Roundtable: Who was the MVP of the season opener?
There was no shortage of remarkable play in the Cougars upset victory of then-No. 3 University of Oklahoma. With all of the big plays that were made, it can be hard to pick who performed the best.
Here are The Cougar sports staff’s picks for most valuable player of the OU game:
Assistant sports editor Jonathan Valadez
There are many players who deserve to be MVP for the University of Oklahoma game.
Senior cornerback Brandon Wilson’s all-around play was phenomenal. Senior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. did something that he’s only done three times before: throw for over 300 yards.
Even freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver lived up to the hype by grabbing two sacks and getting after OU quarterback Baker Mayfield.
With that being said, I think it needs to go to the unsung hero of the day — senior kicker Ty Cummings.
Head coach Tom Herman has said on numerous occasions that he hates attempting field goals; he would rather go for it and take the risk of turning the ball over. However, going against the No. 3 team in the country, he knew that his team needed points in any way.
On four separate occasions, Cummings’ name was called and he delivered every time. Herman said that after the game, Cummings told him that in the 10 games he played last season, he only attempted eight field goals. All of them were successful.
For his career, Cummings is a perfect 12-of-12 on field goals and 55-of-55 on extra-point attempts.
A guy who hardly gets his name called because of Herman’s aggressive style of play is asked to kick four field goals and three extra points in one of the biggest games in the program’s history. He then proceeded to handle the pressure flawlessly.
It’s also worth noting that he was the leading scorer for the Cougars. Cummings accounted for 15 total points while Ward was responsible for just 12.
For this, I think that Cummings is the MVP of the game.
Sports editor Reagan Earnst
In my mind, senior cornerback Brandon Wilson was the obvious pick for MVP.
Wilson played defense, offense and special teams last year, but you can tell he has settled into his defensive and special teams duties. Although he struggled with two kickoff returns early in the game, Wilson more than atoned for his errors.
In the middle of the third quarter, he made one of the most remarkable plays in college football history. Fielding a missed 54-yard field goal try by OU, Wilson returned the kick for 109 yards and a touchdown. The play is easily one of the longest plays in NCAA history and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
The returned missed field goal was the sixth different types of touchdown Wilson has scored in his collegiate career, a feat that many can’t match. Although his monumental “kick six” is more memorable, Wilson contributed far more than that.
The senior was a force on defense all afternoon en route to record 10 total tackles, one of which was for a loss and a deflected pass.
If Wilson can improve his decision making on kick returns, expect him to be one of the top all-around players in college football this season.
Senior staff writer Mervin Wright
My MVP for the OU game is junior wide receiver Steven Dunbar.
Dunbar recorded seven receptions for 125 yards. Even though he never reached the end zone on Saturday, he always found a way to get open on key third downs when quarterback Greg Ward Jr. was looking for someone downfield.
Of Dunbar’s seven receptions, four were on third down. After Dunbar’s third-down receptions, the Cougars marched down the field and scored.
Although, it won’t show up in any box score or on any stat sheet, Dunbar was always where Ward needed him to be. Whenever the pocket was collapsing and Ward had to get rid of the ball, Dunbar got open for a catch.
In other times that Ward was pressured, he could simply throw it up somewhere in Dunbar’s general area and the junior wide out reeled it in.
No, he wasn’t the fastest receiver on the field on Saturday, but he was always a surefire target if the ball was within reach. Even when Ward was rushed and had to launch a pass downfield, Dunbar gave his all to get the catch and make the big play.
Dunbar showed a complete dominance on the field. Although he isn’t a captain, he played like one.
His efforts on the field led them to the huge win.