Oklahoma vs. West Virginia: 5 Reasons Trevor Knight Will Shred WVU's Defense
The West Virginia defense has no chance against Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight.
Whether it’s through the air or on the ground, the freshman quarterback will surely have his way on Saturday. The Mountaineers defense will be lucky just to grab a piece of his jersey.
This one could get out of hand pretty fast.
Here’s five reasons why Knight will dominate West Virginia’s defense.
He's Got the Wheels
Knight rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries against Louisiana-Monroe last weekend. He also became the first quarterback in Oklahoma to rush for over 100 yards in a game since Jason White went for 117 on Oct. 13, 2001.
Unlike fellow Sooners quarterback Blake Bell—who earned himself the “Belldozer” nickname after pounding his way for yards—Knight has the ability to shake off defenders and pull off long runs. Last weekend, he had rushes of 24, 18, 17 and 15 yards.
This kind of agility gives opposing defenses nightmares. Don’t be surprised to see Knight leading the entire West Virginia defense on a wild goose chase.
Wide Receiver Corps Is Talented
Sure, Knight threw for a woeful 86 yards through the air. However, it wasn’t because he was lacking in options.
Senior Jalen Saunders hauled in three catches for 30 yards and two touchdowns. He’s set to be one of Knight’s top targets throughout the year.
After two phenomenal seasons at Fresno State—1,065 yards on 50 receptions for 12 touchdowns in his sophomore year—Saunders transferred to Oklahoma last year. He pulled in 62 catches for 829 yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomore Trey Metoyer caught the other touchdown. The former 5-star recruit has the potential to transform into one of the nation's top receivers.
Together, these two give Knight some dependable options to go to in the passing game.
The Run Game Will Open Up Passing Lanes
If things start poorly in the passing game, Knight can always turn to the run game. Oklahoma piled up 305 yards on the ground last Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.
Other than Knight, Damien Williams (66 yards), Brennan Clay (43) and Roy Finch (42) all contributed on the ground.
All three provide the Sooners with a versatile rushing attack. Whether it’s short-yard or long-yard situations, these three can get it done.
Both Williams and Clay combined for 1,501 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. Expect the duo's numbers to improve even more this time around.
That will only force the West Virginia defense to load the box, thus opening up the passing lanes for Knight.
The Defense Will Back Him Up
Oklahoma’s defense was completely dominant last weekend.
The unit limited Louisiana-Monroe to just 38 yards rushing on 22 carries (1.7 YPC). Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning was also held to just 128 yards passing—his lowest total since the season opener of his sophomore year.
When it came to key downs, the Sooners D was lights out. Louisiana-Monroe completed just two of 16 passes on third downs and failed both attempts on fourth down.
Against a West Virginia offense that is trying to break in a new starting quarterback, expect Oklahoma to make it even more difficult in front of the Norman crowd.
With the defense off the field, Knight will have more time to take it to an exhausted Mountaineers D.
Second Time's the Charm
While Knight’s passing performance was pretty underwhelming in his collegiate debut, it must be restated that the kid is just a freshman.
Countless former stars have begun their careers in similar fashion.
Take Knight’s predecessor, Landry Jones.
Jones was brought into the game following an injury to Sam Bradford, and only completed six of 12 attempts for 51 yards. Oklahoma went on to lose 14-13 to BYU.
Then there’s last year’s Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel. He threw for just 173 yards and 60 yards—not your typical Heisman-worthy performance.
It’s a learning curve, and if Knight’s performance in the second half was any indicator, the guy is starting to get the hang of it.
He’ll be a problem for opposing defenses moving forward.