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OU football notebook: Trey Sermon earns Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, plus what Lincoln Riley said on the Big 12 teleconference

September 25, 2017 GMT

Trey Sermon named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week

When the Oklahoma Sooners needed a playmaker to emerge Saturday at Baylor, they relied on a true freshman. Now that freshman is reaping some rewards.

Running back Trey Sermon was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week on Monday, continuing OU’s streak of having one player honored in Big 12 weekly awards after every game so far.

Sermon ran 12 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns in OU’s 49-41 victory, and all his work came in the fourth quarter.

“I just stay locked in the game because you never know when your time is ready,” Sermon said after the game.

Sermon is averaging 6.6 yards per carry and 70.8 rushing yards per game this season.

So far this year, Baker Mayfield has twice been named the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Week, and receiver Marquise Brown was Newcomer of the Week after OU’s victory against Tulane.

No injury update

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley didn’t have an update on his team’s health on Monday morning’s Big 12 teleconference.

The Sooners lost linebacker Curtis Bolton and cornerback Jordan Thomas in the Baylor game, adding to a list of injuries that includes safeties Will Johnson and Robert Barnes, defensive lineman Matt Romar and offensive lineman Cody Ford.

OU is hoping its bye this week will help the team get healthy.

“We’re going to evaluate some guys here today and probably have something here later in the week,” Riley said.

No sleep ’till Arlington

After this week’s bye, Oklahoma will play eight consecutive weeks of football against Big 12 opponents.

The undefeated Sooners are trying to reach the Big 12 title game on Dec. 2 at AT&T Stadium, and if they do, make it nine straight weeks of games.

“I do think it is a positive,” Riley said. “I think it evens the playing field. And I think this is a positive time, I know at least for our team, it’s a positive time for a bye week right now. We’ve got that first Big 12 under our belt and a difficult non-conference schedule. So it’s a chance to regroup and get some guys back healthy, but then it makes the Big 12 season challenging.

“You’re going to play good teams each week. You’re going to have have people get hurt or get banged up, and then you’re going to have to rely on your depth and other guys are going to have to step up. And that’s part of the definition of having a great team. I think it’s positive, and I’m excited about that and having the championship game back.”

What went wrong on defense?

Before the Baylor game, the OU secondary had yet to allow a passing touchdown and held its first three opponents to a combined 331 passing yards.

But not only did the Sooners allow a first quarter passing touchdown — OU went on to surrender four scores through the air and 463 passing yards from Baylor quarterback Zach Smith.

Looking back on the tape, what went wrong?

“There were definitely some common factors,” Riley said. “There was a couple that they just made. A couple that their quarterback and receivers just made either just an outstanding throw or just a couple outstanding individual plays by receivers that were pretty well-defended. But we had several throughout the night that our eyes got in the wrong place or we came off our man trying to make a play.

“Several that were self-inflicted, where we at least have had a much better chance to be there and a chance to make to play ourselves. We’ve got to grow from that. We’ve got to want to make plays, but we’ve got to do it within the context of what we’ve got going schematically.”

Worth noting

OU’s next game is Oct. 7 against Iowa State in Norman. Monday, the Big 12 announced the game will kick off at 11 a.m. and be broadcast on FOX.