NORMAN, Okla. – It is said all the time. A backup quarterback is one play away from having to get out there.
For Oklahoma redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight, that play happened in the second quarter. And following a shaky first half, OU dominated Iowa State in the second half en route to a 48-10 victory Saturday afternoon on senior day for the Sooners.
It didn't look like much at the time when starting quarterback Blake Bell took a shot on a five-yard gain on first down with OU trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter. But a couple of snaps later, Bell was out and Knight was in.
And the difference, pardon the pun, was night and day. OU only managed 25 yards in the first quarter but concluded the game with 523 yards, including a ridiculous 405 on the ground.
Knight was a huge part of that as OU only had 66 rushing yards at halftime. He rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown.
"I had confidence. You have to go in there and know what to expect," Knight said. "We prepare throughout the week, working hard in the film room. You don't get nervous when you're ready to play. You don't get nervous when you're prepared."
Good in theory but allowing Knight to know he was the man for the second half allowed him to develop that comfort he might have been lacking otherwise.
"Go in there and get a rhythm going," Knight said. "It's tough to get a rhythm when you're not out there the whole time."
Knight and the OU offense weren't out there the whole time as the Sooners didn't waste a lot of time on their scoring drives in the second half.
Senior running back Damien Williams started it with a 69-yard touchdown run. Then fellow senior running back Brennan Clay went 63 yards for a score. And Knight himself got into the act with a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Williams finished with 128 yards and two scores, while Clay had 86.
Knight still had some problems in the passing game, going 8 of 14 for 61 yards, but his added dimension kept the Cyclones defense off balance for the second half.
"I thought he did a great job coming in the middle of the drive," Heupel said. "He played with poise, took care of the football. Early in the season, everything was happening real fast for him. He was rushing through things in the run game and in the pass game. Today he played within himself a little bit more."
Bell never returned to the game, but neither Heupel nor Stoops wanted to speculate about his condition going forward. Following the hit, trainers were looking at Bell for what easily could have been a concussion.
The Sooners trailed 10-3 in the final minute of the first half when Jalen Saunders ignited the team, the crowd with an electrifying 91-yard punt return to tie it at 10 at halftime.
OU never looked back on both sides of the ball, limiting ISU to 93 yards on 33 plays in the second half.
"I just thought we executed better," said defensive coordinator Mike Stoops about the defense in the second half. "We saw the plays and reacted better. They didn't do anything really we hadn't prepared for, but we just weren't very sharp. We got more engaged in the game and our whole positioning on the football improved."