As if it needed any additional motivation, Alabama now has another reason to take it out on Oklahoma football when the two teams square off in one of the College Playoff semifinal games on Dec. 29.
Earlier this month, OU quarterback Kyler Murray beat out Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama for the 2018 Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious individual prize in college football, and on Tuesday the administrators of the Joe Moore Award showed up on the Oklahoma main campus in Norman to announce that the Sooners’ offensive line has been voted the best in college football this season.
Oklahoma beat out the offensive lines from Alabama and Georgia and is the fourth recipient of the Joe Moore Award. This is the first time the Sooners have won the award. Previous winners have been Alabama (2015), Iowa (2016) and Notre Dame last season.
The Joe Moore Award is the largest trophy in college football. The award stands nearly seven feet tall and weighs more than 800 pounds and will reside at Oklahoma until the 2019 winner is announced.
The Sooner offensive line, which this season consisted of starters Bobby Evans and Cody Ford at the tackles, Dru Samia and Ben Powers at the two guard spots and Creed Humphrey at center. Powers and Samia are the only seniors, Evans and Ford are juniors and Humphrey is a true freshman.
The guys upfront on the OU offensive line anchored the country’s No. 1 offense, averaging 49.5 points and 578 yards per game. The Sooners are averaging a nation-best 8.7 yards per play this season, which would break the previous NCAA record of 8.6 yards set by Hawaii in 2006. The Sooner offensive line deserves as much credit for that performance as anyone else on the offensive unit.
Oklahoma is the only team in the country this season with at least 40 rushing touchdowns and 40 passing touchdowns.
“In an unprecedentedly close vote, Oklahoma’s offensive line narrowly edged out Alabama and Georgia in what many voters thought was their toughest decision yet,” said Aaron Taylor, a CBS college football analyst and co-founder of the Joe Moore Award, in a press released issued by the award administrators.
“All three finalists displayed the award criteria in impressive fashion,” said Cole Cubelic, chairman of the voting committee, “but Oklahoma made a statement with how consistently they finished and played through the echo of the whistle.”
Also deserving credit for OU’s outstanding offensive line play this season, and for the last several seasons, is Bill Bedenbaugh, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. This is Bedenbaugh’s sixth season on the Sooners’ coaching staff. He was named one of Rivals.com’s top 25 recruiters in 2018 and 2018 and was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2017, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.