The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 9, 2013

Trey Millard: Red River runner

By John Shinn, CNHI News Service
CNHI

NORMAN, Okla. — It was just a little dump pass into the flat when Oklahoma’s Trey Millard caught it and started up field. The Sooners already were up 20-2 on Texas when quarterback Landry Jones flipped the ball to his fullback.

What transpired over the next 10 seconds remains the highlight of highlights in the Sooners 63-21 victory over the Longhorns in last season’s Red River Rivalry matchup — Millard sprinting up the Cotton Bowl’s east sideline, then hurdling Texas safety Mykkele Thompson while shoving aside safety Adrian Phillips.

The 73-yard catch and run still brings goose bumps to OU fans and bruised egos to Longhorn supporters.

“He has some iconic plays that will always be played over and over,” said OU cornerback Aaron Colvin. “Trey is just a special player. He’s just a beast out there and he showed it last year and everyone saw it. But he shows it every game.”

The 6-foot-2, 253-pound senior can move like someone 25 pounds lighter and deliver a blow like someone 25 pounds heavier.

The overwhelming majority of the time, his attributes are used opening opportunities for others. Millard may be one of the most devastating blockers the Sooners have ever put on the field.

“A lot of people don’t understand how productive he is as a player when the ball is not in his hands,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “He’s a huge part of what we’re doing offensively every time he’s in there.”

But last year against Texas was the day Millard displayed what he could do with the ball in his hands. He only touched the ball eight times, but finished with 164 all-purpose yards. The icing on the cake was a 25-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter.

It was the kind of day few fullbacks get to experience.

“It was awesome,” Millard said. “I just got a lot of opportunities and was able to make a lot of plays when I did.”

He’ll be back at the Cotton Bowl when the 12th-ranked Sooners face Texas at 11 a.m. Saturday with one last chance to add to a legacy that he’s built in the rivalry.

How many times he touches the ball is up to Heupel and the Longhorns. It was apparent in last year’s meeting Texas wasn’t too concerned about the Sooners’ fullback. OU seemed to know it long before walking down the Cotton Bowl ramp.

In each of the practices leading up to the game, Millard was getting the ball more than usual.

But what Millard did after getting the ball was pure Millard.

“Trey’s just one of those guys who gets limited touches, so he’s gonna make the most out of those,” said center Gabe Ikard. “He took some simple plays and made great plays out of them. His talent and toughness just came through. He gets a simple check down in the flat and takes it 70 yards.”

And gets an OU highlight/Texas lowlight that likely will live on for generations.

Millard would love to add to his collection Saturday. Some of that will be out of his hands. If he wasn’t on Texas’ radar as a threat, he is now. Heupel seems very agreeable to a repeat performance.

“We need to get him the football again and he needs to play in the same fashion.”