Posted By BrokenClaw on November 25, 2007
Yesterday Sam Bradford, the Oklahoma freshman quarterback, threw four touchdown passes against the in-state rival Oklahoma State Cowboys enroute to a decisive 49-17 victory. The victory gave the Sooners the outright division championship of the Big 12 South and bragging rights in the state for another year.
The four touchdown passes brought Bradford’s total to 32 for the season. And that, my friends, is an NCAA freshman record. Yes, I know it’s just a freshman record, and nowhere near the all-time records of 61 thrown by Brett Elliot at Linfield College or 58 by Colt Brennan at Hawaii, but the fact that a quarterback at Oklahoma holds any kind of passing record is rather amazing in itself.
Over the last nine seasons Coach Bob Stoops has certainly changed the look of the Oklahoma offense, and the quarterback’s passing skills are among the major factors. Compare that to the years when I was a student there, when Thomas Lott’s passing stats were often something like: 5 attempts, 3 completions, 62 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions. In fact, there were games when Barry Switzer’s Sooners attempted no passes the entire game! It’s true, you can look it up. That’s not a knock, that’s a praise. But times have changed.
I remember watching a replay of an Oklahoma game from the 1970s on ESPN Classic. The Sooners had a drive of about 70 yards, where they ran the same option play, either right or left, for 9 straight plays until they scored a touchdown. The Sooners didn’t pass because they didn’t have to.
In 1999, Bob Stoops’s first season as coach, Josh Heupel set the new standard for Oklahoma quarterbacks. That season he broke the Oklahoma all-time record with 33 touchdown passes. He threw 20 more touchdowns the next year in leading the Sooners to the 2000 National Championship. In 2003, Jason White threw 40 touchdown passes in his Heisman Trophy year, before finishing his career with an Oklahoma record of 79.
There are no guarantees in sports, and quarterbacks are probably more vulnerable than other players, but Sam Bradford’s future at Oklahoma sure looks bright.