NORMAN – Damien Williams zipped through a hole on the second half's second play, veered outside and made like Kenny King or Clyde Russell. A 69-yard touchdown run that gave OU the lead.
Later in the third quarter, the Iowa State interior again parted like the Red Sea, and Brennan Clay zipped 63 yards to a touchdown.
Finally, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Trevor Knight faked a handoff, dashed up the middle and scooted outside for a 56-yard TD run.
Everyone thought two things, other than harkening back to old wishbone days. The Sooners had found not just a quarterback, but an offense.
OU waxed Iowa State 48-10 Saturday at Owen Field to return hope to beleaguered Soonerville.
But Bob Stoops did us all a favor. He warned the masses to not get too excited.
“I don't ride the rollercoaster with everybody,” Stoops said.
There seems little doubt the Sooners should turn to Knight for season-ending road games at Kansas State and OSU, regardless of Blake Bell's health status.
With Knight, the Sooner offense at least had an identity. Shotgun option with occasional passes.
Knight rushed for 123 yards and Williams for 128, both on just 10 carries, and Clay would have joined them (86 yards) in triple digits had he gotten 10 carries (he had just seven).
So that's the way to go. Just don't get too optimistic that it will work.
We thought the OU offense had found itself after a 38-30 victory over Texas Tech. But no.
“That's what everyone thinks now, that everything's OK, right?” Stoops said. “It's never OK. We have got to go do it again next week. In the end, hopefully, it gives us some momentum, some spark. If we can perform like this, or close to it, it's going to give us a chance.”
That's really all the Sooners can ask at this point.
The OU offense again was sluggish with Bell, getting just one first down total in two first-quarter possessions.
Then Bell got banged up early second quarter, Knight relieved and the offense started looking alive.
Knight played solid. He ran the shotgun option superbly. His passing, while still not pristine, was better than he showed in seven quarters against Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia.
Knight did enough to warrant starting at K-State. Did enough to at least again harbor the notion that he could be the quarterback of the future.
Knight said he was calmer and more confident than those early-season games.
“That's why veterans play so well, because they've been through it so many times, they've seen every look,” Knight said. “So every time you play, you get a little more comfortable out there.”
Bell has played well at times. But the truth is, it was hard to even label the OU offense this last month or so. Who knew what it was?
No such mystery with Knight.
“I love that option and that dual-threat when your quarterback can run and being able to make a guy miss,” Clay said. “It can put the defense in a bind.”
True enough. Iowa State is no great test. I figure the Cyclones for the Big 12's worst defense, but they generally line up correctly.
And still the Sooners caught them out of position. Worrying about a speed guy on the perimeter opens the middle. Knight is a speed guy on the perimeter.
“His ability to get to the perimeter is a factor,” Stoops said. The defense is pressed to be “absolutely correct. If they're not, something pops in there, and that's what happened on some of those runs.
“They get two, they get one, they get zero, and all of a sudden it goes 50. That's why sometimes you have to keep running.”
Of course, Stoops didn't keep running this offense on Sept. 7. He bailed to Bell, and you couldn't blame Stoops then.
But now it's time to go back to Knight. I don't know if it will win in Manhattan, and I'm pretty sure it won't win in Stillwater, but at some point, the Sooners have to be thinking about a quarterback for next season.
No reason not to find out if Knight can be that guy.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.