NORMAN, Oklahoma – According to him, Jalen Herts has returned to his place.
The senior quarterback made a record-setting debut in Oklahoma on Sunday night, leading the Soons' No. 4 49-31 victory over Houston with 508 career rushing yards and six touchdowns.
"I'm back to where I need to be," Herts said afterwards.
Herts was almost flawless on Sunday. He was correct (20 of 23 passing). Throw it short, long, out of pocket and out of pocket. He fled with relative ease and while wearing the same T-shirt # 1 that his predecessor wore. For a few moments, he could mislead attendees 84 534 into watching Kyler Murray – who happens to be alone.
The final numbers were stunning: 332 passing yards, 176 rushing yards and three shadows of each variety. He joins Johnny Manziel as the only other player in the last 15 years to throw for 300 yards and three scores and run for 150 and three scores in a game. It was a moment when Herts, a Houston product, was hungry.
"He's been waiting a long time," Herts's father, Averion Herts, told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "He went home where he could be said to belong."
This is another chapter in a long, winding journey for Geely Herts. He was the offensive player of the SEC year as a freshman. He led Alabama to consecutive national championship appearances. Even with a record of 26-2 as a starter in Alabama, his accolades have become a backdrop since he was replaced by Tua Tagawiloa in the 2018 Alabama national title win over Georgia, and Herts' potential transfer has become one of the most stories told in the country.
Despite Jalen Hurts' six-touch performance in his Oklahoma debut, he says the Soons have been playing sloppy and need to play better football ahead.
For Hurts and those near him, Sunday was preparing to bring him back to this point. Now, with the previous success of Murray and Baker Mayfield as the backdrop, the buzz of the Heisman Trophy is sure to start in earnest. But Hurts repeatedly emphasizes that there is much room for improvement for himself and the Sooners.
"The reality is I'm not the same player I was as an 18-year-old freshman, a 19-year-old sophomore," Herts said. "We did some good things tonight, but we need to continue to take steps to be where we want to be."
Said Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley: "He played well. There are a few things he can do better, but I thought he did it right now. You can tell he was in it [before] … I thought he made good, solid decisions and managed the game well. "