Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma notes: Perine’s injury reduces RB depth, slows career record chase

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops congratulates running back Samaje Perine (#32) after a touchdown during the Big 12 college football game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Oklahoma Sooners at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. Oklahoma won the game 52-46. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)
(Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)

What appeared to be a minor muscle pull for Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine has turned into an injury that will cause the junior to miss two or perhaps three weeks.

That’s good news for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are playing host to the Sooners Saturday and Perine has rushed for 414 yards and seven touchdowns in his two games against Texas Tech, which is ninth in the Big 12 in rushing defense and allowed 332 yards rushing in Saturday’s loss to West Virginia.

Perine was sidelined in the first half of Saturday’s 38-17 victory over Kansas State. After the game, coach Bob Stoops said that Perine could have played if needed. But with the Sooners in control and sophomore Joe Mixon running well, there was no need for Perine, who apparently has a hamstring injury.

“A running back with a slight pull, we’ve just got to make sure that it heals properly,” Stoops said. “That will be here for a couple of weeks, for sure.”

And Perine’s hamstring injury leaves Oklahoma hamstrung at running back. The Sooners started the season with five scholarship running backs. Now, for the foreseeable future, OU is down to Mixon and freshman Abdul Adams. Rodney Anderson was lost for the season with a neck injury suffered in a preseason scrimmage and Daniel Brooks retired from football because of repeated concussions.

Perine and Mixon had become a productive combo. Mixon has 476 yards rushing, Perine has 475. Mixon leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage and is second in kick return yardage.  Mixon threw a 26-yard TD pass Saturday and became the first OU player to have touchdowns via rushing, receiving, passing and kickoff return in the same season.

After muffing two punts against Texas, Stoops and the offensive staff decided to replace Mixon on punt returns to reduce his work load. Mixon had a career-high 19 carries against Kansas State.

“It influences everything,” Stoops said of Perine’s injury. “Joe and Samaje together are a great team in keeping each other fresh and they’re both so reliable, you (can) really interchange plays where you don’t care which one’s in there. Obviously Joe will have more of a workload, and knowing him, he’ll like that.

“We’ll have to be smart and Coach Riley is a very bright guy in how we manage them (Mixon and Adams).”

Record run slowed

Perine entered the season on pace to become Oklahoma’s career rushing leaders, surpassing the current record holder, Billy Sims. The fact he’ll miss Saturday’s game with Texas Tech and, apparently, the following week against Kansas, will make it difficult to reach the summit this season.

Of his 3,537 rushing yards, Perine has accumulated 26 percent of those yards against Texas Tech and Kansas. He set the NCAA record for rushing yards in a game with 427 against Kansas in 2014 and last season against the Jayhawks, he gained 90 yards on 11 carries.

Perine needs 582 yards to pass Sims’ record of 4,118 yards. If he returns after the Kansas game, he’ll have four regular-season games remaining.

Short yardage

  • Oklahoma will again be without starting defensive ends Matt Dimon and Charles Walker when it plays Saturday. Dimon has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury since the first half of the Ohio State game. Walker suffered a concussion that has forced him to miss the last three games.
  • The pre-game hype video aired on the stadium scoreboard before the Kansas State game was narrated by a different voice. Former OU linebacker and hall of famer Brian Bosworth’s voice had appeared on the video for previous home games, but was absent Saturday. Bosworth was critical of the team and the coaching staff after the Sooners lost to Ohio State. Stoops declined comment. “That doesn’t need to be brought up here,” he said Monday. “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Me having an opinion on their opinion – I don’t need that here.”
  • Limiting long pass plays will be one of the major challenges for Oklahoma. Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, despite a sprained right (throwing) shoulder leads the Big 12 in passing while Jonathan Giles is the conference’s top receiver with 750 yards and nine touchdowns. And over the last four games, Oklahoma has allowed passing touchdowns of 37, 61, 64, 74, 63, 45 and 54 yards.

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