December 4, 2022
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OU punter Michael Turk caps career-night with a Bedlam engagement for the record books to Sooners softball star Grace Lyons

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NORMAN — Oklahoma punter Michael Turk apparently wasn’t having a good enough Saturday night.

So, after he helped the Sooners secure bowl eligibility in a 28-13 win over in-state rivals Oklahoma State, Turk went ahead and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, OU softball star Grace Lyons.

And there on the turf of Owen Field, the All-American infielder who has helped power the Sooners’ to back-to-back national titles said yes. 

“I’ve been planning that for a few weeks now,” Turk told reporters late Saturday night. “I’m so thankful to know Grace and to have met her at OU. I get to marry the woman of my dreams and that’s by the grace of God, for sure.”

OU’s latest Bedlam victory at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will hang long in Turk’s memory for a few reasons.

First, the former Arizona transfer was honored among 32 fellow upperclassmen during OU’s Senior Night ceremonies prior to kick off. Then, on the night the Sooners went 1-of-14 on third down, Turk had the busiest game of his college career.

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His 11 punts — the most by a Sooners punter since Jeff Ferguson in 2001 — marked a career-high for Turk, who averaged 49.0 yards per kick. Four of those punts went 50 yards or longer. Three were pinned inside the OSU 20-yard line. The longest, a third-quarter bomb, went 67 yards.

OU needed every one of those kicks, especially the eight he rocketed after halftime, as the Sooners went scoreless for the final 46:09 of the 15-point win.

“Turk’s been a monster, man,” OU coach Brent Venables said afterward.

But the most critical moment of Turk’s night was in the works well before the Sooners took the field to face the Cowboys Saturday. Before he could pop the question in Week 12, Turk first had to make another ask in Week 10. 

On the field after OU’s 38-35 loss to Baylor on Nov. 5, Turk explained, he approached Lyons’ father John and received the blessing to go ahead with the proposal.

“He’s an awesome guy,” Turk said. “He served in the Air Force, as well, so I’ve just a lot of respect for him. He’s a great guy and thankfully he respects me enough to say yes. I’m definitely thankful.” 

That conversation two weeks ago set in motion everything that unfolded following the game Saturday.

When the clock hit 0:00 on OU’s 91st all-time Bedlam win, Turk darted from the sideline to the Sooners’ locker room. Sometime earlier in the day, he’d made the wise decision to store the ring there instead of some other, perhaps more precarious place…such as an equipment bag.

“It was actually in my locker in the locked area and right after we won, I sprinted in there to grab it and bring it back out because I didn’t trust myself,” Turk said. “I was gonna put it in the kicker bag and I thought that that was a bad idea.”

Only a handful of OU teammates, primarily Turk’s fellow specialists, even knew of his plan for a postgame proposal. Initially, he didn’t even intend to do it with any teammates around. 

But caught in the moment following the Sooners’ sixth win of the season, Turk called over David Ugwoegbu. Then he made sure Danny Stutsman was nearby and hollered in the direction of Drake Stoops while a handful of other teammates gathered. 

“I said, ‘Stoops get over here.’” Turk said.

Sooners host Cowboys in Bedlam 2022 (copy)

Oklahoma softball player Grace Lyons holds up an engagement ring after being to proposed to by Oklahoma punter Michael Turk (37) after the fourth quarter of the 2022 Bedlam game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in Norman, Okla on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

Finally, Turk popped the question. So how, exactly, did he do it? 

“(Grace) gives me a game day card with a bible verse on it (each week),” he explained. “On the back of her game day card I wrote, ‘I have a question to ask you, will you be my wife?’ And then she looked up and I said, ‘Will you marry me?’

“And so I think it went really good. I’m just so grateful she said yes.”

Turk’s third-quarter punts of 63 and 67 yards marked the 13th and 14th punts of 60 yards or more in his OU career. With the Week 13 regular season finale at Texas Tech and a bowl game still ahead, he now sits two 60-plus yard punts from Tress Way’s program record of 16 such kicks.

On Saturday, Turk crept closer to Sooners statistical history, then capped the night with a Bedlam engagement for the record books.

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