NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops wasn't about to bite on questions about the future of the quarterback position following a 16-7 win over West Virginia.
The Sooners' shaky passing game said plenty on its own on Saturday night.
Despite the struggles of freshman quarterback Trevor Knight, resulting in a switch to junior Blake Bell in the fourth quarter, No. 16 Oklahoma put together a second straight winning effort to open the season against the Mountaineers.
It did so behind a career-high 170 yards rushing by senior Brennan Clay, who led the way for a Sooners' offense that had 316 yards rushing. The senior running back had 22 carries and topped his previous best of 157 yards rushing against Iowa State in 2012, and he carried the offensive load on a night when Oklahoma's quarterbacks needed a lift.
Knight, who won the starting quarterback position in a preseason competition with Bell, was 10-of-20 passing for 119 yards. However, he threw a pair of third-quarter interceptions — two of four turnovers by the Sooners (2-0, 1-0 Big 12) — and was just 1-of-5 passing in the second half before being pulled in favor of Bell to start the fourth quarter.
Stoops had no interest in talking about Knight or Bell's status moving forward following the win, but he wasn't shy about assessing the passing game's performance on Saturday night.
"I'm not going to detail much of it, but at the end of the day, this was a tight competition," Stoops said. "And (I) just feel things weren't quite as good as they need to be in some of the throwing game, so we wanted to give (Bell) his chance."
Paul Millard was 21-of-42 passing for 218 yards for West Virginia (1-0, 1-1), which scored its only touchdown on a 75-yard run by Dreamius Smith in the first quarter. The Mountaineers had four turnovers of their own, including three lost fumbles, and continued to struggle a week after rallying for a season-opening 24-17 win over William and Mary.
"(Oklahoma) ran the ball 57 times," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "It wore us down a little bit, but we kept fighting. I was pleased with how our defense played. They didn't quit playing; they played physical."
The game was anything but the offensive showcase the two teams put on last season, when they combined for 1,440 yards of total offense in a 50-49 Oklahoma win.
Of course, the Sooners had four-year starter Landry Jones at quarterback in that game, and West Virginia featured the offensive trio of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Both teams entered this season featuring new quarterbacks, with Knight winning a preseason competition with Bell and Millard taking over for Smith after beating out transfer Clint Trickett. Knight struggled throwing the ball in last week's 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe, but he ran for 103 yards, and Millard threw for 237 yards in last week's win.
16 Week Curriculum With Instructions, Lesson Plans & CNG Conversion Kit