Commentary

Miller, OU seniors play final home game

Sooners WR Dejuan Miller catches seven passes in Senior Day win over Iowa State

Updated: November 26, 2011, 11:48 PM ET
By Bob Przybylo | SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- Things couldn't have gone better for Oklahoma senior wide receiver Dejuan Miller in his final home game with the Sooners.

OU got back on track with a 26-6 victory against Iowa State, keeping the Sooners alive in the hunt for another Big 12 championship.

And Miller, whose season has seen its fair share of ups and downs, finished his career at Owen Field with one of his best performances.

[+] EnlargeDejuan Miller
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireDejuan Miller had seven receptions for 86 yards in his final home game for the Sooners.
Miller led the team with seven catches for 86 yards and was a catalyst for what became a memorable Senior Day Saturday for many of Oklahoma's upperclassmen. He entered the game with only 13 catches for the season.

"It was definitely a great time to be out there with my family," Miller said about the Senior Day festivities before the game. "To have this type of game, in my final, nothing more I could have asked for than what I did today."

But there is. Because as well as Miller played against the Cyclones, he's still got one more regular season game left with the Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma State next week.

And you'll have to forgive Miller for being a little excited to play the Cowboys. He didn't get that opportunity last season.

He suffered a torn meniscus last October and wasn't in Stillwater for the game. In fact, he didn't even see most of the game, admitting that painkillers had made him fall asleep.

He woke up in the second half, enough time to see senior wideout Cameron Kenney make an impact in the 47-41 victory for OU.

A lot of people have mentioned the parallels between Miller and Kenney. It was Miller's injury last season that thrust Kenney into a more prominent role in the Oklahoma receiver rotation.

The season-ending injury suffered to star receiver Ryan Broyles three weeks ago has forced Miller to become a bigger part of the offense.

"I've noticed it, for sure," Miller said about the parallels. "I talked to Cam the other day. He was giving me some motivational words. He was saying you're talented, you can make plays. He said to have confidence in myself and just go out and play."

He wasn't the only senior to play well Saturday. But back in the minds of this year's senior class was one senior who wasn't on the field with them -- Austin Box.

Box passed away in the spring, and the team has used him as motivation all season. But perhaps never more than Saturday.

The Box family was in attendance, and one of the loudest ovations from the Owen Field crowd was when Austin's name was announced.

"We were called up as seniors, but we were short one of our brothers," senior defensive end Frank Alexander said. "It was real emotional, but I couldn't show it. We dedicated this game, this season to No. 12, to Austin Box.

"Felt like he was out there with us today."

Alexander finished the game with six tackles and set the tone early for a dominant defensive performance with a forced fumble on the second play of the game that led to a Sooners field goal.

The fumble was the first of four turnovers forced by the Oklahoma defense that bounced back from last week's rough outing against Baylor with one of its best outings of the season.

And Alexander was especially touched by a compliment from Austin Box's father.

"Mr. Box said I was doing a good job; that meant a lot to me," Alexander said. "I just try to play hard for [Austin] like we know he would if he was out there."

Bob Przybylo covers football and basketball recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at bprzybyloespn@gmail.com.

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