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January 3, 2014

BCS win over Bama is head turner for Knight

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NEW ORLEANS -- Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight was overcome with joy for his teammates, with gratitude for his coaches, on the stage in the Superdome following No. 11 Oklahoma's 45-31 demolishing of No. 3 Alabama.

While received the game's Most Valuable Player trophy Thursday night in his Sugar Bowl T-shirt and hat, he spoke about just how big this win was for him, for Oklahoma.


"It was awesome, man," Knight said. "Just a dream come true. What a way to go out for our seniors. This is awesome."

When the only other team to defeat Alabama -- Auburn -- had gone to the ground to do it, Knight went to the air.

"He lit it up," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "He took care of the football, made great throws and was competitive. He showed everybody what we've been seeing for a couple years. He has a chance to be special."

Knight, a redshirt freshman, completed more passes (32), threw for more touchdowns (4) and passed for more yards (348) than he had all season. He found nine different receivers for receptions.

Sophomore Sterling Shepard caught seven passes for 63 yards with a touchdown. Senior running back Brennan Clay caught seven for 36, and senior wide receiver Lacoltan Bester caught six passes for 105 yards with a touchdown.

Knight's only interception came on a tipped pass by Jalen Saunders, but it didn't stop Knight from continuing to target the senior wide out. Saunders ended the game with five catches for 75 yards with two touchdowns.

Knight's ability to pass for big yardage and make plays on the run gave Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban fits. His All-American linebacker, C.J. Mosley, managed just six tackles all game.

"We didn't play very well on defense in the first half," he said. "We didn't play very well on third down. We didn't get off the field in third-and-long three or four times in the game, which were critical factors in the game."

Critical factors for OU, too.

When the Sooners needed a big play, Knight found a way. Knight said one of the reasons he was able to keep making plays was the amount of snaps he was able to get under his belt.

"The more snaps you get, the more comfortable you feel," Knight said. "The more completions you get, the more comfortable you feel. And it's all about just getting in that rhythm, hitting a few shots early, set the rhythm, the tone for the game."

One thing is for certain: When Knight starts, Oklahoma wins. The Sooners are undefeated with him as the starting quarterback, a fact Stoops won't soon forget when the 2014 season arrives.

"I think he showed the whole country what we've been watching for two years in our practices and our scrimmages and things like that," Stoops said, "that the game has started to slow down for him where he's really starting to feel comfortable in what we can do when he is."

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