In a sloppy, defensive-minded showdown in Norman on Saturday night, No. 16 Oklahoma defeated West Virginia, 16-7.
The Sooners (2-0, 1-0 Big 12) used three Michael Hunnicutt field goals and an early second-quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Knight to hand the Mountaineers (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) their first loss of the season.
It was the first conference game of the year for both programs.
OU Football had the tweet as the score went final:
FINAL!! BOOMER SOONER!! OU wins 16-7 thanks to stellar D and 316 rushing yards. #sooners— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) September 8, 2013
Oklahoma (442 total yards) and West Virginia (387 total yards) had no problem moving the ball down the field. But thanks to four turnovers by each team, the final score did not reflect what could have been a shootout in the Big 12.
The Sooners did most of their damage on the ground, racking up over 300 rushing yards on the evening. Brennan Clay (170 yards on 22 carries) and Damian Williams (95 yards on 21 carries) led the charge for the Crimson and Cream.
Knight completed 10 of his 20 passes for 119 yards. He had the one touchdown to fullback Trey Millard, fumbled once and also threw two interceptions. He added 49 rushing yards on seven carries.
The young signal-caller was replaced by Blake Bell after struggling to find his rhythm all game, as noted by the Big 12's Twitter account:
OU's QB situation did not impact the final outcome, as the defense stiffened up when it had to and kept West Virginia out of the end zone after the eight-minute, 54-second mark in the first quarter.
Dreamius Smith had a 75-yard touchdown to open the scoring for West Virginia. He finished with 77 yards on three carries, good for first on the team. Houston transfer Charles Sims added 57 yards on 11 carries.
QB Paul Millard had 218 yards passing and an interception for Dana Holgorsen's team.
A scary moment came late in the third quarter, when West Virginia linebacker Doug Rigg was involved in a collision that left him motionless on the field. After a long delay, he managed to wave to the crowd on his way out of the stadium.
Gold and Blue Zone and WVIllustrated.com's Geoff Coyle both posted positive updates on Rigg as more information on his status became available:
Rigg knocked unconscious. Flown to hospital in OKC. Speaking and moving his hands. #WVU— Gold And Blue Zone (@GoldAndBlueZone) September 8, 2013
I'm told movement in fingers, toes for Doug Rigg. Was talking after initially losing consciousness.— Geoff Coyle (@GFCoyle) September 8, 2013
Although both teams can use the "it's only Week 2" excuse to explain their efficiency issues, head coaches Bob Stoops and Holgorsen likely won't allow it.
Which team will have a better season?
Oklahoma was just 5-of-17 on third down, committed nine penalties and had the four turnovers. West Virginia had eight penalties to go along with their four turnovers and and 3-of-13 mark on third down.
Sloppy doesn't begin to describe it, but it was Oklahoma that was fortunate to escape the game with a win. Moving forward, don't expect similar stat lines from either team to result in positive results in Big 12 play.
Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight: C-
Knight has potential to be a mainstay in the Big 12 for the next four years, but he has some serious accuracy issues to work through.
ESPN's Dari Nowkhah saw Knight's benching coming:
Are you SERIOUS Trevor Knight? REALLY? Bob has to be thinking about making a move here...— Dari Nowkhah (@ESPNDari) September 8, 2013
His completion percentage (50.0) got better from Week 1 to Week 2, but he made some questionable decisions in the pocket and doesn't look comfortable when dealing with pressure or trying to work through progressions.
The Sooners got the win, but Knight has some serious work to do to reinstill confidence in the coaching staff that he can handle the job.
West Virginia QB Paul Millard: C
It was a mixed bag for Millard on Saturday night, too.
Unable to find the end zone despite throwing 40 passes, Millard failed to take advantage of several opportunities afforded by the Sooners' bend-but-not-break defense.
He was also blasted on the sideline by Holgorsen after his interception, lending to the idea that the QB competition between Millard and Clint Trickett might be back underway in Morgantown this week.
Oklahoma RB Brennan Clay: A-
Clay was all over the field for Oklahoma on Saturday night, rushing for 170 yards on a healthy 7.7 per-carry average. He also returned a kickoff for 20 yards.
The running game was clicking, and it was Clay who was the catalyst. Williams had a rough time escaping the backfield for more than five- and six-yard chunks, but Clay found running lanes both to keep the clock moving and keep West Virginia's offense off the field in the second half.
West Virginia has a home game against Georgia State before traveling to Maryland in two weeks. The Mountaineers will play their next Big 12 game against Oklahoma State—Holgorsen's old team—on Sept. 28.
Oklahoma will play its third straight home game against Tulsa next week. The Sooners will then travel to No. 14 Notre Dame after a bye week and will return to Big 12 action against TCU on Oct. 5.
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