You have to go all the way back to October 5th to find the last time the Sooners scored first in a football game. Slow starts have hampered this team for the last five games, in which they've only managed a 3-2 record. A couple of changes to the offensive personnel brought Oklahoma's offense back to life against the Big Twelve's fourth ranked defense.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Knight didn't have to be Landry Jones for the Sooners to score a big road win, he just needed to be...Trevor Knight. He needed to be able to make plays with his legs and be accurate enough with his arm to keep the defense off balance. That's exactly what Knight did on Saturday as he played his best game in an Oklahoma uniform.
The Sooners scored first when Knight found Sterling Shepard in the back of the end zone for a twelve-yard touchdown strike on Oklahoma's first drive. Knight would then use his legs to cap off a 98-yard scoring drive, on the Sooners' third offensive possession, when he scored on an eight-yard run.
At the end of the day Knight had completed 14-of-20 passes for 171 yards and a score while also rushing for 82 yards, and another score, on fourteen carries. More than the stats though, he showed a calm poise that allowed him to roll from the pocket and make plays with his feet instead of getting flustered and forcing a trow.
The success of Knight kept Kansas State from focusing their defense solely against the rush. They had to respect the Sooner receivers ability to make plays and keep up with the quarterback's ability to tuck and run. The greatest beneficiary to this was running back Brennan Clay who set career marks in number of carries and in yards. Going for 200 yards on 31 carries, Clay made a case for the Big Twelve's Offensive Player of the Week by averaging 6.5 yards per carry and crossing the goal line twice.
Perhaps the most crucial play of the game came in the second quarter after the Wildcats had tied the game at 14-14. Facing a third and one from the Oklahoma thirty-six, Clay bolted 64-yards to the end zone. The score put Oklahoma back on top by a touchdown but also put some momentum and emotion back on the Sooner sideline.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle on Saturday was the play of Oklahoma's offensive line. They helped pave the way for Oklahoma's team average of 5.8 yards per carry and kept Trevor Knight upright for most of the afternoon. You also can't overlook the impact that Aaron Ripkowski had from the standpoint of blocking. The Wildcats had the Big Twelve's third ranked defense against the run and yet the Sooners managed 301 yards on the ground.
Oklahoma's offensive game plan was very similar to the one we saw in Knight's previous two starts. Its also the game plan that has bred the most success this season. The Sooners ran a total of 73 offensive plays with 52 of them being rushing attempts. It was the game plan that OU needed to pull off with a young quarterback and an experienced offensive line and senior running back. Its also a game plan that the Sooners shouldn't shy away from anytime in the near future as it has been and will be their best chance at success.