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November 23, 2013

Knight settles QB debate, earns Stoops a record win

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The axiom goes three things can happen when you throw the football, and two of them are bad. The Sooners took that to heart and ran the ball 52 times for 301 yards against Kansas State and won 41-31 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The win, No. 158 of Bob Stoops' career, gives him one more than legendary coach Barry Switzer and makes him the winningest coach in school history.

"I do not look at anything individually," he said. "I'm supported by a great administration that's been here for all 15 years."

SCOOPHD: BOB STOOPS SETS ALL-TIME WIN RECORD AT OKLAHOMA



Stoops said he doesn't have time to reflect on his accomplishment now. He's still in the middle of a season, and the task Saturday afternoon was to beat Kansas State.

OU took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, earning their first points in the first quarter of any game since losing to Texas on Oct. 12. In the second quarter, the Sooners took a 14-0 lead with an impressive 14-play, 98-yard drive that didn't feature a single pass.

The Sooners made it clear with that drive they were going to run the ball until the Wildcats proved they could stop them running it.

And, in the first half, KSU couldn't.

OU quarterback Trevor Knight racked up 70 yards rushing on 10 carries while completing 7-of-11 passes for 87 yards and one interception in the half. He finished the game with 171 passing yards and 82 yards rushing.

Throughout the game, Knight made plays with his feet that junior quarterback Blake Bell has not. When the Sooners looked done on third down or the play wasn't developing the way it should, he conjured a first down.

OU has needed a playmaker at quarterback, and Knight might yet become that quarterback.

"As much as anything, I think he's just really decisive with the football," said co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. "When it wasn't there, for the most part, he went through his progression and then found a way to make a play."

Knight wasn't the only man taking advantage of the offensive line's great blocking. Brennan Clay came to play, too.

Clay rushed for 160 yards on a whopping 20 carries in the first half and ended with a career-high 31 carries for 200 yards with two touchdowns.

On a day where senior running back Roy Finch rushed for just 21 yards and Damien Williams was nowhere to be found, Clay proved he could carry the load for OU.

"I just believe I'm a little more patient with the ball in my hands," Clay said. "I'm allowing the offensive line to make their IDs, make their blocks and get up to it and scoop the backers. They do a great job up front, and I'm just able to make plays."

The Sooner run game never looked so good, and the OU secondary never looked so bad -- at least in the first half.

While the Sooner front seven held Kansas State's rushers to fewer rushing yards (6) than KSU had first downs (9) in the half, the Sooner defensive backs gave up big play after big play to Wildcat wide outs -- particularly Tulsa native Tyler Lockett.

Lockett torched Oklahoma for 206 yards receiving on six catches and half of them resulted in Kansas State touchdowns. One was a 90-yard pitch from quarterback Jake Waters.

By day's end, Lockett had burnt OU for a total of 12 catches and 278 yards receiving while Waters completed 17-of-29 passes for 348 yards.

"I thought we did cover well, but they beat us with some big plays," Stoops said. "Of course [Tyler] Lockett is an excellent player, and he got us on a few of those."

Only a 30-yard field goal by kicker Michael Hunnicutt would give OU a 24-21 lead at halftime.

Neither the Wildcats nor the Sooners were able to reach the end zone in the third quarter, and though each team scored, Oklahoma held a narrow 27-24 lead. Then Oklahoma did what they've been able to do with a lead all season: finish.

The Sooners scored 14 points in the final quarter of the game while shutting down the Waters to Lockett connection to seal a historic win for Stoops.

"When you compare him to a [Bud] Wilkinson or a [Barry] Switzer, you're in a stratosphere that not many people are," said defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. "I think just the way he goes about his business is probably the thing that all of us enjoy."



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