The Oklahoma Sooners traveled to Ames, Iowa hoping to put the past behind them. Behind an offensive explosion led by the rushing attack, Bob Stoops and Co. racked up 751 total yards to claim a 59-14 win over the Iowa St. Cyclones.
Throughout much of the season, the passing game has relied heavily upon Sterling Shepard's ability to make plays downfield. However, on the first offensive snap for the Sooners, the star wideout suffered a groin injury after coming up with a 46-yard reception. Now, without his favorite target, Trevor Knight was forced to look toward younger receivers to pick up the slack.
"I'm hopeful it's just a strain," Stoops said. "He was coming back to play, and I think it was already 21-7. And we said `Nah, let's try and rest him and be sure he'll be here next week.' Now, I don't know whether he will be or not. We've got to wait and see."
Ready to tackle to the challenge, Knight accounted for six total touchdowns - three through the air on and three more on the ground. The effort marks the first time this season a FBS players has thrown for three scores and rushed for another three in a single game.
During the game, it became apparent that the coaching staff opened up the playbook unleashing Knight's true potential. One of three ball carriers to eclipse the century mark, fans are once again excited for the future. "He's hopefully continuing to progress. He's still a young guy," Coach Stoops noted, "and he's making progress. We just have to keep building on it and keep executing around him." Although the stats are eye-popping, the reality of the situation is that the sophomore quarterback still makes a bad read from time to time. Against Iowa St. those decisions led to two interceptions from Knight.
The other two players to eclipse the century mark on the ground are none other than JR running back Alex Ross (144 yards) and true freshman running back Samaje Perine (112 yards). Knowing the Cyclones possess the 9th ranked rushing defense in conference, Oklahoma capitalized by rushing the ball 59 times for 510 yards.
For the first time since 1992, fans witnessed three Oklahoma ball carriers break the 100-yard mark in a single game. The Sooners continued their streak of scoring in every quarter of this season as the backups got significant playing time in today's win.
Offensive Line - When the rushing attack collects 500+ yards, you can easily say it was a fantastic day for the offensive line. Obviously, we cannot overlook a failed 4th & 1 attempt at midfield as Oklahoma found themselves unable to pick up a blitzing safety. However, the line got the push they needed all afternoon opening up running lanes all over the place. The size and physicality once again paid off. Overall Grade: A
Quarterbacks - Collectively the quarterback duo of Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas combined for three interceptions and three touchdowns on just 241 yards. But, Knight shined as he tucked the ball under his arm and took off from the line of scrimmage. On 16 carries, the sophomore provided a spark to the tune of 146 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, there is room for improvement so I graded them out at Overall Grade: B+
Receivers | Tight Ends - Blake Bell may have broken off a route early after making contact with a defender. Yet, he continued to block exceptionally well while hauling in two touchdown catches. Slowly but surely the resurrection of the TE position continues. As for the receivers, I continue to find myself impressed with the downfield blocking knowing the lack of experience. The downside undoubtedly rests in dropped pass after dropped pass. Michiah Quick recorded a game high 8 receptions and could be the No. 2 option for the QBs. On the other hand, Durron Neal provided a team high 60 yards on five catches. Overall Grade: B
Running Backs - With the duo of Perine and Ross rushing for over 100 yards each, the backs provided a much needed boost of confidence for a team coming off a loss. Time and time again, the back delivered even late into the game after David Smith entered. In mop up duty, Smith crossed the goal line joining Perine as one-of-two Sooner backs to do so against ISU this season. Overall Grade: A+