Whaley of a Day

OU running back Dominique Whaley

NORMAN, Okla. -- OU head coach Bob Stoops and his offensive coaches spoke highly of junior walk-on running back Dominique Whaley as the days counted down to the Sooners' 2011 season-opener at home against Tulsa.

Turns out they might not have spoken quite highly enough of the Lawton, Okla., product.

Whaley raced and bruised his way into the Oklahoma record books to the tune of 143 all-purpose yards--131 rushing on 18 carries, 12 receiving on a pair of catches--and four rushing touchdowns as the top-ranked Sooners dominated Tulsa 47-14.

Three of those, runs of 2-, 1- and 6-yards, came in the first half.

But perhaps the best of all, a 32-yard scoring scamper in which he busted off four tacklers, came early in the third quarter.

Still, the motivated former Langston back said he could have possibly done more damage.

"I felt like I should have scored five," Whaley said. "I like to try and stay composed and not give into all the excitement. I mean, I'm not going to say I wasn't excited. But I like to stay composed and not think of, ‘Oh, I'm out here and this and that.'"

That's quite the motivation and humility, considering Whaley's achievements:

His four rushing touchdowns are the most in school history by a walk-on in a single game, and his 131 rushing yards are the most in school history in a career debut.

Those two accomplishments pushed him past former walk-on Jim Culbreath who previously held the mark for most rushing yards in a career debut as well as the most rushing touchdowns by a walk-on in a single game.

When did Culbreath set those records? Back in 1975.

Whaley also joined DeMarco Murray as the only other running back in OU history to score four or more rushing touchdowns in their Sooner debuts.

So, those are some impressive marks to say the least.

However, his performance is something the coaches and teammates said didn't really surprise them.

"Why do I have to be? I told you guys he was a really good football player," Stoops said. "You guys don't believe me half the time. I'm not a big surprised. I told you I saw him get IV-ed [in practice] from running up and down, and our defense is pretty decent."

Heupel said the same.

"No, if you've been around our program, there's a reason that, you know, his name has popped up," Heupel said. "And, you know, he's played extremely well for us dating back to two springs ago when he wasn't out eligible, when he got an opportunity to compete and play in scrimmages, he played very efficiently and very well. And, you know, he did a great job running the ball tonight, good job of pass protection."

The Sooner signal caller, Landry Jones, echoed those remarks.

"Dom kind of came out and showed what he can actually do outside of scrimmages and spring ball and things like that," Jones said. "You know, you watch him and practice and you know he has it in him. You just didn't know if he could do it on game days, but he came out and proved himself."

That he did.

Joining the record books with those kinds of marks is something that doesn't happen too frequently.

Maybe now everyone will believe Whaley is for real.

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