NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has for weeks denied that any fundamental shift in offensive philosophy was taking place behind closed doors.
But by the fourth play of Saturday's season opener, it had become plainly apparent that the Sooners' 2013 offense won't look like anything seen on Owen Field in quite a while.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight dropped back to pass on third-and-10, scrambled through the Louisiana-Monroe defense and gained the first 24 of his team-high 103 rushing yards in the Sooners' 34-0 win.
“Yeah, congratulations on being able to see it, guys,” senior center Gabe Ikard joked to reporters after the game. “We've got a lot of different stuff in. We showed a lot of it tonight. We've got some we haven't shown. We've got a lot of stuff in there to take advantage of (Knight's) athleticism.”
Oklahoma (1-0) opens Big 12 Conference play at home next Saturday against West Virginia.
Knight struggled early Saturday, missing the mark on several passes — three of which were nearly intercepted — before Oklahoma's run game overwhelmed the Warhawks' defense. Between Knight, three senior running backs and a veteran offensive line, the Sooners rushed for 305 yards as a team.
Knight became the first Oklahoma quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards since pre-knee surgeries Jason White accomplished the feat in 2001, and the first Sooner signal caller to record more rushing than passing yards in a game since Eric Moore in Bedlam 1998, played just weeks before Stoops was hired as head coach.
The redshirt freshman — who was named Oklahoma's starting quarterback on Aug. 22 after a long position battle with junior Blake Bell — completed 11 of 28 passes for 86 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception.
“You try not to worry too much about stats,” Knight said. “You take what they give you. We didn't light it up like they have here in the past; we did what we needed to do to win. Anytime you get a win, that's all that matters.”
Through most of the first quarter, Knight and the Sooners' offense struggled to do much of anything. The long run on the third play of the game ended up being Oklahoma's only first down in the opening quarter.
OU went three-and-out on three straight possessions before finally getting the run game going at the beginning of the second quarter.
On a third-and-3 play from the Sooners' 43-yard line, senior Damien Williams powered through several Warhawks defenders to pick up four yards and a first down.
It was the first of Williams' four consecutive runs that brought OU inside ULM's 40.
Senior Brennan Clay then picked up 22 yards on three straight carries, and two plays later, Knight connected with Jalen Saunders for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
“Really pleased with how we ran it tonight,” Ikard said. “It can always be better. It needs to be better next week. We've gotta improve every week. To put up over 300 running, that's pretty good and pretty rare for us around here.
“If we get our air game going, this can be a dangerous offense.”