, and has twice been a second-team All-Big 12 selection (2016 by the AP and 2017 by the league’s coaches). He was also an Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree last year.
The eight semifinalists will be pared to three finalists next week and announced on Nov. 20. The recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019.
2018 Outland Trophy Semifinalists
Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
Michael Deiter, G, Wisconsin
Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Quinnen Williams, NG, Alabama