COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles and Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller will be on the same field Saturday when the Sooners visit the Aggies.
The two star receivers almost wound up on the same sideline as teammates.
Fuller verbally committed to Oklahoma in high school, but went to Texas A&M after coach Mike Sherman was hired with the Aggies.
So instead of combining for what could have been the most potent receiving duo in the country, the two will lead their respective high-powered offenses in a matchup the Sooners need to win to stay in contention in the Big 12 South race.
Broyles is second in the nation in yards receiving with 1,018 yards and Fuller ranks ninth with 858 yards. Fuller has 11 touchdowns this season and Broyles has eight.
Broyles feels like the Sooners offense is still a work in progress.
"We're showing great promise," he said. "This late in the season, we're still clicking. We still have a lot of work to do. We haven't played our best football yet."
The Sooners are averaging more than 326 yards passing a game, which ranks fifth in the nation. It's a statistic that led to Bob Stoops being asked about the chemistry between Broyles and quarterback Landry Jones.
"It's probably fair to say that Ryan can have good chemistry with anyone that can throw the ball," Stoops said. "He just has a way of beating them. He's just so quick, fast, such a good route runner, he has all of it. And then he has the hands to go with it and the body control to go after the ball. He's an obvious attraction for Landry."
The same could be said for Fuller, who has fueled A&M's passing attack. The Aggies (5-3, 2-2 Big 12) are averaging 322 yards passing a game to rank right behind the Sooners (7-1, 3-1).
Fuller was key in helping A&M transition from senior quarterback Jerrod Johnson to Ryan Tannehill in last week's 45-27 win over Texas Tech. Tannehill threw two of his four touchdowns to Fuller and finished with a school-record 449 yards passing in his first career start at quarterback.
Fuller was impressed with Tannehill's performance and his attitude in dealing with the difficult situation of Johnson's benching.
"Ryan has been doing a good job of stepping up and being a leader," Fuller said. "He's like another coach on the field, giving you different pointers and telling you when the ball will get there and timing stuff out right."
Tannehill played quarterback for about half of Texas A&M's win over Kansas two weeks ago before playing the entire Tech game. The junior, who has played mostly receiver in his A&M career, thinks things will get easier for him now that he has some experience at quarterback.
"It's good to get ... a full game and the feel for playing a full game," he said. "I haven't done that since high school at the quarterback position. It definitely was exciting and fun. It was a learning experience for sure. You definitely have to take that and learn from it."
Sherman was impressed with Tannehill's debut as a starter and it looks like he'll stick with him this week.
"I thought he was very decisive," Sherman said. "When he made decisions he pulled the trigger and did a very, very good job of that. I thought he threw the ball very well and was very accurate."
The Sooners play three of their remaining four games on the road and are hoping they respond better to the hostile crowd in College Station than they did in their only loss this season, a 36-27 defeat at Missouri.
"There's going to be ups and downs, there's going to be adversity and we're going to have a bad play against A&M," Oklahoma defensive back Jonathan Nelson said. "Hopefully we will have more good than bad, but their crowd is going to be crazy. We've experienced that at Missouri and hopefully we can better ourselves at A&M."
Stoops said the scheduling quirk of playing a lot on the road isn't a "big deal" and the Sooners will have to be ready for the challenge.
"I don't know how that worked out or how that happened, but in the end that's just how it is so we might as well embrace it and go get them," he said.