OU finds right way to use Knight

Sooners QB makes big plays with legs to take pressure off arm

Trevor Knight’s first run Saturday against Iowa State was an accident.

He was only supposed to have the ball in his hands for a split second before handing off to running back Alex Ross around left tackle.

A bad snap from center Ty Darlington made it Knight’s carry and what eventually became the first of his three rushing touchdowns – a 31-yard run.

Knight’s first carry might have been a mistake, but his next 15 were a statement.

“We can do so many different things there,” Knight said. “. . . Anytime you see success like that it’s not overly complicated and we do what works.”

When he left the game in the third quarter, Knight had a game-high 16 carries. He had a career-high 146 yards and became the first player in the FBS to rush for three touchdowns and pass for three touchdowns this year.

More than finding out that Knight has scrambling ability, Oklahoma (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) found out the best way to use its mobile quarterback.

Of the eight scoring drives that Oklahoma produced with Knight at quarterback, he had a carry on all of them. Only once did Knight not have a carry on an Oklahoma possession - a drive that resulted in an interception.

“He’s hopefully continuing to progress,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s still a young guy, and he’s making progress. We just have to keep building on it and keep executing around him.”

Knight is more comfortable on the ground. It showed against Iowa State that when he can get into a rhythm with his legs, he’s more relaxed with his arm.

It’s not hard to see that Knight’s problem isn’t necessarily decision making, it’s a desire to make a big play every snap – something a lot of young quarterbacks have issues with early in their careers. He’s talked about that urge before.

By allowing him to make big plays with his legs, it takes the onus of a need to make big plays – and big mistakes – with his arm.

Stoops gave a simple explanation as to why Knight ran so much. “Because it was working,” he said.

Of course, it helps that Oklahoma’s offensive line was as dominant as it possibly could have been Saturday.

Knight was far from the only player who benefitted from the ‘ground-and-pound’ offensive game plan. Running backs Alex Ross and Samaje Perine finished with more than 100 yards, and not-often-used tail back David Smith even finished with 76 yards and his first career touchdown.

The Sooners had three players with 100 yards rushing for the first time since 1992.

With two touchdowns passes to tight end Blake Bell, even the passing attack was simplified as to take pressure off Knight.

The result on the ground was 510 yards, the highest total since 1989.

“The run game was successful (Saturday),” Stoops said. “Some of that comes off of the quarterback run game. I thought the guys, the way they executed and blocked, did a good job. . . . Fortunately, we were able to run the ball real well.”

Oklahoma came out firing, with a deep completion to Sterling Shepard on the first offensive play of the game.

From there – even if accidentally to start – the Sooners took the pressure off Knight’s arm by putting it on his legs.


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