VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

Oklahoma's Shepard showing complete game at WR

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Sterling Shepard has quite the Oklahoma football pedigree: son of a beloved star receiver for the Sooners who died just as his coaching career was starting to take off.

It wasn't that heritage or his considerable receiving skills that earned the sophomore wide receiver from Oklahoma City more playing time this season for No. 11 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12 Conference), which will host TCU (2-2, 0-1) on Saturday.

It was his willingness to block when his number wasn't called.

Oklahoma co_offensive coordinator Josh Heupel called Shepard's performance in a 35-21 win at Notre Dame last Saturday ``as complete a game at the wide receiver position as we've had played around here in a long time.''

The 5-foot-10, 188-pound Shepard had five catches for 84 yards, including a critical 54-yard fourth-quarter touchdown reception, and joined fellow receiver Jalen Saunders in delivering numerous blocks that allowed Oklahoma ball carriers to gain more yards.

``He was just outstanding,'' coach Bob Stoops said of Shepard. ``What you don't see, unless you go back and watch the game again, is you should see the way he played without the football in this game. It's really fun to watch. The guy was blocking everywhere. Hustling. That's what I'm most proud of. He was outstanding when he didn't have the ball.''

Shepard came from the same high school, Heritage Hall, that produced Wes Welker, and one of his high school teammates was current Stanford running back Barry Sanders Jr. Shepard's father, Derrick Shepard, played for the Sooners from 1983-1986 - helping the Sooners win the 1985 national title - and played in the NFL for five seasons, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Washington Redskins in 1987.

He died from a heart attack in August 1999, one month into a new job as an assistant coach at Wyoming.

Sterling Shepard essentially grew up around the Oklahoma program and after he signed with the Sooners, he chose the same No. 3 that his father had worn. As a freshman, he showed flashes of promise, catching 45 passes for 621 yards and three touchdowns in limited appearances.

This year, he's playing almost every down and has caught 16 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. In a win over Tulsa, he set career highs with eight catches for 123 yards and two scores. Pictures of Shepard and his late father adorned the cover of the game program that day.

``I was thinking about that,'' Shepard said. ``They actually give us the program in our lockers before the game and I saw it. I told myself that, `This is me and my dad's day.' I tried to step it up.''

He did the same thing against Notre Dame. On a key third-down play early in the fourth quarter, just after the Fighting Irish had pulled within 27-21, Shepard caught a short pass from Blake Bell and outraced a pair of defenders into the end zone. He then caught a two-point conversion pass to build the Sooners' lead back to 14 points.

``Sterling's just great at getting open,'' Bell said. ``It kind of makes it easy for a quarterback. You saw that third down at Notre Dame. I just kind of put it on him in a little crossing route and he took it the rest of the way and showed his wheels. He does a great job getting open and is a real smart football player on the field.''

The blocks thrown by Shepard and Saunders even get their Oklahoma defensive teammates excited. Safety Gabe Lynn said blocking receivers pose problems for defenders.

``Little dudes like that that have attitudes just get on your nerves,'' Lynn said. ``Sometimes, you'd rather had a big, slow dude, because those little guys get on your nerves.''

The frustration of the first two weeks, when Oklahoma's passing game wasn't clicking, has given way to excitement as the Sooners return to conference play.

``I feel like I was comfortable in the first two games and it was just a matter of me getting in the film room a lot more and just upping my game a little bit,'' Shepard said. ``It was getting underneath my skin a little bit. It has happened to me before in my life. With those things, you just have to keep pushing and keep going and it will come to you. It did.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

News: South Point releases GOY Odds
BetDSI: Handicapping South Carolina (7)
News: 2018 Power 5 Win Totals
BetDSI: Handicapping Texas A&M (7)
BetDSI: Handicapping LSU (7.5)
Irish WR Canteen plans to transfer
Ex-Indiana coach Mallory dies at 83
Huskers to welcome back Frank Solich
Ex-SIU lineman stopped school shooter
Why Buy Picks From
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records Gold Membership
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 3165
Scott Pritchard + 2769
Mark Franco + 2093
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 517
Gary Bart + 290
Jim Feist + 185
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 68 %
Vince Akins 64 %
Dave Cokin 62 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1510
Scott Pritchard + 1184
Marc Lawrence + 975
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1365
Scott Pritchard + 1074
Antony Dinero + 551
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mark Franco + 1060
Marc Lawrence + 959
Joe Williams + 805
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership