Oklahoma redshirt freshman Trevor Knight pulled the biggest preseason upset when he beat out Blake Bell for the Sooners' starting quarterback job. Two weeks into the season against West Virginia, he effectively injured himself out of it. (Numerous turnovers didn't help his cause either.)
However, Knight may have regained the Sooners' starting QB job following a 48-10 win over Iowa State. The win gave head coach Bob Stoops his 157th win with Oklahoma, tying Barry Switzer's record.
Bell, who started the day 2-of-5 passing for 10 yards, appeared to have sustained a head injury on a scramble early in the second quarter.
OU radio reports Blake Bell's helmet has been taken away from him. Trevor Knight warming up to go back out with OU offense. ISU leads 10-3— John Klein (@JohnKleinTW) November 16, 2013
From that point forward, it was the Knight show.
Knight finished the day 8-of-14 passing for just 61 yards, but he's never been much of a thrower; he does his damage is done with his feet. Against a porous Iowa State defense, he carried the ball 10 times for 123 yards, including a beautiful 56-yard touchdown.
Oklahoma senior running back Damien Williams also broke the 100-yard mark with 128 yards and a pair of scores. In all, the 405 yards the Sooners racked up on the ground were the most in any game during the Bob Stoops era.
Knight didn't kick-start Oklahoma's offense on his own—that was Jalen Saunders' 91-yard punt return for a touchdown to tie the game at 10 just before the half—but he did give the Sooners an identity. That's something that has been lacking for Oklahoma.
It was most notable against Baylor, when it wasn't clear if Oklahoma was an Air Raid offense, an option offense or a power-running offense. And it wasn't any clearer for the first quarter against the Cyclones.
When Knight came in, however, Oklahoma settled on doing what it does best—running the ball and incorporating option looks—and it paid off. Granted, Iowa State's defense is nothing to brag about, but at least Oklahoma knew what it wanted to do.
Guys. Iowa St STINKS. Stop suggesting Knight is suddenly the man. If it was Baylor out there, it'd be just as ugly as last week. #Sooners— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) November 16, 2013
Neither Knight nor Bell can throw the ball down the field consistently, so if that's a common issue, the question becomes who can do more in the running game.
Both are effective runners in their own way. Bell is better equipped to handle downhill power plays, while Knight is more elusive. Using both may not be such a bad idea—and it's one that Stoops himself has considered:
Stoops on using Knight: We were gonna play Trevor regardless.— John Shinn (@john_shinn) November 16, 2013
But if Bell has a head injury and Knight stabilizes the offensive play-calling, the decision of who to put at quarterback may answer itself.
Stoops will likely continue to evaluate the quarterback spot. It will depend on Bell's health and how he and Knight look in practice.
Whoever starts for the Sooners will have a bigger challenge than the one against the Cyclones, though. Two tough games against Kansas State and Oklahoma State remain on the schedule.
Win or lose, one of the biggest priorities heading into the offseason has to be settling on an offensive identity. Based on Saturday's performance, the Sooners' coaching staff did just that with Knight.