Kennedy Brooks had a memorable return to Tarrant County on Saturday.
The Oklahoma running back had the best game of his young career, rushing for 168 yards and one touchdown in a 52-27 victory over TCU.
“I was really proud of Kenny Brooks,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “He continues to grow and mature and you see some of the explosion he has when he’s on the field. It seems like every other touch with him is a big play and that’s kind of how he is in practice too.”
Brooks, a redshirt freshman who had a standout career at Mansfield, is seeing his playing time increase as the season progresses and the Sooners continue to find ways to replace what they lost when Rodney Anderson went down with an injury.
Brooks had a career-highs in carries (18) and yards (168) against a TCU defense that was the Big 12’s best going into it. Brooks hadn’t had more than eight carries before Saturday’s game.
But it was Brooks who set the tone early on for the Sooners. On a fourth-and-1 from the TCU 21, Brooks scored a touchdown. That was one of three fourth-down conversions made by OU in the first half.
Behind Brooks and Trey Sermon (17 carries for 111 yards), the Sooners established a formidable rushing attack all day. That, in turn, made it easier for receivers to find openings in TCU’s secondary.
“The game comes a lot easier when [the running backs] are playing well,” OU receiver CeeDee Lamb said. “It takes the stress off us.”
It’s nothing new for Brooks. This is a guy who rushed for 2,865 yards and 40 touchdowns in 11 games his senior season for Mansfield, earning Star-Telegram offensive player of the year honors in 2016.
Brooks finished his high school career with 7,658 yards and 96 touchdowns on 885 carries (8.7 yards per rush). Now he’s fitting the mold as a prototypical OU running back.
“They have some physical running backs; Oklahoma always does,” TCU linebacker Ty Summers said. “They’re not guys that we can’t tackle; we can, and we can do better at it, but they ran hard and gave us their best.”