NORMAN — University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley announced Wednesday that he has named Kyler Murray the starting quarterback for the Sooners' season opener against Florida Atlantic.
Murray, a redshirt junior, will be backed up by redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall for the Sept. 1 game against the Owls.
Riley said he informed the quarterbacks of his decision Wednesday morning.
"Kyler did a really nice job in camp," said Riley, who directed OU to a 12-2 record last year in his debut season as head coach. "It was really a great competition between Austin and him, one that we carried on longer than maybe even we expected because of how well both guys played. There weren't a lot of differentiating factors in the end because both did play so well and so efficiently, but just felt like from an overall perspective that Kyler was just a little bit ahead.
"We feel like we've got a great quarterback tandem there and we're really proud of the way that Austin has improved through the redshirt year last year and during camp. We're excited for Kyler and his opportunity and the team looks forward to getting ready for FAU."
Murray, a 5-10, 195-pounder from Allen, Texas, was the backup last season to Baker Mayfield, who won OU's sixth Heisman Trophy as the Sooners claimed their third straight Big 12 title and made the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years.
Murray was more efficient as a passer last season, in a limited sample size, than was Mayfield — the guy who holds the top two single-season passing efficiency ratings in major college football history. Murray completed 18 of his 21 throws for 359 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in seven games in 2017. He boasted an astonishing 276.5 efficiency rating to Mayfield's record-setting 198.9 mark, but didn't have near enough pass attempts to qualify in the category.
Murray also ran 14 times for 142 yards (10.1 average), including a 66-yard dash on the first play of the game against West Virginia in OU's home finale.
Murray started his collegiate career at Texas A&M, where he played in eight games and made three starts in 2015. He was a consensus five-star recruit out of Allen High School and was named 2014 national high school player of the year by Parade, Gatorade, MaxPreps and USA Today. Murray went 43-0 as a high school starter and earned state titles each of his last three years.
OU's game against Florida Atlantic, which went 11-3 last year (8-0 in Conference USA) and won its bowl game, will start at 12 p.m. ET.