Oklahoma football: Marquise Brown’s extra gear is Sooners’ secret weapon

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 28: Wide receiver Marquise Brown
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 28: Wide receiver Marquise Brown /

The player newly nicknamed “Hollywood” is quickly making another name for himself as an offensive weapon Oklahoma football opponents need to make sure they account for.

Marquise Brown is not big of stature, but his electrifying performance on the field the past several weeks has been nothing short of big time and a big reason the Sooners are 8-1 and tied with TCU atop the Big 12 standings.

The junior-college transfer picked a big stage (a national television audience and a rivalry game against a ranked opponent) for his biggest performance of the season last weekend in Oklahoma’s 62-52 win over rival Oklahoma State. Brown was a giant contributor to that victory, catching 10 Baker Mayfield passes for a school record 265 yards and two long-distance touchdown receptions.

Biletnikoff Award-winner Dede Westbrook held the previous record, set just a year ago (232 yards against Texas),

Brown put up good numbers in high school and in his freshman season last year at College of the Canyons in California. USC extended him a scholarship off out of high school, but later pulled the offer after growing increasingly concerned about his size.

At 5-feet, 11-inches and just 162 pounds, the Sooner newcomer is quickly dispelling any doubts about his ability to play big among the big boys at the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) level.

At his weekly press conference this week, OU head coach Lincoln Riley quipped that his big-play wide receiver weighs about half of how many yards he had the other day.”

Over the past four games, Brown has become a primary receiving target for Mayfield when he is on the field. In his last four games, the sophomore wide receiver has caught 24 passes for 513 yards, including three for touchdowns, compared to 14 receptions for 230 yards and one touchdown in his first four games this season.

His open-field speed quickly caught the attention of viewers in the win over Oklahoma State. In touchdown catches of 84 and 77 yards last weekend, Brown turned on the jets after the catch and ran right by the Oklahoma State defenders on his way to the end zone.

Mayfield believes Brown might be a step faster than the speedy Westbrook. “I think we saw somewhat what Dede could do last year with that speed that he had, but I think Marquise is even faster,” the Oklahoma quarterback and team later told a reporter from the Associated Press this week.

“I love Dede, but Marquise, he’s got another gear. For teams to have to game plan on that, it’s tricky, because you can’t really leave him on an island because he’s going to outrun you. It’s a complete difference maker.”

With 63 percent of his receptions and 69 percent of his receiving yards coming in the last four games, Brown has jumped to the top of the list among the Sooner receivers this season. He is averaging 92.9 yards receiving per game and 19.6 yards per game.

The combination of Brown’s explosive speed and the nation’s most efficient ball distributor in Baker Mayfield makes for a quick-strike offensive weapon that means that opposing defenses must cover the entire field and that the Sooners are never out of a game.