NEW ORLEANS — The man who will handle play-by-play duties for the Sugar Bowl on ESPN has a message for Oklahoma fans.
Brent Musburger, who has previously called Auburn games this season and will be on the microphone for the Sugar Bowl when the No. 14 Tigers (8-4) face No. 7 Oklahoma (10-2) on Jan. 2 (7:30 p.m., ESPN), is impressed with Auburn’s 240-pound tailback Kamryn Pettway.
“I would alert everybody in Oklahoma who might not have watched Auburn, I'm going to tell you right now that maybe the single most powerful back I've watched in the SEC --- I'm including (LSU tailback) Leonard Fournette --- the most powerful back I watched was Kamryn Pettway.” Musburger said in a ESPN teleconference Wednesday afternoon. “He's unstoppable.”
Pettway, who finished with a team-high 1,123 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in just nine games this season, won the offensive most valuable player award at Auburn’s team banquet. The third-year sophomore hadn’t had a single carry in his first two seasons at Auburn, including an entire 2015 campaign at H-back.
Pettway sent out a message on Twitter earlier this month ending any discussion on whether he’ll back for the 2017 season, saying he had “unfinished business.” Some analysts had him projected to be taken between the second and fourth rounds of the NFL draft.
“I'm going to be perfectly honest,” Musburger said. “I didn't see it coming. To me, it was just a name when the season started. I would assume that he's going to be one of the most publicized backs coming into the SEC season next year, young man out of Montgomery.”
Musburger, who will call the Sugar Bowl with his SEC Network color analyst Jesse Palmer and sideline reporter Kaylee Hartung, has called three Auburn games this season and will be broadcasting his eighth Sugar Bowl but first since the 2004 BCS National Championship Game.
“I've always said that the Superdome in New Orleans was the single best venue for a Super Bowl or a college championship game,” Musburger said. “I love the fact that, in New Orleans, the fan base can walk to the game and then walk back, assuming the weather is reasonably decent, which I'm assuming it's going to be. People have such a good time around the venue.”
Pettway, a Montgomery native who has a wife and daughter, is expected to be one of several offensive skill players for Auburn to be fully healed from an injury. Pettway missed two games in November (at Georgia and home finale vs. Alabama A&M) due to a severe quad injury he suffered in a 23-16 victory over Vanderbilt on Nov. 5.
“I feel like I’m capable of doing a lot more than I did this year,” said Pettway, who didn’t shy away from talk that he believes he’s one of the best returning tailbacks in the nation. “It was nice to be in that predicament, being able to choose if I leave or stay. But like I said, I think coming back will be the best option for me.”