NORMAN, Okla. – The proof was in the play-calling. Oklahoma couldn't find consistency through the passing attack, so it stayed on the ground during the second half.
It worked for another week as the Sooners were just effective enough to grind out a 16-7 win against visiting West Virginia on Saturday night in the Big 12 conference opener for both teams.
But the victory has raised more questions than answers regarding the offense, especially at quarterback. Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight fared well in the first half.
He wasn't spectacular at 9-of-15 for 113 yards and a touchdown. But the wheels fell off in the second half. Knight was 1-of-5 for 6 yards and two interceptions.
His teammates said he stayed positive throughout, but junior Blake Bell replaced Knight in the fourth quarter.
"I was talking to Josh (Heupel), and I'm not going to detail much of it," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "But at the end of the day this was a tight competition, and I just feel that it wasn't as good as we needed to be in the throwing game so we gave him his chance."
It wasn't much of a chance as Bell only threw one pass, which was incomplete. Bell did rush for 21 yards on two attempts in the fourth quarter. Maybe more importantly, he didn't turn the ball over.
Survive this one and start figuring it out in the future.
The answer against the Mountaineers was to keep it on the ground. OU rushed for 316 yards on 57 attempts, topping the 300-yard mark for the second time this season.
Nobody is doubting the OU rushing attack. But if the Sooners are going to contend for the conference championship or the national title, the passing game is going to have to improve.
OU was 10-of-21 for 119 yards and three overall turnovers at the position. All three giveaways were when Knight was in the game.
Knight is 2-0 as an OU starter, but there's no guarantee he will get the nod heading into next week's game against Tulsa.
"That will be something we will discuss, obviously, with the way we finished the game," Stoops said. "That's a factor now, so I'm not going to detail it here right after the game."
The intention wasn't for Bell to throw one pass, but with the running game working so well, Stoops didn't see the need to throw anymore.
The thought was Knight would be able to settle down in his second start. But he still had timing issues with his receivers. His two interceptions were on ill-advised throws deep in West Virginia territory.
It was a tight battle throughout between Knight and Bell. Heading into Week 3 of the season, OU still doesn't have an answer.
"We were all aware of the quarterback battle before the year, and we knew that it would go into the season," senior center Gabe Ikard said. "That decision is up to the coaches, but the rest of the offense is behind whatever guy they put out there."